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October 20, 2013

Monkeybrain Comics Review: Captain Ultimate #3

imageCaptain Ultimate #3
Writers: Benjamin Bailey, Joey Esposito
Artist: Boykoesh
Publisher: Monkeybrain Comics

As every comic fan knows, a character’s origin is one of the most highly scrutinized facets of their creation. As much as we love the “why” when it comes to costume donning, we’re much more concerned with the “how.” Irradiated arachnids, questionable chemicals, freak lighting blasts; seems like anything can give you powers these days. With that in mind, Monkeybrain Comics turns back the clock to show how Captain Ultimate got so ultimate.

Captain Ultimate #3 continues to deliver the quality, all ages content we’ve come to expect, this time delving into one of the most important aspects of a hero’s story – the origin. That’s right folks, CU wasn’t always the masked beefcake we know and love. In fact, he used to be a regular Joe who (gasp!) didn’t even have a mustache! Bailey and Esposito detail Cap’s rise from reviled wrestler to renowned hero in almost loving fashion, the duo obviously having a blast exploring the early days of their costumed champion. Everything about the origin reflects the best comics has to offer. The ordinary man who dreams of something more, the injured mentor who bequeaths a weapon of great power, an evil, part robotic enemy that now lies in wait…. This is textbook comics, kids, and Bailey and Esposito prove they know their stuff.

I’ve read a few origin stories in my day, but rarely has one been so much fun. The book features wrestling body slams, time traveling super scientists, flying cybernetic alligators (with brains!), and that’s just the first four pages! Bailey and Esposito stuff their script with a multitude of zany happenings, each set piece more grin inducing than the last. I really admire the focus in which the authors approach the series, and the origin in general. They know exactly what kind of book they want to be, consistently generating fun, wholesome entertainment that is easily appealing. Dedicating an issue to an origin story so early could have stalled the momentum they’ve gained, yet I found myself even more enamored with the series in general at issue’s end. I do hope they continue to explore upon much of what we see in the future (our unnamed time traveler isn’t too big on storytelling) as the flash-forwards only offer a tantalizing glimpse.

Artist Boy “Boykoesh” Akkerman continues to deliver the same high energy bombast we’ve seen before, his characters gleefully cavorting through their comic surroundings. His art is 100% devoted to capturing big, fun moments, as you’ll see nary a shadow or ominous panel. There’s a sense of joy that emanates from the work, as if Boykoesh is having as much fun drawing the book as we are reading it. Some may take issue with his more simplistic style, but I for one enjoy his larger than life characters and goofy, over the top set pieces. He’s also a bit of a sneak, dotting the issue (and the cover) with a myriad of characters both real and imagined, so keep your eyes peeled. I also find it fitting that Captain Ultimate’s chest hair is just as full and luxurious as his ‘stache. That’s a man, man.

Captain Ultimate’s rise from heel to hero is a hoot, and more than worth the Comixology asking price. Whether you’re a fan of heroes, mustaches, or cybernetically enhanced super lizards, there’s something for everyone. This issue is a real step forward for the creative team, and with a holiday themed issue on the horizon there’s no better family friendly fare than Captain Ultimate. Now how ’bout that Ulti-Mutt one-shot?

Jeff Lake
jefflake@comicattack.net

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