Comics Anonymous

THE CAPE: 1969 #1-4 by G-Man

After the success of The Cape, this follow-up release sees IDW bring us Joe Hill’s origin tale,  set during the Vietnam War…..but could this flashback reclaim the quality and intrigue from that first one-shot and four-parter?? Yes, yes, YES – of course it could and with this one, we see Hill weave us one of his strongest stories yet.  A rescue mission during the Vietnam War sees a Red Cross helicopter shot down in the jungle and all but two of the crew are killed between the crash and an ambush.  The surviving crew members make their escape only to be captured and become prisoners of a ruthless leader of the Vietnamese army……ruthless enough to shoot one of the POW’s in front of the other prisoner – our central character, Captain Chase.

Chase is thrown in a cage and the son of the man in charge speaks to him – explaining that both him and his father, the man in charge, are from America too.  Having returned to Vietnam just recently to play their part in the war against the USA, an unexpected twist in the plot as this seems to link the characters in some way….or maybe just an easy way to have both enemies understand each other during their face to face confrontations.

Here we get introduced to another recent POW as he’s thrown in the same cage as Chase…..a mysterious old man known as “the Witch”,  thought to have strange abilities and cannibalistic tendencies……not the ideal cell-mate :D.  The brutal war brings us out onto an open space in the jungle as Chase and the Witch are forced to take each other on in a race/fight to the death.  A confrontation kicks off as Chase loses it, killing the old man but not before a lunging kiss (WTF?) and transfer of some unknown power to Chase.

Forced to bury the Witch, Chase makes his escape with his new found ability to fly and his thirst for revenge gets the better of him as an attack on the army camp sees the majority of Vietnamese soldiers being killed including the leaders son.  A distraught father seeks his revenge and a final face-off between himself and chase comes to a brutal end for them both.

This could all have been part of a mindless, violent-filled war story but there is a heart and honesty to this book thanks to some of those key sub-plots. Each issue also includes a glimpse of Chase’s family back home – firstly reading a letter from Chase in #1 and then in the following issues it’s letters from the US army following his capture and disappearance after the helicopter crash in the jungle.  This becomes a significant part of the story in the end too as some of Chase’s belongings are returned home to his family….including a very significant emblem from his uniform…….which turns out to be the source of his powers.

An expertly crafted story from writer Jason Ciaramella as he works with Joe Hill to capture the magic from his original short story.  All backed up with stunning art from Nathan Daniel & Zack Howard as the bleak war zone and action-packed battle scenes are played out alongside those smartly placed poignant moments back home.



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