Here we go again with another Star Wars comics onslaught! If you’re a hardcore Star Wars comics fan you have got to be loving life lately because they have been pretty relentless in their release schedule…anyway, this week we get the wrap up of the oddly-numbered, 4-issue Phasma mini-series, the start of a very interesting new Poe Dameron arc, and a Rogue One story in Star Wars Adventures that will likely make me think of Cassian and K-2SO as Shaggy and Scooby-Doo…so, with that little teaser to tantalize you, let’s get going!
Captain Phasma #4
I know I’ve said this before, but if you treat this series as a 3-issue run and start at #2 the crawl fills you in on the main points of issue #1 and the series becomes a much more synergized story (in my opinion, of course, I just didn’t enjoy issue #1, and don’t think it fits well with the other three issues). That aside, this finale put a pretty decent cap on the series, and really shows Phasma as the “whatever it takes to survive” character she has become. To start things out, she drops into the mass of kraken-like humanoid natives and, for some reason, has her weapon thrown to her on her way down by the pilot. Then she, and soon after the pilot, are in the fray and making a mess of the natives. The pilot wants to quit because they’re out-matched, but Phasma is insistent – because she’s waiting for the cavalry of locals. Once they show up, Phasma and the pilot leave them to the battle to seek out the First Order “traitor.” When they arrive at the main spire of the compound, Phasma tells the pilot to stay back so she can “make sure our exit remains visible,” but we know its so Phasma can take out the “traitor” without the pilot knowing. For some reason, Phasma has a little back and forth with Rivas, the “traitor.” I think it would have been better if she’d just showed up, made him think he was being rescued, and then shot him in cold blood without a word…but that wouldn’t have allowed the pilot to sneak over to see what was up and find out Phasma’s dark secret…which is what happens…and Phasma knows it. And the pilot knows that if Phasma knows, she’s probably toast too. What she doesn’t know is that she’s likely toast regardless. Poor collateral damage for Phasma to get her way. Speaking of collateral damage: all the locals. Phasma basically sacrifices their whole settlement to meet her needs. Savage. For the last straw that breaks the Phasma-isn’t-completely-evil’s back, she shoots the poor First Order BB unit that’s just trying to catch a ride back to the fleet with them. RIP BB-9–er, I mean, BB-K8…yup…and now for the coup de grâce: in a fantastic page that starts with perhaps the best panel of the book, Phasma comes up behind the pilot and shoots her in the back. Then, as she lays her down and closes her eyes, she says, “I was careful, pilot. It will be quick.” Damn, Phasma. That’s cold. Ice cold. I like it. Next, to bring back a string from the first issue, Phasma finishes her report as she flies back to the First Order. When she arrives, she’s debriefed, uh, briefly, in person by Hux who, like all of the audience, assumes she’s a steadfast, devoted Captain. And just like that, Phasma’s back for the The Last Jedi, ready to be that aforementioned steadfast, devoted Captain we all think she is. So, I guess her novel and comic really won’t matter for general audiences since, in the end, she’s back where she was when we last saw her…well, as a character, I mean, she’s obviously not still down a garbage chute on Starkiller…that’ll be the most interesting thing about seeing her in The Last Jedi: will they bother saying anything about how she didn’t blow up, or will they just let her be there doing her thing? Actually, I guess that won’t be the most interesting thing, because want I’m really curious about is whether or not we’ll see any elements of her new characterization come through, or if she’ll remain a make-believe First Order die-hard on the big screen…
Poe Dameron #20
As this new arc begins, we’re on Cato Neimoidia getting a bit of a history lesson into the prequels, as well as the Clone Wars, as a group of aliens and someone who looks a good bit like Garindan lurking in the back. While we’re informed that the Neimodians are mostly concerned with safety these days, particularly the safety of the many priceless artifacts being housed in their great vaults, the Kubaz-looking-guy with human hands drops a few discs from his sleeve that turn into cool little infiltration droids – much like the droids that Iden and the Seventh Sister use. As the tour progresses, the human kubaz imposter hangs back by a large column and then blends into his surroundings with a Harry Potter-esque cloak of invisibility – or, in this case, a cloak of translucence (which isn’t quite as cool). When the coast is clear, the mysterious figure goes to the vault door, which his droids open, having already tied up the guards inside after knocking them out. Next, he finds the object he’s been looking for behind a set of laser bars. Turns out that his cloak not only helps him blend in, it also allows him to walk through said laser bars (which instantly makes it cooler than the Cloak of Invisibility…sorry, Harry). And what did our mystery man go to all this trouble to find: what looks like a circular holocron that was “crafted using both the dark and light sides of the Force, and clearly designed to be operated by both at once.” But, uh oh, the Neimodians have arrived! They shoot the droids and then reveal that the mystery man is none of other than *gasp* Lor San Tekka! (Yeah, I know it was obivous, geez, lighten up…) I think it’s fairly telling that the creatives behind this issue felt the need to show Lor breaking in to such