Writer Chip Zdarsky describes his new series Kaptara as “a science-fiction comedy series, where we can go crazy and do whatever we want… [like] the Island of Dr. Moreau meets the action figures you played with as a child.”
Interesting premise. Is it good?
Kaptara #1 (Image Comics)
A group of scientists are traveling on their way to Mars to work on a sort of terraforming project (at least from what I’ve gathered). However, something bad happens along the way, their ship is destroyed, and the crew is separated. One of the crew members, Keith Kanga, finds himself on a strange and unknown world.
Kaptara #1 is a pretty less than stellar start to a new series. It’s a comic with way too many aspects that are either average or detrimental; first and foremost, the story is a bit too standard. It feels cobbled together from several other sci-fi stories and series, without any real fun twists or takes on the familiar material or even that stellar of an execution. The comic doesn’t provide much setup or foundation for what kind of world the scientists are from, the specifics of their mission, or even that much in the way of characterization. The story just keeps jumping forward without much time for the audience to take things in and dwell on what is happening, really making everything feel rushed. It feels like this should have been split into two issues to really let this story better development.
Can he do as many as Ron Burgundy, though?
There’s also not much in the way of impressive characterization or development. Keith Kanga is the main protagonist and the only character given any real focus in Kaptara #1. Outside of being gay and joining this mission to start a new life, there’s really not much to him in terms of backstory. He often just comes across as whiny, a bit of a lazy jerk and one who really doesn’t seem to care that much about his comrades. I mean, he seems to forget about every single one of his comrades, some of whom may still be alive, when he encounters this new alien race at the end and doesn’t seem wonder if they are okay. Heck, he doesn’t even seem to show much concern about the Earth possibly being invaded and conquer by a space barbarian/dictator. I know he doesn’t have much fondness for the people he knew back on Earth, but what about everyone else? Other than that, there’s really no one else in the book at this point.
As I said, Zdarsky’s pacing is very fast and it does lead to the comic feeling like it’s rushing at points, especially with just how much actually happens in the book. The story structure is fine for the most part at least, with no real or obvious poor scene transitions; the dialogue is okay-ish, but isn’t particularly memorable nor does it leave that much of an impression (and a bit too wink-nudge-nudge with some of its lines). Outside of maybe one or two moments that I have half-smiled, there was nothing really all that funny or clever about the comic (remember, this is by Chip Zdarsky who is the artist of Sex Criminals).
The artwork is by Kagan McLeod and it’s alright. It’s not particularly stellar or outstanding, but it does the job. The characters look fine, though at points exhibit odd musculature/very lanky bodies, though the facial expressions remain decent. The layouts are okay, most of the story flows well from panel to panel, and the designs of the sci-fi elements are interesting for the most part. The coloring is nice too, maybe a bit too washed out in some areas, but can be appealing at points. There’s no real big problems with the art in the end ultimately.
Is It Good?
Kaptara #1 is a pretty forgettable and lackluster start to a new series. The story isn’t all that interesting and is messy, the main character isn’t compelling or even all that likeable at points, and the writing is just in need of a lot more polish. If you were expecting a fun, feel-good comic or even something as outrageous as Sex Criminals but in space, you’ll be let down. It remains to be seen whether or not I can recommend this series.