The Cape: 1969 #3
Written by Jason Ciaramella
Art by Nelson Daniel
Lettering by Shawn Lee
Editorial Assist by Christopher Schraff
Edited by Chris Ryall
Creative Consultant Joe Hill
Inspired by the Short Story “The Cape” by Joe Hill
Release Date: September 12, 2012
Cover Price: $3.99
And so here we are at The Cape: 1969 #3, the power is in Captain Chase’s hands, and with two issues to go, the only question remaining is: how will he use it and how far will he go? For anyone not reading The Cape: 1969, it follows a medevac pilot in Vietnam who just so happens to be the father of Eric and Nicky, the brothers from The Cape. He finds himself in a bad situation, against a sadistic Vietcong troop commander, and then some Weird War Tales stuff happens.
Writer Jason Ciaramella is committed to making this a rather believable war story with superpowers instead of a story about superpowers that just so happen to take place in a historical setting; or at least a good war script with superpowers. Artist Nelson Daniel is a great companion to this project. His drawings aren’t ‘gritty’, but certainly show enough ability to make a war story, and are actually quite refreshing in contrast. Meanwhile, his use of colors remains top notch. His palette of ruddy browns, greens, and oranges complement the dark tone of the story; he also has a special knack for making grotesque violence distinct with blazing reds saturating the backdrops enough to bleed through the page. The use of screen tones is a little obtrusive here, without giving the book the vintage charm I think he’s going for, but it’s not a big deal.
It’s tough to talk about a miniseries without any spoilers, so I’m calling a slight spoiler alert below. However, before I do, I’ll say that while The Cape: 1969 is worth the time, it might not be very valuable as a stand-alone, so read it in conjunction with its predecessor, The Cape. As a stand-alone, this book can come across as a rote Vietnam story. However, as a companion piece to The Cape, it acts as more than an ancillary tale.
It may seem strange that the book billed as the origin story for the eponymous cape uses the reveal as a tentpole in the series; of course, neither Cape series has really been about the power, but the user and abuser of it. Jason Ciaramella didn’t even bother with explaining the how and why of the cape in the first series, and the inception of it here doesn’t settle any debates regarding many of the burning questions about it either.
But Ciaramella is very interested in the affects of power on people. The Cape was about petulant man-child Eric diving into madness with scarcely a second thought; once he had the power and used it settle some perceived slights. In The Cape: 1969, Captain Chase resembles his other son, Nicky, more than Eric at the beginning of the series. He is pushed to the ledge, then presented with the opportunity to go after revenge. These competing portraits of the causes of madness – nature vs. environment – are certainly clouded by the ambiguity of the cape, and whether power itself corrupts, or if another trigger is required.
There’s one more issue to go in this mini, and perhaps there will be a little more exploration on the topic. Whether it does or doesn’t, however, from this issue one thing is clear about how far Captain Chase will go with this new-found power: pretty far.