Captain Canuck #1 (Chapter House Comics)

Captain CanuckIn the world of comics we’re used to seeing older, forgotten characters, reimagined for a modern audience, and the latest to join this gang is ‘The Guardian of the True North’ in Captain Canuck #1. Having first appeared in 1975. this new series follows up a successful web series with a brand new ongoing comics, but can it succeed in this updated world or will it become another footnote in the character’s long history?

Captain CanuckPublisher: Chapter House Comics
Writer: Kalman Andrasofszky, Ed Brisson
Artists: Kalmon Andrasofszky, Marcus To, Ed Brisson, Rosemary Cheetham, Jim Charalampiois
Price: £2.99/$3.99 from DriveThru Comics

Captain Canuck #1 features two stories which tell the tale of Tom Evans – a man born of the true north bestowed with great power who fights for the fate of the world as part of the global crisis intervention agency Equilibrium. Evans is the titular Captain Canuck. and is equal parts Captain America and Tony Stark with a dash of Reed Richards thrown in for good measure and during the first story, while on a test run of his new battle suit, Canuck and his team are called into to rescue workers at a refinery fire previously owned by Tom’s brother Michael. However, upon hitting the ground to start this new mission, ‘Cap Canuck’ discovers this is less a rescue and more a trap. With a tone that is more reminiscent of Ed Brubaker’s Secret Avengers than yet another Captain America retread, it’s a smart re-imagining of this old school hero and makes the whole series feel considerably fresher and more original than we initially feared.

The second tale however, follows on from Captain Canuck’s previous adventures of 35 years ago. This time, Cap is trapped in 1982, 10 years into his past, as Canuck receives a distress call from another oil rig out in the sea which claims they have been attacked. However, upon his arrival at the scene, the Captain discovers that no survivors, save one who is fearful of some sea monsters who were responsible for the attack.

Captain Canuck’s return to the comic pages is very much a fun adventure as writer and artist Kalman Andrasofszky brings plenty of action, excitement and, towards the end, intrigue to this reimagined story. The plot is easy enough to follow, especially for new readers and focuses largely on the rescue side of things rather than telling a convoluted origin tale. While Canuck’s supporting characters are written well with humour and heart which gives the book much more depth than your average superhero book.

Unfortunately, as the story unfolds it does start to come undone with the deeper political-esque parts involving Evan’s brother. With all his nefarious deeds going on in the background, it begins to feel as if you need to have read the books previous runs in order to better understand where the characters are coming from (or perhaps have watched the web series?) and this takes away from this otherwise strong issue #1. (The same can be said by Ed Brisson’s back-up story which, of course, does follow on from the previous stories, and as such does feel less exciting as the opening chapter.)

As for the art, both Andrasofszky and back-up artist Marcus To provide good quality pages with highly professional polish that the Big Two would be proud of. Although the look and feel is fairly generic, it has that slick superhero air which a book like this needs to help it compete with similar books in it’s genre, and Andrasofszky’s work especially utilises the colour to provide readers with wonderfully light-hearted tone to the book, which is a nice change from the industry’s current ‘dark and grim’ mentality.

(Unfortunately, for fans who picked up the Captain Canuck #0 from Free Comic Book Day, then you will have gotten most of this issue for nothing!)

pd_review3half“In a world of constant reboots and re-imaginings, Captain Canuck #1 is a smart and enjoyable update of a ‘forgotten classic’. It’s not perfect and is a tad derivative of ‘Big Two’ properties at times, and has a slightly convoluted back story for it’s main villain, but this first issue is so much more than your average superhero retread and with time could develop a well deserved cult following.”