Kaptara #1- #2
It’s safe to assume that like a lot of folks I was equally intrigued and excited when Chip Zdarsky, already writing Howard the Duck for Marvel, announced he would be writing another series of his own creation, Kaptara.
Billed as “gay saga” and boasting an outlandish setting and wild characters, based in part on nostalgia for 80’s cartoons series and their toy ranges. With a gay protagonist to boot, the early previews and buzz surrounding the series was equally as exciting. Yet two issues in I’m left with the niggling sense that I should like it a lot more then I do and spent a lot more time desperately trying to enjoy it, rather then simply just enjoying it. I just didn’t like it, but at the same time feel really guilty in saying as much. It feels like a book I shouldn’t be criticising.
The main reason I was initially guilty to criticize Kaptara is it’s protagonist, Keith. Comics sorely need more LBGT protagonists, and I’m certain from his other work that Zdarksy has the best intentions and should be applauded for his efforts here to not to add to the slew of straight white male characters. However Keith is one of the main failings of Kaptara. Every form of media is littered with the rouges and lovable assholes, Keith comes across as just your regular garden variety asshole. For much of the comic he feels far too passive in the action,simply being pushed along by events rather then driving them. His sarcastic and flippant attitude could work and does elsewhere but this coupled with his threadbare reactions to situations hasn’t made me want to stick around to see if his character develops.
In his other books I love Zdarsky’s sense of humour. The background details, puns and visual gags he lovingly draws into Sex Criminals are some of the funniest moments in comics at the moment. Even if it wasn’t already one of the best series on the stands, his responses to the letters in the pages of Sex Criminals would be worth the price of the comic alone. So it might seem hypocritical of me to criticize his humour in Kaptara, for the same qualities I just praised him for. A lot of the dialogue simply falls flat here, with Keiths cynical and witty replies feeling extremely forced and particularly cringe worthy. While there was always a knowing, gleefully childish charm to Zdarksy’s humour it was in issue two on reading “Yes, the sweat of you balls on my majestic back is evidence of this” that I knew I was done with this series.