Monday, October 23, 2017

Captain Phasma # 4 Review - Marvel Monday

Survivor Series

Written by: Kelly Thompson
Art: Marco Checchetto
Publisher: Marvel
Reviewer: Andrew McAvoy

This series has set out to prove exactly how ruthless Phasma is. As a mini-series of 4 comics it compliments the recent Phasma novel by Delilah S. Dawson as part of a suite of additional Phasma stories to bolster the character ahead of The Last Jedi. This issue is the final in the series which has seen Phasma's chasing down of Sol Rivas, the First Order lieutenant who has escaped Starkiller base with files that show Phasma was the one who lowered the defense shields for the base during the resistance attack. She has tracked Rivas down to the planet Luprora and now has her prey in her sights. 

The "find and recover" plot to this mini-series is relatively simple. I say this not by way of negative criticism of Thompson's writing; the plot objective allows greater focus on her character study of Phasma. So far Thompson has revealed the charismatic side to Phasma's character, her sheer ability to lead and to marshal the forces she encounters on Luprora to meet her objectives. This issue continues that trend as Phasma utilizes her limited resources of a few locals, the First Order pilot that has accompanied her to the planet (TN-3465), and an astromech BB unit. 

Having showed us the charasmatic side of Phasma, Thompson effectively switches this depiction to shows us the sheer ruthlessness of the character once she achieves her objectives. Having secured Rivas and dispatched him, she then proceeds to leave the locals to their deaths on a soon to be sea-wrecked habitat populated by krackens. Not only that though we see Phasma covering her tracks by proceeding to assassinate her pilot TN-3465 and destroying the astromech droid. All traces of the mission will be eradicated. In short Phasma ruthlessly ties up all loose ends before she reports back to Hux at the end of the book. Thompson uses finesse in this final book in showing us exactly how much of a survivor Phasma is, and how she has got to be where she is. No loose ends. 

The beauty of the "search, recover, and hide your tracks" plot involved with this title is not only that it allows Thompson to fine tune the character depictions, but it also frees the reader up to study in detail the stunning artwork in the series from Checchetto. One of the mild criticisms I have of the Marvel Star Wars books is that they have a tendency to look the same, there is very much a "house style". Checchetto has managed to find a way to fit within that but at the same time produce such splendid work, that really ignites the action on the page. The battle scenes are particularly well rendered, but not at the expense of the personal, and the depiction of TN-3465's fate at the hands of her erstwhile leader really packs a punch. 

Bits and pieces

Although the plot is straightforward, this book uses that to best effect by giving us detailed character portrayals in both its writing and its artwork. At the end of the book, when we fully appreciate how Phasma operates we are left with a firm understanding of why this soldier has made it to the top of the First Order tree. A good ending to what has been an enjoyable, if not entirely essential, mini-series. 
Score  - 7.5 out of 10

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