This is a review of the recently released Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers #1 by Joe Casey and Nathan Fox, Jim Rugg and Ulises Farinas and will contain spoilers.
I was hesitant to review this book as I'm already predisposed to liking all things Jack Kirby. When I was eleven years old I went to a convention at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, my first convention and the first time I realized that I could meet the people who made the comics. My heroes were talented by real people and I could talk to them. I raced around the show floor grabbing copies of the Black Panther and caught Jack again in the lobby where he talked to me and signed all the issues even though his day was over. That meeting changed my life and made me want to work in the comic industry.
I am also friends with Joe Casey. I was one of his "designated audience members" when his band The Sellouts would play the local clubs. So I would hate to say bad things about his book… luckily I don't have to.
Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers #1 is crazy, fast paced, hard to follow and fun. Casey has made this about big ideas and big moments and it feels like a Jack Kirby comic. We start in the middle of a space battle aboard the Dreadnaught: Tiger, Captain Victory's ship, as it's under attack by the Mekkanos. We get to meet his crew and get a snippet of information about each while the action ramps up. And then Captain Victory dies. Seriously, that's how Casey kicks this thing off, but killing off the title character. But luckily we won't be seeing Major Klavus And The Galactic Rangers #1 next month… we learn about a clone program that keeps the Captain always ready for action… except the ship is so heavily damaged that all but two of the clones are destroyed, both are jettisoned and now they have to track them down and find which one is their missing Captain Victory.
The best way to describe the issue is a cross between classic Jack Kirby storytelling mixed with the frantic pace of Manga. The combined art of Nathan Fox, Jim Rugg and Ulises Farinas makes the story easier to follow but the quality never dips between the three. Fox tells us the main story, Rugg shows us the past while Farinas shows us the inside workings of Mr. Mind. The varying art definitely adds to the story.
The down side of the story being fast paced is that it's mostly action and reaction. We don't actually see the Mekkanos or get an idea of who the villains are. It's all about the event and the aftermath. It's a setup issue as most first issues are, but this one is done so frantically that you find yourself wanting to know what happens next.
Casey is doing a fine balancing act here, giving us a classic science fiction story while he also crafts a love letter to Kirby. This book is a good pick up for anyone who is a Kirby fan, a science fiction fan or who enjoyed Casey's Godland. It's fun, fast-paced and I am looking forward to issue 2.
For more on Captain Victory And The Galactic Rangers, click here.