Review: The Cape – 1969 / Author: Joe Hill, Jason Ciaramella / Artist: Nelson Daniel / Publisher: IDW Publishing / Release Date: February 12th
The Cape: 1969 is a prequel to the comic series The Cape, (not to be confused with the awful TV show of the same name.) During the Vietnam war, medevac pilot Captain Chase gets shot down over enemy territory and has to do everything he can in order to survive.
Every cliché in the 'Nam action movie book is here; we have people only days from leaving the army, villainous enemy soldiers, moral quandary, torture and all the horrors of war. Alas, the characterisation isn’t terribly strong. Presumably the various conflicts and confrontations are intended to foreshadow elements of the comic book it prequels, but this doesn’t really work, as the story is simply too short to foster any level of investment in the characters.
This is meant to be a tale about the sins of the father, about the perils of patriotism, the folly of war and why it’s important to grow up and take responsibility for one’s actions. The characters talk about these things, but don’t act on any of them. The requirements for explosions and gunfire get in the way of what should be a superb story.
Instead, what we get is an adequate enough action adventure with a weird little supernatural element bolted on. As superhero origins stories go, it is perfectly okay. Nelson Daniel’s artwork is cinematic and engaging, and helps the story find the balance between gritty conflict and superhero background story. The Cape: 1969 will appeal to fans of the The Cape, and those who love the smell of napalm in the morning.