By Josh Lobis and Darin Moiselle (writer), Sebastian Piriz (artist), Digikore Studios (colorist)

The Story: Jimmy continues his surreal penetration into the superhero subculture of Capitol City by going to pick up another superhero assistant for the superhero Christmas party. Unfortunately, he finds the man murdered. He tries to link it to the mole in the superhero community, but Edge isn’t convinced. Jimmy keeps investigating and leads his boss to water. I can’t tell you whether or not he drinks, though, because the Edge’s choice drives the rest of the book along.

What’s Good: Jimmy is a great character. He’s nobody, but he wants to be a somebody. Lobis and Moiselle show his visceral need to prove himself. They make me want to see more of Jimmy. Not only that, he’s a pretty good investigator and they’ve plunked him right in the middle of the mystery.

The concept of Caped is pretty original. This series is about one among many personal assistants to superheroes. The only time I’d seen something similar was in the movie Mystery Men, but here, it’s not just the top dog, but every superhero who has one and there’s a whole assistant subculture that’s pretty funny.

Lastly, the tone of the book is also original. The story takes itself seriously enough that the humor comes across as dry, almost surreal. Kafka did the same thing with Metamorphosis. He changed one absolutely absurd thing, but made every character in the novel treat it as completely unsurprising. That lack of surprise, the willingness to take that one element (assistants for superheroes) so seriously, so unselfconsciously, is what makes the humor in Caped ironic instead of just funny. There are some laughs that, on their own, are cheap, but when taken together, they build something pretty cool.

What’s Not So Good: I really was rooting for the art, hoping that it would grow onto me, but it didn’t. I just couldn’t get past the crudeness. The credits page is a good example. In Edge’s head shot, his forehead seems sunken in compared to his chin. And the diagonal lines shading Jimmy’s suit look almost comic strip (i.e.: early Superman comic strip) in style. The odd proportions actually got worse, rather than better compared with the previous issues. When Jimmy is on the phone with the doctor, his left eye has migrated towards the center of his face and in the fight scene between Edge and the villain, I didn’t always understand what body part went with whom.

Conclusion: Lots of comics have brought the surreal to superhero art (think Ditko’s Dr. Strange or Starlin’s Warlock), but here Lobis and Moiselle have brought the surreal to superhero writing. They’ve done something original. I’ll be looking for next month’s issue.

Grade: B+

-DS Arsenault

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