"The Cape" launched from IDW at the turn of the year and was one of the best one-shots on the shelves. It was double blessed by not having anything to do with the TV show of the same name. The tale was based on a short prose story by Joe Hill and focused on the origin of a villain. We saw Eric discover his childhood cape actually could make him fly. That power quickly mixed with his own corruption. The outcome was a gruesome book about the worst in man. Such dastardly behavior then obviously warranted its own miniseries and the quality has not dropped.
Like "The Hood" and "Dark Reign: Zodiac," this book is all about the bad guy and so gives readers a scary insight into what makes these terrible people tick. Eric is certainly not a nice guy, and you don't feel for him in the slightest, but that doesn't mean he can't chew up the scenery and keep you turning the pages. As far as villains go, Eric is one to watch because he's just such a scum bag. He's an entertaining scum bag, but one who isn't being given his own book to redeem him. "The Cape" exists only to entertain you with the worst of humanity.
There is a scene in this book that involves the flying cape, a grizzly bear, and some revenge on investigating cops that is the sort of thing you have to appreciate for sheer audacity alone. We're not getting the usual antics of a man gone bad; this is a new tale full to bursting with new twists and absurd moments that will shock. Joe Hill and Jason Ciaramella want your attention and, once they've gotten it, you won't be looking away.
For a story with its origins in a prose tale, the best character moments in this issue come from the silent pieces. A young Eric, barely surviving a tree fall, can only communicate with a thumbs up. A grown up Eric thumbs through the horrific images on his phone. As Eric lands back home after an afternoon of gleeful havoc, a watching eye finally understands. There are some great moments in this book that are simple and so effective.
Zach Howard continues to prove himself a force to be reckoned with as his artwork is gorgeous throughout. His faces express and get caught in the moment, adding layers to every scene. Every line feels like it holds meaning and Nelson Daniel lays color down that brings every scene to life. This is the sort of art the Big Two should take more of a chance on because it's fun and still manages to convey action and emotion within successive pages.
If you're unsure about picking up "The Cape" then you need to ask yourself one question: do I want a comic that will surprise me? If you're after something different then this book has it in spades. It's a villainous origin that looks set to spill out in a big and bad way. The writing is measured and the art is both dynamic and resonant. "The Cape" is a whole mess of terrible fun to make you shield your eyes and hate yourself for laughing along with the death rattle of this man's innocence.