a high-security vault to look at this item in particular. It shows how Star Wars is slowly (or maybe not so slowly anymore) moving away from the dichotomy of the Force into a more blended idea of balance – it’s no longer an either/or situation, it’s a question of one, the other, or both. I have a feeling we’re going to see this sliding scale of the Force on display even more as we get to the end of Rebels and into The Last Jedi…but, back to Poe, we see him flying back to the Resistance base and BB-8 has an “incredible” surprise for him: Black One is fixed and ready for action! Poe is astonished, and asks how such a thing is possible…that’s when BB-8 introduces IVEE, the astromech who not only fixed Poe’s ship, but is also BB-8’s botfriend…hmm, how ’bout just significant other? Yeah, BB-8 & IVEE are dating. Adorable. Next we see that a red-armed C-3PO has received some news of great interest for General Organa and must get it to her right away, you know, as 3PO does. Then we find out that Snap and Kare are breaking up (even though I’m pretty sure they were getting married in that stupid fart-heavy leak of some young reader’s book that was going around with Oddy in attendance…so, either the leak is fake [which I hope is the case because a fart joke every once and a while is a good thing, but what I read from that was trying way too hard to make something “kid-friendly”], there’s a big mix-up in continuity, or people in the Star Wars universe and just break up from marriage…). Anyway, I don’t care about this, so I’m going to gloss over it. Next we see Jess trying to be “humanized” in front of a group of astromechs since the rumor is she’s “the Great Destroyer,” according to them. The ploy falls flat, though, as the group of assembled astromechs all flee as soon as she’s distracted by 3PO asking if they know where Leia is…all that’s left is BB-8 making his thumbs-up gesture to which Jess says, “are we sure that means what we think it means?” Good one. Peace among worlds…moving on, Leia and Statura are discussing whether or not the Resistance can ever have the same impact as the Rebellion since people are complacent now, not moved to act like they were against the Empire, when 3PO finally finds Leia and gives his report that is, of course, he’s found Lor San Tekka…and it’s up to Black Squadron to get him out! This arc looks to be fairly interesting, as long as it doesn’t get too bogged down by the possibly-crumbling relationship between Snap and Kare. It does beg the question, though, if Black Squadron is successful, why does the beginning of The Force Awakens happen? Hopefully over the next several weeks we’ll have fun figuring that out…
Star Wars Adventures #3
Okay, I’m going to cop-out a bit here and give a rough opinion of this book: it was goofy. This series started out great, but it’s quickly devolved into a very kid-centric (which isn’t bad, mind you, it’s just not for me), goofy romp that I may be parting ways with before long. I’m going to give it another issue or two just because I’ve seen that it can, most definitely, grab my interest, but if it continues on like this, I think I’d rather save my money. Anyway, for the first story, which was the goofiest, it’s basically Finn chasing around a cute, little four-armed monkey that takes his helmet and nearly causes chaos on The Finalizer. Finn finally catches it after using it with Captain Phasma’s helmet on while she’s in the refresher (yup) to impersonate her talking about a special mission with Kylo Ren…then, on said mission, Finn tries to let the silly thing out, but it escapes first and flies the transport around…eventually Finn gets control of the situation and is commended for handling it, but is told to never be caught without his helmet again…blah…in the second story that I did, in fact, think was more interesting, Cassian and K2 are on a mission and end up finding three young wookiees that they rescue. They don’t have time to drop them off before another raid, so K2 ends up babysitting them on an untamed, smuggler’s hideout kind of planet that is something like the land of the lost, with dinosaurs and everything. K2 thinks he’s done for at one point during a stampede, but he’s rescued by the little wooks when they lasso him and pull him on top of some of the dinos they’re now using as mounts. The lesson here is that wookiees are awesome. Okay, just kidding, there was a good message about thinking outside the box and not hemming yourself in. These lessons have been the highlight of all the Adventures books so far; they’re fairly similar to Forces of Destiny in that way, and I appreciate their fable-esque storytelling. Overall, like I said, this series is just trending too goofy/kid-centric for my tastes…hopefully it turns around, or, if kids are really digging it, hopefully it doesn’t.
So, what did you think? Another fairly heavy week with three issues, but, don’t worry, there’s a reprieve next week with only the so-so Mace Windu series to look forward to…but enough about next week, how ’bout this week? Are you all about the Adventures series, or is it not in your wheelhouse either? What do you think about the new Poe arc? Are you looking forward to Lor San Tekka’s involvement, or is it going to make Poe finding him on Jakku in The Force Awakens sticky? And what’d you think of Phasma? Do you think her novel/comic persona will come through in The Last Jedi, or did they wrap it up in a nice, EU-only box so she can continue playing the First Order exemplar in the film? Give the books a thorough second read and let me know what you think in the comments below…oh, and I’ve decided to give up the threat thing I was doing here…I just feel like it’s run its course…so, yeah…TWS out.