I get the sense that the team behind Kaptara would find it a bit funny for someone to critique their work with anything resembling seriousness. While Kaptara will probably not go on to receive the academic criticism of other comic titles, I suspect that that would be due to snobbishness surrounding fart jokes rather than a comment on the book’s actual quality. Kaptara functions as one long dare between writer Chip Zdarsky, artist Kagam McLeod and the reader with Zdarsky’s script dreaming up new absurdist creatures for McLeod to illustrate, and Mcleod challenging the reader to not be impressed by how grounded he’s able to make a cat tank. So far the plot of Kaptara reads a bit like a mash-up between He-Man and Lost in Space, but funnier and with even less pants. Keith, earthling and our reluctant protagonist has been left stranded on the planet Kaptara, and put up in the lap of luxury thanks to the generosity of Manton and his queen, the rulers of the Endom kingdom. At the start of this issue, Keith is training with Pongord in the use of the battle broom, a weapon I hope to own by this Christmas.
Manton and his son resolve to intervene in their nemesis’ Skulthor’s plan to invade the Earth, and although they invite Keith along, he refuses the offer stating that he rather not get involved in saving his home planet since he couldn’t think of anyone worth saving there. Keith is a great character for us to explore this world with as he juxtaposes well with the planet’s excessively macho aesthetic. His cowardliness, and selfishness make him great material for character development.
While I didn't find Kaptara laugh out loud funny, it's clear that zdarsky is having a fun time coming up with increasingly absurd characters and settings with McLeod. Whether it's the motivational orb or the human-like mounted animal, I feel like I'm seeing things I've never caught in a comic, which feels increasingly unlikely. And even though there's such a wide range of characters, the world of Kaptara all has a cohesiveness thanks to its faux medieval aesthetic and zdarsky's inability to not go for the laugh whenever possible.
Top it off with great easter eggs for fans of 80's cartoons and comics, and signs at some heart beneath all the madness, and Kaptara has the making of a fun book for anyone wanting a break from the grimness of life.
Kaptara #2 Writer: Chip Zdarsky Artist: Kagan Mcleod Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: 5/20/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital