Review & Spoilers: CAPTAIN CANUCK #1

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CAPTAIN CANUCK {2nd Series} #1

Publisher: ChapterHouse Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

CAPTAIN CANUCK #1 cover ACAPTAIN CANUCK #1 cover BCAPTAIN CANUCK #1 blank variantCAPTAIN CANUCK #1 David Finch coverCAPTAIN CANUCK #1 Mike Rooth cover

 

I hang my head in shame :$ Being Canadian-born doesn’t excuse my disinterest in my country’s unique icon: Captain Canuck. The world at large is probably more oblivious. Half-baked explanations won’t cut it. Immersed in the digital age, I could’ve downloaded or read the first volume online, or simply hunted back issues or bought the trade at local comic book stores.

Enough self-flagellating!! I’m in the here-and-now. Embark with me on this brand new journey and embrace the return of the protector of the True North!!

 

“Aleph, pt. 1: Black Gold” (18 pages)

Story & Art by: Kalman Andrasofszky

Colours by: Jim Charalampidis

Letters by: Ed Brisson

 

The first page illustrates humankind’s nihilistic but progressive nature. Conquer. Destroy. Explore. Actions always result in consequences. Can humanity save itself, and more importantly fight against its self-destructive nature??

Capt. Canuck and his crew of Kebec, Horse, and Parminder Patel make haste to the Cold Lake Oil Sands after receiving a distress call. The facility belongs to Evans Energy, which happens to be the last name of the hero himself. Parminder is shaken by the enormity of the catastrophe and the impending danger. Tom (the Captain) assuages her fears and plunges head first into the fire [literally!] Parminder can’t help but express her ‘fangirl’ status with the monosyllablic “Wow!” Like the meek little creature she is, she asks Kebec if it’s alright to have said that. Kebec grimaces since she is used to the heroic exploits as well as the awe experienced by civilians.

The refinery belongs to Michael Evans, Tom’s brother. Safety is priority number one but CC is determined to find the cause. At Equilibrium HQ, Redcoat a.k.a. Olivia, director of operations explicitly tells the Captain not to exert nor endanger himself in spite of the shields in his suit.

 

Captain Canuck real-life costume

Olivia places a call to Michael, former owner of the oil processing plant. He’s very nonchalant and uncaring. Michael bemoans the loss of his many holdings. When Olivia informs him of the refinery burning, this catches his full attention. Michael tries to deflect the blame but Olivia points out that he will get the brunt of it. As the founder of Equilibrium, she implores him to share all files on the matter. He curses her but complies.

Canuck spots survivors even if the team’s sensors can’t read them. No wonder!! They’re irradiated zombies!! He refuses aid, confident that he can handle it all on his own.

Michael makes a comment about how the erection of a new tower loathed by the populace is a ballsy move. He’s intrigued by a rook piece delivered to him. He sees it as a miniature ivory tower. He is quite introspective since the fulfillment of his dreams turned out to be anything but fulfilling. Michael asks his driver Dwyer for his piece. The chauffeur inquires his boss’ licence to carry arms. Dwyer gives him the two-shot since the ankle pistol was left behind. Michael cocks the guns. He’s determined to exact revenge on the one who destroyed his legacy. Olivia demands he come to HQ. He tells her that he is nowhere near (true, since he’s in Toronto) and equates his disappearance to that of a magician’s. He widens his smile as he slides the weapon down his sleeve and opens his metallic hand.

Cap is providing a sit-rep to Parminder. She wants him to scram but he refuses until he’s gathered all employees. When he explains to her that they have become like the walking dead, she is petrified. An explosion reaches the copter putting it in a tailspin. This definitely has her freaked out.

Michael crashes a big shindig among executives. He concealed the weapon so well that he passes through security. While he is doing this, Olivia keeps harping on his responsibility. He disconnects her. Olivia makes a horrifying realization upon reading a file and yells to abort the mission.

Cap comes across a big bruiser. Olivia is blaring in his ear about scrapping the mission. He acknowledges but has to fend off the man-mountain. He draws a gun and blasts the guy in the face.

Michael makes a beeline for Argus Khan, the new CEO of all his previous enterprises. The attendees are in a submissive trance. He confronts Argus. Michael is outraged that all his assets were sold. Argus replies that Michael made a pledge to the shady organization and that his exodus to the Arctic justified the ends. Michael angrily demands to know the identity of the sender of the chess piece. He pulls out his gun and brandishes it in Argus’ face accusing him of burning his refinery. Khan is actually surprised by this but warns him that he is making a most grave mistake. Things take an interesting turn. Argus has hypnotic powers. He admits to being the lowest of the low. When he gazes into Michael’s eyes, he forces him to pull the trigger. He puts his hand on Michael’s and squeezes. Gone.

Cap is lamenting the loss of the lug’s life. Olivia reminds him that the stun guns are non-lethal even if they’re fired point blank. She plays the transmission made by the workers. The facility has been hit with a pathogen that incapacitates the human body and has affected the gold. When that last tidbit is played, liquid gold in the form of a worm pops out of nowhere.

Michael is aghast at the shooting. Resounding applause echoes around him. The real villain walks into the room. It’s Cap sworn enemy: Mr. Gold. It was he who mentally puppeted Khan. He has a hold on all the party-goers as well. He tells Michael that Argus was an example to be made. Gold confirms that he sent the rook to Michael. Gold wanted to drop Khan onto the pavement from the burgeoning building’s highest floor but the unexpected surprise of Michael’s hidden gun spares him from cleaning up the blood and guts. Gold wasn’t too pleased with Michael abandoning Aleph (most likely a space program) but he’s ready to let bygones be bygones.

