High Five! Comics

CAPED: The Boys, Rated PG-13

Posted on: October 16, 2009

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We’ve all had dickhead bosses, but how do you deal when your dickhead boss happens to be a superhero? Jimmy Lohman (yes he’s a redhead) desperately wants to be an intrepid TV news reporter. Unfortunately, the only job he can land is Assistant to washed-up reporter Grant Godfried, who just happens to moonlight as the Edge, a Batman-esque superhero whose Golden Age is clearly waning. (I wonder if he plays bass, too?)

caped3Jimmy is abruptly inducted into the world of superhero personal assistants on his very first day. Before long he loses one of his peers to a violent murder, and no one but Jimmy seems to care or even notice. Meanwhile, Edge is constantly botching rescues and being led down rabbit holes – someone, or something, is out to take down the Edge and every other member of the League of Superheroes from the inside out.

Josh Lobis and Darin Moiselle’s CAPED is a dramedy that skewers the notion that superheroes are anything other than simply freakish egomaniacs with nothing much better to do.  The series manages to both mock and pay tribute to the classic superhero genre without getting bogged down in too many carbon copies of existing popular heroes.

CAPED is funny. These heroes are so wrapped up in their gadgets, their powers, their autographs, and the perfect mid-fight photo op that they become hilariously incompetent even in the midst of saving lives.  You roll your eyes along with Jimmy every time Edge takes his frustration with becoming a has-been out on his poor assistant. But just as these heroes seem beyond sympathy or a measure of redemption, Jimmy Lohman the Assistant figures everything out (he’s sort of the spot to the Edge’s Hong Kong Phooey, if you will).

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I want to like this book so much it hurts; I sympathize with Jimmy (because MAN, I have worked for some assholes in my day). But CAPED is pretty easy to hate if you approach it expecting anything other than purposefully cliched irreverence. The series is occasionally clunky and ill-paced, largely a result of the fact that this is the first work in comics that South Park writers Lobis & Moiselle have ever attempted.

The superhero conceit has a tendency to get a bit tired, but CAPED‘s overall mystery is engaging – lots of red herrings, lots of twists. CAPED is a fun, irreverent read. Don’t go in expecting overt Ennis-style dickheadery from these heroes. The Seven from the Boys they ain’t, they’re much more basic cable than Skinemax.

Basically, if The Boys stressed you out just a tad too much and if you can forgive the writers for trying to find their footing in a new medium, mix up a gin buck (3:1 ginger ale and gin!) and have a blast with CAPED.

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