Thursday, August 21, 2014
Captain Ultimate #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, and #6 (Monkeybrain Comics)
Do you miss the days of comics when they were fun, family friendly, and weren't always so depressing and grim and gritty? Then Captain Ultimate is what you want!
Captain Ultimate used to be the best and most famous superhero around, loved by millions for his heroic deeds, but one day, he mysteriously vanished. As the years went by, people slowly forgot him, even starting to think he was just a legend, but one day, a giant robot octopus alien monster attacks Earth, and when young boy Milo bravely stands up against it all alone, Captain Ultimate suddenly appears, fighting the monster off.
As time goes on, and Captain Ultimate stops various threats such as the evil Dr. Destruction, killer alphabet letters, and such, he develops an affinity for Milo, who frequently tags along to help save the day from these events...
#1-The Day the Giant Robot Octopus Alien Monster Attacked the City
This is a hugely satisfying first issue for this series! The writing is good, as is the humour, which playfully pokes fun at various comic genre tropes, mainly the 'grim 'n' gritty' antihero cliche which still abounds so much today. Does this issue tell a particularly large amount of story? No, but it's very entertaining, so like with Trinity Angels #1 and #2, I'll let this slide here.
The only problem this issue has is the sometimes sparse layout, and the amount of splash pages. Because of this, the issue feels a lot shorter than it should.
#2-Destruction! It's What's for Dinner!
This manages to tell a lot more story than the previous issue, partly thanks to the improved layout, and less splash pages, so the issue doesn't fly by quite so quickly.
While his powers are still unclear and vague, Captain Ultimate is a very likeable character, given what he does with the trashed fairground after defeating his nemesis.
The look of the Captain's returning arch-enemy Dr. Destruction (the green motif, and the bulging eye [or monocle, it's hard to tell]) is pretty neat, while he's a simple, entertaining baddie with some hilarious dialogue.
This is definitely a good follow up to the first issue, paving the way for bigger and better things with the rest of the series!
#3-The Super Secret Origin of Captain Ultimate
This issue is one large flashback to the supposed origin of Captain Ultimate, as told to a newspaper editor/manager by an ambitious reporter. It's entertaining, funny, and the characterisation for the young Captain is very good!
The problem I have here is that not only is this issue much shorter than usual length, but also the lack of the series' main characters (besides the younger flashback Captain Ultimate) is a tad annoying.
While it's never explained how this reporter lady knows this story, nor is it clear if this account is even true, it's still a fine origin for the good Captain!
#4-Live Fast, Cry Young
Issue #4 is a Halloween special, and focuses on a mean punk band trying to steal candy from the neighbourhood's children.
The writing, as usual, is good here. Milo continues to be a good, likeable character, something the Captain definitely appreciates in his future sidekick. Superpowered hound Ulti-Mutt (who first appeared in Issue #2) continues to be cute, and we get another appearance by Super Revenging Society member Venus de Muscles, which is the start of character development with her for the better.
#5-Show and Yell
This issue is about killer alphabet letters! That is awesome!
With it's highly amusing concept and hilarious dialogue, this is possibly the funniest issue yet!
The characters are all entertaining as usual, especially the grumpy Grim Avenger, and this issue introduces his daughter, who is both likeable and adorable.
An added bonus to this issue is the great concept posters of the title character at the end.
#6-Santa Wants You to Save Christmas
Next to #5, this is my favourite issue of Captain Ultimate so far! It's got some hilarious moments,
Again, this does go by very quickly, but it tells enough story that it's no big problem, and it even advances one of the series mains' character, so this is definitely not wasteful.
This is a highly entertaining superhero series, and has exactly the type of tone and maturity level that the comic industry sorely lacks. It's got entertaining characters, an interesting and fun world for them to inhabit, and things progress nicely, rather than staying static...Although if this series chose to stay static, it's so good that it'd probably pull that off without a hitch.
Some may find it annoying that six issues in and we still don't know why Captain Ultimate vanished for so many years, but I don't mind. That mystery, along with the characters and their development, really make this an interesting world to read.
The artwork for this series is great, and the covers are all good too. The only one I don't take to is Issue #4's, because it doesn't scream superhero comic in the slightest. At least it is showing elements from inside the story though, so that's good.
At the end of each issue, you'll be greeted by the letter columns, which are great to read! I miss them in comics! One letter in particular nails part of what's so wrong with the comics industry nowadays...
As this is an independent comic, the release dates can be sporadic, but I don't mind in this case. When a big company like, say, Dynamite takes two months to release their damn comics, I get pissed off, but when an independent series like Captain Ultimate has such a gap in-between issues, I think 'Phew, this issue came out in only two months instead of eight!'.
Captain Ultimate is a highly entertaining superhero romp for all ages (that funnily enough, manages to be more adult than the supposed 'mature' mainstream comics that flood the market), and very cheap too, at only a dollar per issue, so it's too good to pass up!...