Super-Bad vs Super-Dad: Should Your Kids Be Reading ‘Captain Ultimate?’ [Kids’ Comics]
It’s Kids’ Week at ComicsAlliance! As the summer draws to a close and young comics fans get ready to go back to school, we’re presenting a week of articles focused on great kids’ comics, including comics recommendations for younger readers. Hey! Kids’ comics!
In Benjamin Bailey, Joey Esposito and Boy Akkerman’s Captain Ultimate, evil flourishes when good heroes go bad, and good flourishes when one single kid believes in the greatest, most noble superhero of all.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
It’s the modern era, and the most popular superheroes still around are the Super Revenging Society. You can tell they’re the good guys because of all the skulls, chains, and bionic arms that they have. But Milo, a young boy, remembers the stories his father told him about Captain Ultimate, the greatest and noblest superhero who ever lived, who one day just disappeared from the world.
Spoilers for a comic with his name on the cover, but Captain Ultimate comes back, and Milo becomes his sidekick. He brings with him his dog, Ulti-Mutt, his belt that grants him Ultimate Power, and his sense of good cheer and fair play when battling the villains of this world.
WHO’S IT BY?
It’s written by Benjamin Bailey and Joey Esposito, and drawn by Boy Akkerman. Colors are by Ed Ryzowski, and lettering and other production values are handled by Adam O. Pruett. The series is published via Monkeybrain Comics.
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL?
Captain Ultimate is a classical superhero, clever and strong, in a world that at first doesn’t value him anymore but that comes to appreciate a more unambiguous, generous hero. Even his modern, xxxtreme superhero rivals slowly start to come around on him. None of this goodness feels forced; Captain Ultimate feels, and is, the superhero as the Ultimate Good Dad (even down to a Dad Mustache).
Captain Ultimate is a Superman pastiche that remembers that Superman has his roots in faintly ridiculous carnival acts --- his rumored secret origin is that he is a wrestler tired of playing “heel,” who wanted to be the good guy for once. He lives in the “all stories are true” consensus superhero universe, down to even Santa being real (and ripped as all hell.)
It's a world where a kid sidekick can help a superhero, and there's no real problem with that, because we all know: no one's really going to get hurt. No attempt is made to make any of it realistic to adults; this book knows its audience.
The artwork is clean and bright, with clear and comprehensible storytelling. It’s meant to appeal to kids, and it follows through on that ambition on all storytelling levels.
WHO SHOULD READ IT?
Kids who like a little lightness and joy with their superheroes, and want a comic that’s aimed at them instead of steeped in mythology tied up in books they can’t afford. Every issue is self-contained and inexpensive, but there are ongoing mysteries and between-issue continuity that keeps it compelling.
Adults who still have a kid inside of them somewhere, and an appreciation of traditional, square-jawed superheroism involving blue skies and bright colors and a sense of honest joy, will also find much to appreciate.
WHERE CAN I READ IT?
Captain Ultimate is available digitally through Comixology, at six issues for five dollars. A print edition is forthcoming thanks to a successful Kickstarter.