Love and Capes #1-3 by Thomas Zahler

Categories:  Reviews

Love and Capes #1-3
By Thomas Zahler
Maerkle Press

Thomas ZahlerThomas Zahler must be pretty irked at My Super Ex-Girlfriend for having nabbed his idea. In fact, after a less-than-subtle dig hidden away in a panel, halfway through the second issue of Love and Capes, any doubt regarding the matter has surely been laid to rest.

On second thought, perhaps ‘nabbed’ is to strong a word—no one stole the idea from anyone, a romantic superhero comedy is the sort of quirky concept just waiting to adapted into one medium or another—Zahler’s own realization of the concept just happened to come at the worst moment possible: around the release of a star-studded major motion picture release, with a different take on the same concept. You can also see the cartoonist grimacing in pain the first time he caught a glimpse of the film’s trailer in a darkened theater, somewhere in mid-Ohio.

To Zahler’s credit, by the time Love and Capes reaches the final issue of this mini-series run (number six, by the author’s count), My Super Ex-Girlfriend will be little more than a distant memory in the minds all but the world’s most devout Uma-heads.

Also to the author’s credit is the fact that his own tagline—‘The Heroically Super Situation Comedy Comic Book’—more properly sums up his own method of storytelling. Love and Capes does indeed play out more like a sitcom, structured around punchlines that occur like clockwork at the bottom of each of his books pages. Also like a sitcom, the jokes are sometimes funny, sometimes cheesy, and quite often,visible from a mile away. And by the end of each episode, the problem is resolved, and we have to wait for next week (okay, three months—the man has a day job, for god’s sake) for the next mini-adventure.

For better or worse, Love and Capes never attempts to reach beyond its means, instead opting to poke good-natured fun at a cliché-ridden genre. As such, it never reaches the absurd nirvana of The Tick, and by the same token never gets caught awkwardly grasping for some deeper meaning, save for the occasional love conquers all/opposites attract themes sprinkled throughout.

Anyone looking for a near perfect satire of the genre has likely already found it in the aforementioned much-loved Ben Edlund series. Those looking for a more serious take would have had to have actively avoided Watchmen, in order to miss that evergreen series. Love and Capes falls squarely into the quick and enjoyable read category, which is all it ever tries to be. Issue four will be popping up amongst the freebies during May’s Free Comic Book day, so you don’t have much to lose by giving Zahler’s heroes a shot.

–Brian Heater

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