Review: Phasma Expansion (Comics and Novel)

So, Captain Phasma is either my favorite or second favorite character in the entire Star Wars canon (obviously, it’s between her and Governor Pryce). I’m currently putting together my armor set, which will be 501st qualified, and should be ready by the movie premiere. Needless to say,  I was excited to get expansion on her, and wanted to thoroughly read through all of it at once before writing about any of it. So, this review will cover all of Phasma’s expansion, the novel and the entire comic run, as well as touch on her involvement in the Poe comic.

For anyone who is here just for the comic review, I can tell you that the Captain Phasma comic line is my favorite line so far in terms of both art and writing. I liked the art as much as Anakin and Obi Wan, though I still feel like Kanan might win out for best writing.  I’m a fan of Kelly Thompson’s writing in general, but I think what she did with the material in the book and her ability to draw it together with what we know and saw from the other comics and the movie was absolutely amazing. I also loved the art, it was absolutely beautiful, again one of my favorites so far. Honestly, as a complete line it might be my favorite one so far, except for possibly Kanan. It really conveys Phasma’s character well while being entertaining and interesting.

The comic however, is difficult to fully understand without also reading the Phasma novel. I’m not saying it won’t answer your questions about what happens to Phasma after she’s put in the trash compactor, it will, but there are definitely subtle, and arguably more important, aspects of her character you will completely miss without it. Certainly, Hux’s scene, and her interaction with him at the end, come off as two different things with and without the context of the book. So, while I would highly recommend this comic as one of the best runs in the entire Star Wars comic line, I would argue you read the book, or at least a summary of it on Wookiepedia, first.

Now, for the serious Star Wars nerd stuff. Serious spoilers for the entire canon, I will be using almost all of them this time. I’d honestly sort of hoped for a bit more from the book. The first part was more like a list of her accomplishments and abilities with so little of her interacting with other people (which is really the most entertaining part of Phasma) that it had a hard time holding my interest. Ithink I’ve also sort of had it with the “here’s a planet with a population of ten people let’s set a whole 200 pages book there” thing. Those planets are boring. No one likes Jakku or that planet from the Ahsoka book I won’t even bother to look up. There’s only so much that can happen on them, please stop making them.

My other issue with the book is that the end made no sense to me. Phasma is obsessed with people knowing about her past, clearly to a sort of obsessive and neurotic degree. That’s like the whole point. She won’t let people know any secrets about her, this is also the point of the comic. So, she just sort of like finds out Cardinal knows, stabs him with poison, doesn’t ask him how he found out and leaves him to die without making sure it happens? It just is totally inconsistent with someone who is obsessed with leaving no loose ends behind.

Generally, though, I really enjoyed the character expansion we got in that now we know that Captain Phasma is at least as crazy as Kylo Ren. Honestly, she might be crazier. I like how on the surface she appears to be a lot like Governor Pryce, in that she is willing to do some really dark shit and then cover it up, but unlike Pryce her desire to cover it up doesn’t seem to stem from or even be completely connected to potential consequences for herself, but more from a deep obsession with destroying anything related to any action she ever took that she might feel something over.

For example, if Phasma had blown up Creekpath, she would have also chosen to work with Thrawn after, but only long enough to find a way to kill him, Eli, Yularen and everyone else on the Chimaera bridge who might have known what she did. For Pryce, guilt is about what can be proven, and while on an intellectual level Phasma knows that’s all that matters, she feels a compulsion to destroy anyone who knows the truth, not just anyone who can act on it. She clearly feels something after killing TN-3465 (aka: Pilot) in the comic, because she slips up and almost calls her “Pilot” in her log, and she knows she doesn’t have to to keep her name clean, but she does it anyway. That being said, I’d still argue that Pryce is probably a better person than Phasma (Pryce doesn’t start conflicts and only takes extreme actions in defense of her family, whereas Phasma’s actions are totally selfish and she starts conflicts for no reason other than personal gain).

Also, as an aside, while I’m not thrilled with all of Phasma’s backstory, I do love the expansion the comic and book gave us on Hux. Previously, I hated him, but now I actually really like him. He’s absolutely hilarious. Kylo and Phasma are like freaking out over the fact that sometimes they feel bad about stuff and like have secrets and their pasts and shit, meanwhile this ginger motherfucker is like lounging all over couches when he should be working laughing about how great it is that Phasma offed his dad for him and there’s no proof. And he knows they’re both like totally bonkers. He’s just sort of like “yeah, but that’s part of the deal.” The end of the comic is gold in the context of the book. Hux knows Phasma is responsible, he just doesn’t care. But he also knows he has to act like he doesn’t know, because if he doesn’t, she’ll kill him too, because (and I cannot stress this enough) Captain Phasma is totally crazy.

Honestly, the fact that Phasma is like this weird bundle of secrets and lies makes total sense when you realize the potential for entertainment in putting her next to the guy who senses people’s feelings and rips secrets out of their brains. Like honestly, I can forgive the book its flaws in that the whole point is like “Phasma kills people who learn her secrets, that’s her thing” and then early next movie we start with like “Kylo learns one of Phasma’s secrets.” Because then it becomes a race against time for him to convince her that she doesn’t have to kill him before she finds a way to do so in spite of his powers and abilities. Sure, a sane person would just kill her when he still had the upper hand, but not only would that be a difficult thing for Kylo to cover up (like seriously, who else could kill Phasma?, the suspect list is just him), I feel like Kylo is simultaneously too arrogant and sure of his own persuasive skills and too much of an insane risk taker who sort of hates himself to not try to get her on his side instead.

So, to summarize the additions to Captain Phasma’s character so far: she’s incomprehensibly competent, indescribably thorough, badass beyond all reason, and most of all, completely and utterly Batman Rogues Gallery Villain crazy. …Oh, I and feel like I grow to love her more and more every day.

Rating (for Captain Phasma comic): 5 out of 5 Stars

Art: 5 Stars
Covers: 5 Stars
Dialogue: 5 Stars
Plot/Relevance: 5 Stars
by Kelly Thompson & Marco Checchetto

Rating (for Phasma novel): 4 out of 5 Stars
Author Delilah S. Dawson


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