CAPTAIN PHASMA #4
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Marco Checchetto
Colorist: Andres Mossa
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Release Date: October 18, 2017
It always astounds me how quickly a mini-series can get through its four or so issues. And it’s that much more rewarding when after those four issues you have a full, well told story that speaks to the essence of a character and paints a vivid picture about who she is.
Plot: In Captain Phasma #4, the First Order Captain finally finds the unfortunate Lieutenant Sol Rivas, and has words with him. As she confronts him about what he knows, demanding him to confess (though it’s unclear whether she wants to confess about know what she did, or confess to a lie that puts the blame on him), the pilot, aptly named by Captain Phasma, overhears the conversation. Though it doesn’t seem that Phasma notices, this immediately places the younger First Order pilot in danger.
The pilot, also known as TN-3465 knows that Captain Phasma is as callous as they come. There is no warmth between them. To her she is nothing but a soldier, an asset to the First Order, a means to an end, and at present, a possible loose end. She tries to take the angle of being concerned about the people. Perhaps her compassion will only serve to annoy Phasma. The knowledge that she knows her secret would in contrast mean her death. So, she mentions helping the people, going back to fight the creatures. But the only fighting Phasma did is that which was necessary to locate Rivas, and after that, she had no reason to further engage in combat. And so, having killed Rivas, she returns to her ship, kills the droid, and then whether or not she knows if she knows anything or not, also kills TN-3465, only because it was possible, that she could be a loose end.
Story: The ruthlessness employed here is what defines Phasma. After reading both her novel and completing this series, I wonder if Phasma actually has the symptoms of a sociopath. What leads me to this conjecture is the fact that this woman doesn’t care who is in her way, if there is something that may impede her survivability, even in the most minute way, she removes them. It is her staple. Characters often change or develop in some way throughout the story. In this one, we don’t get much of that. She has a mission, she closes in on the target, and eliminates it. This is less about growth, change or development and more about definition. This is unique to Phasma’s character. Not everyone can pull it off so flawlessly.
At best, we can see that Phasma may be the way that she is due to the way her home planet of Parnossas bred her. Because she went through a similar struggle and came out of it (albeit not unscathed) she believes that others must adapt to a situation by growing strong and overcoming the way that she did and she has no compassion for those too weak to do so. When she kills TN-3465, she showed only the slightest bit of grace by allowing the woman’s death to be clean and quick. The First Order fits her needs, and if they ever stopped fitting them, she’d likely destroy them as well. I’d have doubts about many being able to stop her.
When she returns to the First Order, I find the conversation between her and General Hux to be an interesting one. I get the sense that Hux knows that Phasma may have been up to more than what she told him despite not knowing exactly what that may have been. This also shows how much respect the First Order has for Captain Phasma in general. Hux, one of the First Order’s highest-ranking officers doesn’t question Phasma twice about her activities. She is unique among an army that demands indistinguishable military standard. There are none like her.
Art: I dare say that the art in this book is among the best in the industry today. The detail is simply phenomenal. Whether the scene is full of Ror’a warriors thrashing in the waters of Luprora, or the cold sleek halls of an First Order Star Destroyer, it is a beauty to look at. The flawlessness of the line work and the pristine color application is truly a treat for the eyes. On the cover, we get a depiction of blue liquid running through her fingers, and after reading the issue I can only define this as the blood on her hands from those she killed this issue, that being the Ror’a, TN-3465, Rivas, and the war she started and left the people to die over as she slipped back into space. Some of the best art among Star Wars books and comics in general.
Verdict: Captain Phasma did not get much screen time when she debuted in Star Wars: Episode VII, but after the book, this comic series, and the latest trailer for Star Wars: Episode: VIII, I think that we are going to see her play a much larger roll on screen. This series set a precedent for her knack for survivability, her resourcefulness, and most prevalently, her ruthlessness. If you are wanting to know who she is, this series defines Captain Phasma. Excellent series.
Star Rating: 5 out of 5