Staff Picks – Week of 06/09/2017

Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Captain Phasma #1
Kelly Thompson (w), Marco Checchetto (a), Andres Mossa (c)
Marvel Comics

Adam says: SPOILERS: Phasma crawls safely out of the trash compactor!

Captain Phasma #1 picks up immediately after the silver-plated Stormtrooper’s final scene in Episode VII: The Force Awakens. She makes it out of the garbage, and from there on out this book is all forward motion, new official Star Wars canon content. A mouth-watering prospect for anyone who loved that film and is excited for the next.

Now, it’s been a little while since I’ve written a Staff Pick, and given how the last ‘Journey to…’ Star Wars book turned out (Shattered Empire), I wasn’t honestly expecting Captain Phasma #1 to strike me like it has. As it happens though, Captain Phasma is at this stage absolutely ripe for a characterisation-focused mini-series. Though a fan-favourite from Episode VII, Phasma is without question severely under-developed in her first film outing.

What Thompson does here is give us Phasma’s POV through a set of formally recorded ‘Captain’s Log’-style notes on the final moments of the imploding Starkiller Base, the last seven minutes to be precise. Because it’s at this formal distance – an official record, it feels completely appropriate to such a militaristic character, and works wonders. We’re not suddenly exposed to a more humane inner monologue that might rehabilitate the character too far, or too quickly. And most crucially, we witness a couple of especially juicy character moments where Phasma shows her nature and personality through her choices, through her actions. It’s show-don’t-tell, and it’s great writing.

Tonally too, the art team of Checchetto as coloured by Andres Mossa absolutely conjures the mood and atmosphere of the third act of Episode VII. It’s almost uncanny. And the fact that the action even footnotes one or two recognisable moments from the film, except from Phasma’s perspective – it’s legitimately pretty thrilling. The line art is clear and effective and in the storytelling, the balance of urgency against Phasma’s icy composure is particularly strong.

There’s a whole range of Star Wars books now from Marvel, and a decent standard across the board. With this first issue, Thompson and Checchetto look set to position Captain Phasma in the top bracket.

Del Rey: The Art of Vanesa Del Rey
Vanesa Del Rey
Comics Workbook

Thomas says: I wasn’t aware of Del Rey’s art until her work came in for the show that is currently running in our gallery (until the end of the month) and was absolutely blown away by what I saw. Her work is gorgeous, her line work free and energetic with an exuberant life of it’s own. Even static figures seem to be in motion, breathing with a life of their own.

This sketchbook serves two functions; it is a beautiful selection of Del Rey’s work but is as much a glimpse into her life, past, present and future as it is anything else. Interviewed by Frank Santoro Del Rey is open and forth coming about her work explaining as best as she can her thoughts regarding the human figure, to the influence art has had on her life and is also quite open about her life and her childhood.

With a new book out this past month written by the wonderful Jordie Bellaire, Del Rey’s star is in the ascendant ad you would be foolish to ignore this talented young artist. Excitingly, Vanesa will be signing here on Saturday 16th September 2017, from 17:00 till 19:00 so come along and pick up a copy of her sketch book or Redlands and say ‘Hi’. Click here for more details.

Scales & Scoundrels
Sebastian Girner (w), Galaad (a)
Image Comics

Liz says: Scales & Scoundrels is a magical all-ages book in the vein of Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona, wherein a spunky young treasure-hunter (with a mysterious connection to a dragon) seeks gold and adventure in a wonderfully detailed medieval setting. It’s a lovely-looking book, beautifully drawn and coloured, and will be an easy recommendation to make for younger readers and fantasy fans alike.

Dalston Monsterzz
Dilraj Mann

Will says: In a distorted vision of future East London, where monsters roam the rooftops and streets, our protagonists find themselves in the middle of a battle to save Dalston and discover it’s darkest secrets.

You may remember some of Dilraj’s work from Image’s Island and here is his debut graphic novel. Just look at that cover! It’s so gorgeous! It had me sold from just a few mouth-watering glances. And the interiors are just as dribble-inducingly beautiful. This is a must read of the year!

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