Caperbet! is an entertaining story set in an entertaining world. In some ways it pokes fun at the cities that superheroes call home or really any fictional city in which the criminal element is constant. It’s also a very different style of story for King Bone Press which I like, it shows expansion and that they won’t be pigeonholed into any one style or genre. The story takes place in a city called “Heistburg.” We meet a gang of people who have a Reservoir Dogs flair to their gang, but instead of colors it’s letters. They wear their letters plainly on their shirts and all wear matching shirts. They’re like an alphabet gang, but instead of their being twenty-six of them there’s actually just twelve men and women that make up the group. They’re planning a heist because as we’re told, that’s what this city was founded on.
The story follows Mr. O who is the newest member of the gang, but we soon find out he’s really Zero and working for a gang that’s based on numbers. It’s extremely clever because the “O” and the “0” are interchangeable and unless you know, you don’t know. Though Zero has been sent to infiltrate and betray the group, the more time he spends with them… the more he struggles with his choices.
The story has great concepts. The characters are all interesting and play unique roles in the story. They’re also unique in that no two characters act alike. It’s easy to slip the same character in twice when you have a group setting, but that didn’t happen here.
The execution struggles in parts. It takes several pages to understand what’s happening in the story and there’s a big focus on introducing the extra characters. While I could understand Mr. O’s struggle I didn’t have enough time to be affected by it. He says he bonds with the gang, but we only see two scenes with them and he hangs in the back by himself for the most part. Since this is crime fiction there is of course a couple of twists, but you should be able to see them coming. I know I did.
The art is wonderful for the most part. I really enjoyed artist Harry Moyer’s style and most of all his coloring. It reminded me a lot of Shannon Wheeler’s Villain House, but the coloring made it distinct and stylized. The page layouts were confusing at first and I still don’t think they were the best choice for the story. It improves later on and actually produces some great layouts, but the beginning ones were rough and broke the flow of the story.
Caperbet! is an interesting experiment for sure and the world it’s created can be revisited with a fresh perspective. As for this one-shot I enjoyed it. I think it danced around the edge of being something great and instead just came out okay. The creators work well with each other though and I think if they continue to collaborate we’ll see some great things come from it.
Writer: Jon Westhoff Artist: Harry Moyer Publisher: King Bone Press Price: $5.00 Format: Print Website