Michael isn’t willing, pointing the pistol at the back of Gold’s head. Gold tells him otherwise. Not only will he dismiss his errant subordinate but his powers of persuasion should make Michael think twice. Gold doesn’t have to nor does he want to subjugate Michael like he has the others. He wants him by his side as he establishes a new world order. Forgiveness goes both ways according to the evil eye-patch wearer. Michael’s curiosity has the better of him. Together, the two will break new ground.

As Gold delivers his speech, the good Captain is engulfed by the liquid gold. Olivia notices that the signal has been lost. The three famous last words appear: to be continued!!

 

 

I have come across Mr. Andrasofszky’s name here and there at Marvel. I didn’t realize he also writes. If I’m not mistaken, this is most likely his first foray into the field. It’s a good thing I checked out the interview from Comix Asylum (my employer, natch!) with him at FANeXpo 2014.

Pulling double duty makes the execution of a comic book so much easier. You can bandy with yourself about plot, dialogue, and layout. You are more in control of demonstrating your vision. Kalman wastes no time diving into the action and presenting a cleaner, crisper, more relevant version for the techno-connected age. Mr. Andrasofszky is extremely well-versed in the mythos. Even for a tyro like me (this is my very first reading of CC), I can easily follow and determine the connections between the characters without the burden of exposition and backstory. There is an equal mix of intrigue, suspense, and interpersonal dynamics. The idea of zombies is well past overdone but the fact that the survivors are infected with a pathogen gives it a pass.

Kalman’s pencils are kinetic, especially with the titular hero demonstrating his prowess. The Captain is a hyperactive individual. This is to be expected given his zeal to rescue everyone. The rest of the cast have their unique portrayals. Michael looks like a docile version of Tom Strong in one panel. Mr. Gold pulls off the modern pirate look. This is apropos since he’s a corporate shark and monster in his own right. I wasn’t too impressed with the liquid gold even though it’s pretty basic. The eyes on the Captain’s mask are way too small.

Jim Charalampidis paints the red, white, and red with much gusto!! There is even distribution among the other colours from the digital blue screens to the bright orange of the raging inferno.

 

Our home and native land:

For all of you unfamiliar with Canada, some geography was thrown your way. Consult the map (or app) and find these locations:

  • Northwest Territories
  • Alberta
  • Toronto, Ontario

Praise Canada!

At the risk of assuming too much, I’m of the firm belief that the entire roster of creators is Canadian!! Mr. Charalampidis, I’m talking to you!! Internet searches proved fruitless when it comes to your nationality.

Spot the swear word:

Kebec [phonetic spelling of the province Québec] utters a mild expletive: “tabarnak”. It’s actually spelled “tabarnac” which is derived from the word ‘tabernacle’. In past times, when Catholicism had a firm grip on the French-speaking province, any word associated with that religion and used in vain was sacrilegious. Think of it this way: OMG used to be frowned upon many moons ago.

Equivoque:

Black gold is the colloquial term for oil. It may also refer to Mr. Gold’s dark and disturbing nature.

Elevate your diction:

Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. I believe this alludes to the game-changing initiative cooked up by Gold to shape the world his own way.

 

A pretty decent start!! I give this book 8 points out of 11 (72.7%) on the maple leaf from the Canadian flag.

Canada flag

 

 

“” (6 pages)

 

Story & Letters by: Ed Brisson

Art by: Marcus To

Colours by: Rosemary Cheetham

 

To commemorate the Canadian’s new prominence on the comic scene, a second serving is offered. File this one under ‘secret’ since it’s a forgotten tale.

An oil rig is drilling into the Beaufort Sea. The operation ends when it makes impact with something impenetrable. Not really!! The rig is shaken and aquatic dwellers ascend.

Mayday is dispatched. One of the crew spots the intruders. Three hours later, Captain Canuck arrives on a skiff. Emergency response epically failed. Now, here’s where I’ll express my confusion. This is a bearded man. I don’t know if it’s the original (Tom Evans) or the inheritor (Darren Oak). The setting is 1982 but I never read any of the books L Readers, educate me!!

CC bemoans the major delay. He ponders about technology at his disposal that has yet to pass. As he assesses the chaos, he assumes it to be the work of bio-terrorists. He spots a running figure. One of the crew fires at him not knowing that it isn’t an aquatic assailant. The crewman is the lone survivor. He has no clue whether there are others since the creatures threw the men overboard.

Cap places the shaken man in an escape pod. Panic begins to set in. Cap insists that the man depart. Three deep-sea menaces stand behind the captain.

 

 

I always find it fascinating when any one person can accomplish two diverse tasks with great capability. That applies to Ed Brisson who pens, and appropriately adds the words to this untold tale. A shorter story has its pros and cons. Everything is brief and concise as it should be for the amount of pages. The danger is presented, the hero is on his way, suspense reverberates with more to come. I enjoyed this snippet much more due to the condensing of elements.

Marcus To’s pencils and inks are full-bodied. He excels at the characters and the various behind-the-scenes components. Captain Canuck looks imposingly heroic as he stands tall on the skiff. The creatures from the depths convey malevolence.

Rosemary Cheetham beautifully captures Mr. To’s sketches. The darker tones match the story.

This case file left me more curious. Again, is this Tom Evans but aged? Is he from the future of 1993 sent back eleven years?? I want more!!

I give this tidbit 10 points out of 11 (90.9%) on the maple leaf from the Canadian flag.

Captain Canuck new slick design

Check out this super-cool link:

http://www.captaincanuck.com/locations/

[This is a brief history of the original comic] [The URL is misidentified]

 

Captain Canuck original logo

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