Captain Ultimate is Back For the First Time at San Diego Comic Con
With the busy weekend of Comic-Con done and not having had a chance to read any of this past week’s new releases, we’re going to talk about books that debuted at the con. In a business where doom and gloom heroes dominate sales charts and creator imaginations, Captain Ultimate, from the predominantly digital Monkeybrain Comics is a refreshing story you can sit down with your kids and read.
Written by long time comic book analyzers Joey Esposito and Ben Bailey, Captain Ultimate is the story of a modern world gone cynical where heroes have become brooding revengers and much like our own world these “heroes ” have become the objects of everyone’s affections. Everyone that is but Milo; a young hero-worshipping boy who still believes heroes should be the best parts of us. Just as the world faces catastrophe, Milo’s faith might just be enough to save us all. If he can get the world’s greatest forgotten hero, Captain Ultimate, to return to save the day.
The book is scripted and plotted like the opening of a good Pixar movie. We see a character we can relate to, that introduces us to a passion and a problem. His innocent hero-worship of an old fashioned superhero in a world that’s moved past old fashioned. While the exposition of issue one focuses more on the Captain rather than Milo, there’s enough of his bravery in a dire situation to put the audience on his side and make us want more. A supporting cast of characters made up of other heroes like The Super Revenging Society. A collection of hyperbolic caricatures of dark characters in mainstream comics, that adds to showing the two sides of heroes in this world. When we’re finally introduced to Captain Ultimate, he reminds us of the sweet conservative side of Captain America we all love. The story could have used a little more setup of a larger overall plot but even that’s not enough to deter my enjoyment of this issue.
Dutchman and artist Boykoesh brings a design to the book that leans on a timeless feeling of a cross between Bruce Timm and Jeff Smith. Like Timm and Smith, the designs of the characters are simple but he uses their expressions very powerfully. In particular the spread where milo goes from frozen terror to the suck-it-up heroism he needed to save another boy from danger is a great example of how to polarize a character in a scene. Did I mention giant robot monster? My only issue with the art is the onomatopoeia. While it’s necessary to have words like BAM and POW in a story that needs to have an old comic book feel to it; a small bit of them felt like they needed to happen a panel sooner or one later for the timing.
While it needs to reveal a more overall plot for the series to keep the adult audience; all around, Captain Ultimate 1 is delightful. The read is simple but enjoyable. The art style blends so well with the narrative. This book is a fun read for ages 0-99, but especially great for kids who love Disney and Pixar movies but don’t like the darkness of comic book movies.