I’m a little annoyed by how much better Kaptara gets with each issue. The first two issues gave me the impression that it may be nothing more than Chip Zdarsky going for broke on his own with the absurdist humor he works into his visuals on Sex Criminals. With this issue though, it’s becoming clear that Zdarsky has greater ambitions than finding the next fart joke—although that’s undeniably a continuing major goal of his. This time around Zdarsky and artist Kagan McLeod start peeling back their grander scheme, and it holds more neck breaking than I initially expected. We pick up here with the grossest of all possible angles- from the ground looking up at one of the Glomps that kidnapped Keith and She-La, an unpleasant sight that’s only accentuated by his ugly hat. The Glomps turn out to be the worst type of being- sexists, racists, specist, etc. who believe they ought to be entitled to their despicable ways and have been therefore exiled from Endom. Turns out the Glomps have also kidnapped Manton, his son, and the Motivational Orb, and the Glomps promise to release them if Keith and Manton can successfully find and kill Melvon the Wizard, who has been a pain in the Glomps’ pimply asses for a while. Elsewhere, Vlektra hires two beings Skullthor had previously captured to find and kill Manton’s party although her motivations for doing so aren’t yet evident.
Kaptara maintains its appeal of having a bunch of kooky characters engaging in hilarious conversations that always feel authentic to each character’s personality. I really enjoyed that all of Manton’s party, in spite of their own shortcomings and lack of awareness, find the Glomps’ indiscriminate hatred for others a repulsive characteristic. The comic reaches peak hilarity in a conversation where She-la and Manton’s son question the Glomps’ on the lack of women in their group, the Glomps defending themselves by way of showing the ‘sexy drawings of ladies’ they make for one another. Although it would be a stretch to say that Kaptara is always concerned with satire, the interactions with the Glomps do a wonderful job of showing the illogical way that hatred manifests. I would be so down to see Zdarsky push this more over the course of the series while maintaining the comic’s sillier elements.
I’m continuously impressed by Kagan McLeod’s ability to render Kaptara with designs that combine 80’s He-Man and The Smurfs simultaneously. The objects in this world are bulbous and exaggerated while somehow also looking decrepit. McLeod invests a lot of energy into making each space reflective of its inhabitants, such as the wizard’s castle containing peculiar animals and tokens that only get a panel’s attention are lovingly illustrated. I really like the use of acidic colors throughout the issue that reinforce the idea that while the world possesses wonders such as wizards and cat tanks, it’s undeniably less Narnia and more that planet from Heavy Metal that I refuse to research.
Kaptara has officially made its way onto my gee-willickers-this-comes-out-soon list. Now that the Manton’s party is all together (in what I must say is one of the most organic getting-the-band-together sequences I’ve seen in some time), Zdarsky and McLeod can really get these folks into some trouble. So long as they got Motivational Orb around though, I’m betting they’ll be able to keep their spirits up.