After a mysterious explosion at his mountain stronghold, the world’s first and only superhero Captain Stone is declared missing. Charlie Chance, a former model and author of trashy horror novels whose isolated existence hides her own dark secret, is roped by circumstance into investigating Stone’s disappearance, secrets both personal and global revealing themselves along the way.
Although Cap Stone’s cover of an implausibly muscular man in cowled purple spandex may give you certain assumptions of what lies within its pages, in reality it’s something far greater and yet far more intimate than superpowered exploits. Despite echoes of a dozen superhero comics resonating in the appearances and personalities of the characters, it never feels like anything other than its own unique creation.
From the first page, Charlie’s graceful narration is immediately enthralling. Such is the hypnotic eloquence with which she spins her tale, you don’t even mind (and in fact barely register) that much of the book is little more than backstory and scene setting. The methodical presentation of each character’s history forms the backbone of present events, with the details of how each of them became the person they are providing them with the impulses and motives that inform their decisions.
Although the title character is absent from much of the story, his past is neatly recounted in a news report on his disappearance. Several details from recent history anchor him not only in the real world but also our real world, making his rise to universal popularity and later fall from grace that much easier to envision.
Matching the intricacies of the plot, practically every page sports a different style of artwork, from traditional comic book inkings and painted portraits surrounded by elaborate borders, to charcoal sketches, blocky abstract shading and even surreal collages reminiscent of Dave McKean’s Sandman covers. The luscious detail of the images makes almost every one worthy of its own separate print, and you’ll find yourself taking breaks from reading the story just to absorb the detail of the passing frames.
When the truth behind Stone’s disappearance is revealed towards the climax of the book, this in no way signifies the approach of the end. Instead, the story sharply switches gears in a cascade of exposition and you briefly wonder exactly what it is you’ve got yourself in for. Then a moment later you realise you can’t wait to find out.
CAP STONE: CAPTAIN STONE IS MISSING / WRITER: LIAM SHARP, CHRISTINA MCCORMACK / ARTISTL: LIAM SHARP / PUBLISHER: TITAN / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW