Captain Action #0
Story by: Fabien Nicieza
Art by: Mark Sparacio
Yesterday we reviewed the first issue of the 1968 classic Captain Action comic and today we’re going to take a look at the first modern Moonstone Captain Action comic. Of course, since this is a modern comic, it’s not issue #1, but instead, issue #0! Because you know, modern numbering and all that jazz. This comic was written in 2008, a full 40 years after the DC debut of Captain Action. The cover on this thing is beautiful, but doesn’t really advertise anything that the actual book itself is about.
Right off we’re introduced to the concept that will define most of the storyline. Aliens invaded Earth in the 1950’s via a parasite that can take over a human host. It’s sort of like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but on a microbe level. The Aliens are dubbed the “Red Crawl” because they’re sort of like little red creepy crawlers. They infiltrated a lot of the Earth’s highest ranking officials, so a shadow government is formed, with a secret task force named A.C.T.I.O.N. (Advanced Command for Telluric Interdiction, Observation and Nullification) which was led by Captain Action. His name is Miles Drake and he has no connection to the DC character.
Along the way, humans developed enough advancements to create superheroes of extraordinary power. With their help, Captain Action wiped out the Red Crawl. And then, time passed. The Captain got old and everyone came to trust, depend on and well, worship, those aforementioned superheroes. It was all fine and dandy, until the superheroes secretly killed Captain Action, right about the time he realized that the heroes themselves had been pawns of the Red Crawl all along.
And the world only has one hope left. Another Captain Action. The modern Captain Action… A guy who got fired from that position because he was too reckless and arrogant (also a drunk?) to hold the mantle.
As you can see by the graphic images, this is not your father’s Captain Action. Moonstone worked very hard to try and differentiate these characters from any previous version. Yet they also had to keep that Captain Action spirit alive. It’s a neat concept, but there’s lots of punches in this opening comic that clearly sets it up as “edgy”. That might have been a turnoff for some folks, though I don’t mind.
Personally, I would have loved a throwback, pulp style comic, but I understand why they went this route. Immediately the Red Crawl send out some assassins to try and kill Cole Drake, the son of the original Captain Action. I assume they figured he’d be easy to take down. But just because he’s a womanizing drunkard, doesn’t mean he can’t kick butt. Didn’t Tony Stark teach these bad guys anything?
The new Captain Action sets off to his Dad’s secret lair, where he finds both the original Captain Action costume and his own “modern” costume. Again, this comic isn’t being used to tie into the toys so much, as it is to create a new mythos. It works well enough and I like that they have made sure to make this not the “real” Captain Action, but the new one. That leaves an era where they can go back and tell classic stories as well.
They also explain the Captain’s penchant for looking like other people. Instead of masks, they use some sort of hi-tech “plastiderm” to transform. It’s really rather brilliant how they set up their own heroes to take the place of Superman, Green Lantern and the like, that Captain Action would transform into. Since Moonstone doesn’t have the rights to those characters, they made their own. Then they made them the villains, setting the stage for the Captain to take their personas for a spin.
Overall, this issue is a nice setup. Clearly the real “action” (pardon the pun) begins in Issue #1, but this comic is invaluable for cluing you in on what the Captain is all about. Moonstone no longer has the Captain Action comic license. Instead, Dynamite Comics will have the Captain starting in 2013, but Moonstone did some nice stuff while they had him. What happens to Cole and the Captain Action name? Well, you’ll have to check in another day.