Look, I really enjoy reading adventures of heroes from other countries besides the United States. A good example was Alpha Flight from Canada when John Byrne created them years ago. I even went back to the attempted revivals and gave them each a shot as well. I find that books that focus on other countries are very enlightening as far as what the writer and artist think that country is all about.
So, of course I’m fascinated by the 40th-anniversary reincarnation of the Canadian hero Captain Canuck. The current series is up to it’s sixth issue, and going strong!
CAPTAIN CANUCK #6
Writers: Kalman Andrasofszky/Ed Brisson
Artists: Leonard Kirk, Craig Yeung/Michael Walsh
Color Artists: Irma Knivila/Mat Wilson
Letterer: Ed Brisson
Publisher: Chapter House Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in CAPTAIN CANUCK: “It all gets decided here and now! Who will control the power of Site: ALEPH? Captain Canuck and Equilibrium? Mr. Gold and his minions? Michael Evans and his own shady agenda? And what if ALEPH is a who, and not a what? Plus: The dream team of Ed Brisson and Michael Walsh (Secret Avengers, Murderbook) reunite for an all-new tale of Classic Canuck!”
CANADA’S VERSION OF CAPTAIN AMERICA
Before I dive into this issue, let’s talk a little about Captain Canuck.
Originally, the first issue of this comic appeared in 1975, and it was the first successful Canadian comic since the collapse of that nation’s comic-book industry following World War II.
There have been three men to take the name of Captain Canuck. The first Captain Canuck patrolled Canada in the then-future year of 1993, where “Canada had become the most powerful country in the world.” He was the costumed agent of the “Canadian International Security Organization” (CISO).
It is true that the costumes of Captain Canuck and Alpha Flight’s Guardian have been confused since both sport the maple leaf from Canada’s flag. However, the new costume for Cap is much more modern, appearing armor-like.
I often see this hero referred to as “Canada’s version of Captain America,” representing the nation as Steve Rogers does for the U.S. Since Captain America came first, I’m okay with that, but I’m not sure the folks living in Canada would agree with that.
One of the great things about this book is that there are two stories in each issue. The first one is the one most being focused on, but I also like the second, which looks back at Cap in an earlier era.
However, both tales are basically sci-fi stories, with the first dealing with Cap’s “other” brother. The second has Cap on an alien ship, being examined by them to see how his origin actually worked for him.
In the first part of the comic, it’s Tom/Cap trying to rescue his brother Michael, who has gone somewhat off the deep end. In the second tale, it’s aliens examining Cap to find out just how the Zeta Ray mutated his DNA.
They’re very different stories, but I enjoy them both. The initial story comes to something of a conclusion, but the latter is a chapter in that ongoing story.
One of the things Andrasofszky does is simplify the mission of the hero. In a previous issue, when asked just what it is that Captain Canuck does, when pinned down about it, he responds, “I protect people.” That’s a pretty good reason for being a hero, in my estimation.
Michael Evans is something of a humble yet strong good guy, and I like that take on him. He’s got back-up with a person named Horse, who functions much like the older Bruce Wayne did for Terry McGinnis in Batman Beyond. There’s a particularly funny sequence that has to do with Evans taking on a catchphrase that I won’t spoil here, but it was a good one.
But that’s not all. Evans actually has a whole team behind him, and they come in handy every once in a while, as the hero discovers.
The latter story has Cap pretty much on his own, so there’s quite a contrast between the two.
TWO VERY DIFFERENT STYLES OF ART
I prefer the initial story, with art by Leonard Kirk. I also prefer the armor of the first tale, which has a more modern feel to it.
The art in the second story is much more like ‘80s superhero books, and I like it well enough, but the art in the opening tale still feels stronger and more interesting.
Please don’t think I don’t like Walsh’s art. I do, but I find Kirk’s take on Cap more interesting and more appropriate for today’s readers.
BOTTOM LINE: A Different Cap, Different Storytelling
Like most comics today, you’ve really got to be up on what’s going on in Captain Canuck to understand what’s happening fully. Not many stores in the U.S. order this book (I wish there were more), but comixology.com is a great alternative!
I also find the storytelling to be grittier than what we’re used to in the U.S. When Cap’s brother wakes up, he’s not quite all together, which I don’t think we’d find in American comics.
Still, the action’s strong, the characters well developed, and the reading good! I recommend that if you want to discover a new comics world, check out Captain Canuck! Be sure to let your local comics shop know that you’re interested so they can order your copies!
I also like the fact that an animated Captain Canuck story called “Fool’s Gold” has been released, and there appears to be another one in the works called, “The Prometheus Protocol.” When I get the chance, I’m going to pop this first disc in the player and watch it!
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