Captain Canuck #9 Review
Written by Kalman Andrasofszky
Art by Leonard Kirk, Neil Collyer
Colours by Irma Kniivila
Letters by Ryan Ferrier
Review by Billy Seguire
The third issue in The Gauntlet storyline of Captain Canuck already feels like it’s much deeper into the arc than it’s meant to be as Andrasofszky drives the story forward at a breakneck pace. Intricate webs of relationships between characters have been divided, and loyalties between all members of Equilibrium are duly strained, making this a tense issue loaded with character moments. Delays have unfortunately led to this issue falling behind in Chapterhouse continuity, making some of the final reveals fall flat. Taken on its own, however, Captain Canuck #9 is a satisfying chapter in the overall arc that helps set up where we need to be, while still delivering that necessary dose of Canadiana in the comics space.
There’s large-scale worldbuilding and lore unveiled at the beginning of this book. Learning about the Redcoats, a secret UK organization dating back to the colonial era, P.A.C.T. automatically seems to be reaching farther than it ever has before (even for a book whose villain comes from the far reaches of space) building a history that goes beyond Canadian borders to operate on a global scale. I love that this information is delivered by Garcia, a character with a much larger presence in Northguard, to further solidify the connections between these two books. There’s some great potential here with a centuries-old secret organization that has much to hide, and I can only hope to see some payoff to this when our own Redcoat has her story revealed.
As made apparent by the cover, the conflict between Redcoat and the Blue Fox is the centrepiece of this issue and the pair predictably go to all out war with each other in a conflict that’s finally reaching its head. Redcoat is cold. With her origins revealed at the start of the book, there’s a new understanding to how her character is going to function in the story, or at the very least a question being raised, and it’s surprising how different an approach she takes compared to anti-hero Blue Fox. Andrasofszky flips the tables on how I expected this issue to play out and Captain Canuck #9 is better for it. Canuck’s optimism is out of its depths here with gunfire and violent explosions bringing the book only just short of an unstoppable conclusion.
Unfortunately, while I was blown away by Mr. Gold and his golden monstrosities in Aleph, the previous Captain Canuck arc, the appeal of these monstrous villains is beginning to wear a bit thin. It seems like Andrasofszky knows this, and instead seems more interested in pitting the team against each other in a more nuanced conflict that relegates the gold to the background. Hammer was a good opponent for Phil Wise, but I’d still love for more villains opposing Captain Canuck to eventually make their way into regular rotation.
The art of Captain Canuck #9 is colourful and animated. Everything in this book is bright. There’s an appreciation for detail here without getting bogged down in realism. Faces are lined and battle-worn. This comes off as over-exaggerated at times, but I think it works in most scenes to emphasize the look of our square-jawed hero. This is also one of the most varied books in terms of characters and costumes, leading to a great variety in colours. The Captain Canuck series has an incredibly diverse team. Parminder is a bit shut out from this issue, but Blue Fox, Redcoat, Captain Canuck, and Kebec are out in full force to keep Equilibrium well represented.
Production delays unfortunately took the punch out of the b-plot in this issue. The big reveal at the end of the book, Phil Wise finally suiting up, just doesn’t have the impact it should have when we’re already two issues deep into Northguard. Strangely, one of my notes on Northguard #2 was that Wise wasn’t building much of a presence as a personality. You actually get a whole lot more of that here, with a deep sense of patriotism, along with his cunning and guile, working themselves organically into the story as Wise works to get the Northguard suit away from Michael.
I fell behind in Captain Canuck and am only just recently catching back up. While it works to pick up this book up if you don’t mind jumping in midway through the story, I would really recommend going back to pick up the issues you’ve missed, and be aware that Captain Canuck #9 takes place before the events of Northguard for the time being. You really get a sense that Chapterhouse wants to expand its universe here, and both of this week’s currently published books are working to achieve that goal, becoming broader in scope and more international to support that vision.
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