‘Joe Hill’s The Cape:’ Advance Deluxe Hardcover Review

No one would argue about Eric Chase having a rough life. His father, Captain Gordon “Cory” Chase, disappeared in the jungles of Vietnam in 1969, his only keepsake from his dad is a Marine forces patch sewed onto an old baby blanket converted into a superhero cape, and he suffered traumatic skull fractures plus other injuries falling from a tree when playing superheroes with his older brother, Nick, compelling their mother to discard the precious cape. Any one of these events could warp someone’s personality, but all of them together turn Eric into a paranoid, angry young man. He can’t hold down a steady job, keep his girlfriend, or even come up with the funds to rent a place of his own. But, when the old superhero cape of his childhood resurfaces, Eric reconnects with the secret ability embedded in his father’s military patch; however, instead of using his new powers for good, the angry man-child gives in to the urge to take revenge on those he thinks are most responsible for his suffering.

While both The Cape and its prequel The Cape 1969 have been available in other formats, IDW’s deluxe hardcover edition brings the two parts of this emotionally charged tale together in a beautiful hardcover volume that also includes an extensive art gallery and the original Joe Hill short story with the author’s notes. This new format is ideal for hardcore fans who are completists, as well as newcomers to the work.

I, personally, knew nothing about The Cape before reading this edition, and I ended the book feeling like something inside me had irrevocably changed. The story of love, revenge, sacrifice, and vengeance reached to something inside of me and drew it to the surface before I recognized its presence. At the same time The Cape is not an easy read; its dark, heartbreaking plot feels just realistic enough to make readers examine their own relationships and actions, which felt slightly uncomfortable. When combined with the mysterious explanation for the cape’s powers in The Cape 1969, it becomes haunting and powerful.

The artwork in The Cape 1969 and The Cape works well to present the story’s world as realistic without appearing photographic. Many of the chapters are very monochromatic, which adds a layer of mystery and magic to otherwise mundane settings. For example, the Vietnamese camp in The Cape 1969 looks very drab and brown; even the green tones are muted and seem to have a layer of dust across them, which projects Captain Chase’s fear and despair at his fate.

Overall, The Cape is not a story that will appeal to everyone, but I highly recommend it for anyone who can appreciate tales that don’t always feel good to experience. It is a wonderful snapshot of how mysterious abilities do not always turn someone into a hero. This new edition also includes some lovely extras that could please even long-term fans of the series.

4.5 Semper Fi Badges out of 5

Last modified on Monday, 31 December 2018 18:47

Jodi Scaife, Fanbase Press Social Media Strategist

Mid-30s geek type with a houseful of pets, books, DVDs, CDs, and manga

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