The Wednesday comic book review isn’t really my gig, but before we get to KJack’s review, I would like to share with you, my Intermittent Readers (King’s are “Constant,” but I’m not quite there yet), a little pre-review tale. Today’s comic is written by Joe Hill. Joe Hill is a BRILLIANT author. His book Heart Shaped Box was divine and I recommend it to horror fans, rock & roll fans, lovers of dogs (although it’s going to be a bit of a tough read, kids) and people with a fascination for the macabre doings of the twisted families we (hopefully) only read about in books…books like this. Since this isn’t a book review, I’ll leave it at this, look up this man’s work. You will thank me. If you’re a Horror/Genre fan but you’ve never considered graphic novels, please, PLEASE go and get the collections of Locke & Key. At one point they filmed a pilot that was going to be sold to FOX, but the studio backed out because they’re either scared of pure unadulterated awesome or they’re idiots.
It would be ridiculous and somewhat shady of me if I didn’t admit that I did not find Joe Hill’s work by accident. While I admire Hill based entirely on his own merits, I found out about him through my love for his father, Stephen King.
I’m a massive King fan (I even have an SK tattoo, but that’s a whole other post) from as far back as I can remember and while I’d like to tell you all about why Stephen King is the very best author to ever walk the land, today is about Joe. Mr. Hill, who deserves just as much respect and acclaim as his slightly more famous father. Enough from me…Wednesdays aren’t for novels and tv shows with CJack…
by Jason Ciaramella
Artists; Zach Howard & Nelson Daniel
Before I get started, it’s extremely important that I point something out. This book has absolutely nothing to do with the TV show by the same name. Perhaps you remember that unfortunate piece of television that aired in January, 2011, wasted the talents of Summer Glau, and thoroughly disappointed everyone. Unlike that bad slice of airwave cheese, this comic is serious, and starkly beautiful in it’s simplicity. It also includes zero circus performers.
This is the final part of a 4 issue mini-series (plus 1 one-shot), bringing this story to an end worthy of any great Greek tragedy. Powered by Zach Howard’s textured and nuanced pencils. Ciaramella and Hill have fashioned a tidy little tale that ends as suddenly as the prequel issue woke everyone up.
Yet, there is nothing forced about the ending. On the contrary, I would hold this book up as a prime example of writing that allows its characters to go and end where they need instead of being forced to go where they should. The ending may be quick, but it stays organic throughout – and that says a lot for a story centering around a man who gains the ability to fly from his childhood blanket. I can’t imagine how tempting it must have been to prolong the story (by delving into the history of the blanket, for example) but by avoiding such digression, the story stays focused on its main theme: How dangerous the simple power of flight would be in the wrong hands.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love superhero stories. I’m the first to dive into a comic book that depicts Superman throwing things that are too heavy for elephants to lift. But every now and then, I like to see a take on superpowers that doesn’t involve cartoon physics. The randomness with which our favorite comic book characters receive their powers is in reality the most dangerous thing about such fantasies. Enter our main character Eric. He has none of the qualities that make a hero a “hero.” He’s is not well adjusted, brave, kind, patient, nor is he responsible. He carries a lot of pain from his childhood which he blames on everyone but himself. He is the last person one would give the ability to fly. Yet get it he does, and many innocent people pay the price.
This issue depicts its conclusion in the violent and final fashion that such a set up clearly demands. Furthermore, what is great about this final chapter of The Cape (and this is a bit of a spoiler) is this talented group of gentlemen allow these characters to teach us that power, without intelligence, cannot win in the end.