Captain Canuck #1 Review: Canadian Super Hero Tackles The World


Captain Canuck #1
Writer: Andrasofszky, Kalman
Artist: Andrasofszky, Kalman
Cover Artist: Andrasofszky, Kalman
Published by Chapter House Comics

As you may or may not know, I read a lot of different comics from different genres. Horror, adventure, super hero, and sometimes a dash of Donald Duck or Archie keep me a happy camper. I also try and uncover odd or less than mainstream kinds of titles, to review and share with others and for my own edification. Often times I bring some spontaneity to what I read, grabbing what seems to attract me. Picture a water diviner with his stick as he searches for that underground stream. He is going with the flow…

Captain Canuck #1 was not part of my pull list this week. I did not know that the character existed, nor had I ever heard of Chapter House Comics. But the cover caught my attention, and the Captain’s costume struck me as bold and fun. Thumbing through the pages at the comic shop, the artwork stood out as consistent and dense. The text did not jump out to me either way, but at least it did not jump out in a negative way. So I picked it up, curious about the character, the story and the publisher.

I discovered that Captain Canuck dates back to 1975 and a comic series that ran for 15 issues. It went largely unnoticed. More, John Byrne delivered a blow to the Captain’s long term success when, in 1978, he created the costume for Guardian of Marvel’s Alpha Flight (see image to the right) . The costume is different enough from the one worn by Captain Canuck, but Alpha Flight’s early success and Captain Canuck’s light sales helped relegate the character to comic book history.

Now, 35 years later, Chapter House Comics has brought a talented creative team together, led by Kalman Andrasofszky, to re-imagine the Canadian hero for a new audience. Mr. Andrasofszky both wrote and drew the premier issue, and in both cases he did a marvelous job. His story, while straightforward (new team of heroes loose in the world, based in Canada), offered up a lot of action and intrigue. His greatest success, though, was in his world-building: he spent just the right amount of time giving texture to his characters, imbuing them with human and identifiable traits. So often comic book characters feel as if they come off an assembly line; back stories plugged in, power sets locked and loaded. With Captain Canuck, Mr. Andrasofszky and his team revealed aspects of Captain Canuck while at the same time throwing us head first into some well thought out action sequences. Even the most casual of comic fans, I feel, has gotten a little jaded to origin stories, so it is a welcome comic release where not every aspect of a new character is spelled out. The wider world that Captain Canuck operates in also worked to add texture to the story: unexplained catastrophes fire up, zombies swarm an oil field, and the Captain’s own brother is part of some murky cabal of some sort. The creators behind Captain Canuck #1 created a dense and accessible world.

Chapter House also included a six-page second story in Captain Canuck #1. It was when I read that story that it clicked for me that both it and the main story played on environmental themes. In both, oil rigs or refineries act as the big backdrops for the action. The two creative teams behind the stories do not hit the reader over the head with this angle — like I said, it took me a second to connect the dots — but their blending of man vs. nature themes into their stories added a subtle sophistication that I do not often see in comics.

It is not the easiest thing to start a new comic title, I understand. It is hard to get readers to try new things and comic shops to carry new publishers. But I give Chapter House and the team behind Captain Canuck #1 all the credit in the world. They have made a super hero that is both familiar and fresh, a title both exciting and human. I look forward to finding out where they and Captain Canuck go from here.

From the publisher:

"Captain Canuck is a reboot of the classic Canadian comic book hero created in 1975 by Richard Comely and Ron Leishman. This all-new series re-imagines Canuck as a kinetic and accessible 21st-century icon. Born of the true north and tested in war, Captain Canuck is thrust into battle at the head of the global crisis intervention agency called Equilibrium. He must find his way as warrior, leader, and ultimately, hero to save humanity from the machinations of Mr. Gold, Blue Fox, and the even more menacing forces that watch from the shadows."

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