Full disclosures, Internet. First of all, I maybe should have wrote this review for Valentineís Day, but I didnít because, well, fuck that noise.
Secondly, I have not read a single panel of Love and Capes until Ever After #1, and on some level I feel like I may have jumped in late in the game. That is, if you go with the belief that sexual tension-based stories are all over when the leads finally get married. Which is, I suppose, why harem manga is so compelling -- more potential mates, more blue balls. But that has nothing to do with the ongoing saga of The Crusader and his now wife, Abby. As the story has us believe, Markís balls are hardly ever blue.
Love and Capes follows the ongoing relationships of several DC comics analogues: Mark Spencer (Clark Kent), Abby (Lois Lane), Charlotte (Lucy Lane, for all intents and purposes), Darkblade (Batman) and Amazonia (Wonder Woman). However, creator Thom Zahler makes the characters transcend analogue by tweaking the details: Mark is an accountant, Abby owns a cafe/bookstore and Darkblade is a black guy whose servant is more motherly than a quippy male butler. Amazonia is still ostensibly Wonder Woman (to a new reader like me, at lesat), but that sheís Markís ex-girlfriend certainly makes up for that. Ultimately, youíre supposed to identify the characters both as analogues and as characters in and of themselves.
This first issue follows the recently married Mark and Abby as they work on domestic married life sort of problems: not only are they looking for a new place, but they also have to deal with the potential awkwardness of a double date with Darkblade and Amazonia, not to mention financial woes. This makes for a fun exploration of superhero married life, which is something I canít imagine Superman or even Spider-Man comics depicted to great detail because those things need to have fight scenes in them, and 12-year-old boys/40-year-old men have no interest in reading about married life. In Love and Capes, the superheroics are largely window dressing for the relationship drama and comedy.
Particularly amusing is how Abby uses The Crusader to do favors for her, like fly her to work (granted, itís in exchange for morning sex, but still) and a great sequence where he hear Abbyís pained wail in the distance and Abby has to call Mark to tell him that sheís actually not in any (immediate) danger. The comedy in Love and Capes: Ever After, at least to me, isnít laugh-out-loud funny, but lightheartedly amusing. Iím interested enough in the characters and how they interact with one another that Iím more than happy to exchange sidesplitting hilarity for charm.
And Thom Zahlerís execution results in a nicely packed set of 25 pages, where nearly every page is four tiers of two panels each, and often each page is a complete scene or two. Sometimes the single-page scenes are even divided into two distinct chunks of time. It doesnít feel fragmented, but you can see Zahler leaving room to cut each page and half and put them online as the webcomic sometime down the road. As of this writing, the webcomic version seems to be at some point before the wedding has become a glint in anybodyís eye, so I wouldnít expect to see this one online for a long-ass while.
Love and Capes: Ever After #1 is a fun little comic, a slice of life-y relationship comedy that shows that you can make a comic book about superheroes that isnít action-centric. I donít know how far Zahler plans to take it or if how far into the superhero married life he wants to or can even sustain it, but I plan to stay on board to find out.
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