“The Cape” was easily one of the most aggressively interesting comics from the past year. In it, we witnessed a regular man overcome with his life and venting through the use of an old blanket/cape that allowed him to fly. “The Cape 1969” by Jason Ciaramella and Nelson Daniel travels back in time to the conflict in Vietnam to deliver the origin of the cape itself — a great idea, but the issue doesn’t do much to get toward the actual concept. It’s a good war comic, but the lack of ingenuity and messed up aspects leaves this falling flat where it should soar.
This issue is certainly a two-fisted tale as Jason Ciaramella and Nelson Daniel find new and gory ways to make bullets kill soldiers. A U.S. helicopter is shot down and the soldiers have a hell of a time making their way through the dangerous terrain. As far as this premise goes, the creative team nails the oppressive tone and blood-soaked inevitability of enemy fire and ferocity. They present war as hell after making us care enough about the characters to be invested.
What the audience needs in this story is a sense of the crazy supernatural aspects at play and we only get one panel of it. Although we can trust in an eventual payoff later on, it would have been nice to arrive in media res and get a taste of the real action to come, which would have gone a long way to allaying fears of this being just another war comic.
Nelson Daniel continues to show why IDW has continued to put him to work. His pages are open, clean and tell the story smoothly with enough flair that you still notice the art. The gunshots especially shine as Daniel manages to pick the exact perfect moment to show them perforating a man’s head or opening up his chest. The thick splashes of blood indicate this comic is not holding back.
“The Cape 1969” is a good comic but suffers from not being what it needs to be. If you have faith in the creative team, you’ll know to accept this harrowing and terse introduction and come back next month to find out how the floating man will come into play. For now, try to enjoy the “war is hell” stylings and marvel at Daniels’ art.