Captain Kid: Super-People Problems
Written by Mark Waid & Tom Peyer
Illustrated by Wilfredo Torres & Brent Peeples
Colored by Kelly Fitzpatrick
Lettered by A Larger World
Published by AfterShock Comics
Comixology Digital Release
Today sees the release of the collected edition of Captain Kid Vol. 1 (Aftershock Comics) from writers Mark Waid & Tom Peyer. Waid’s collected an impressive creative team, co-writing with The Atom‘s Tom Peyer with art by Wilfredo Torres (Jupiter’s Circle), and Brent Peeples (TMNT). The origin of the story starts with an idea Peyer (Legion of Superheroes, Tek Jansen) had ten years ago, finally bringing the story to light for Aftershock.
What exactly is Captain Kid, you ask? It is Mark Waid doing what he is best at, retelling familiar comic book superhero stories with a new twist. In the vein of Irredemable and Insufferable, Captain Kid takes the idea of your super powerful tight wearing hero but this time, he’s allowed himself to have a bit more fun with the palette.
Captain Kid doesn’t go down the grim and gritty rathole, in fact, this book seems to take the humor of his and Samnee’s run on Daredevil and puts it to good use.
The shocking twist in the hero Captain Kid is that he’s trapped inside of a middle aged man. The young strapping ‘Superboy’ can swoop in and save the day, but only after ‘reverse-Shazaming’ into a flying, energy manipulating self. He’s not exactly sure what his mission is at first.
Our hero, Chris Vargas aka Captain Kid, has a middle aged laundry list of Parker-Problems; he lives and takes care of his widower father, he has a job as a music critic in dwindling print industry and he spends a fair amount of time in bars. When needed, he can turn in to the dashing Captain Kid, someone with less aching bones, flight and a knack for saving the day.
For guidance, a time traveling version of another hero, Helea, tells him where to spend his time, his powers and why. It seems that something is afoot at the local garden supply super chain by way of a Jack Kirby super-machine (can’t you just picture it without us describing it detail?).
The first trade here collects a full story arc of 5 issues with a satisfying resolution. Something rare these days, but certainly not rare from the man who gave us Kingdom Come, Mark Waid.
Captain Kid’s origin is a manifestation of middle aged comic fan’s dreams, or middle aged or older men who’s body doesn’t look, act like or feel like it did 20 years ago. By idealizing the vision of giving superpowers to a version of a younger self, Waid is holding a mirror up to the very people interested in buying comic books these days.
There is certainly no shame in being a comic book reader in your thirties, forties, fifties and beyond. That youthful spirit in the comic pages can transform a reader into younger days, and perhaps that’s why so many of us carry on our Wednesday traditions.
Helea has a motto in this book, no spoilers, but it does apply to the overall message of the book. “Obey Your Older Self”. That will certainly make more in context, but Captain Kid is a reflection on aging and being a comic book fan. And as the number one Superman authority on the planet, Waid certainly trusts all versions of himself and continues to bring joy to those who read his self-reflective comics. These types of re-imagining of superhero comics are always a commentary on the comics industry itself (The Mighty, Irredemable, Jupiter’s Legacy), and the fans that make up the community. What is great about going outside the Big Two to make books like this is total freedom, and fans may interpret signals the way they want.
Captain Kid is far from heavy handed, it is a clean-line straight up superhero comic for fans of books like Invincible and aforementioned volumes. Highly recommended!