Creator/Writer: Johny Tay
Inker/Colorist: Giuseppe Pica
World Designer/Penciller: Stefano Realdini
WHAT IS IT?
Captain Gaia is a satirical superhero story about eco-conservationism and a message that is only growing more dire in today’s age. It’s a political parody in a time that has plenty of material for comedy.
It is, quite literally, a combination of Dragon Ball Z and Captain Planet, set in our world today.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Disturbed by the destruction of the Earth, Ayahuasca the Earthmother created five magic elemental bracelets and gave them to five special teenagers. These bracelets gave them magic abilities, but when they’re together is their true power: to summon Captain Gaia, a powerful being who defends the Earth.
That was years ago, though. Now a group of environmental activists have attempted to stop a Russian oil tanker in the middle of the ocean, something Tay says was inspired by a similar event that occurred in 2013. They’re captured, the Russians are being less than friendly, and, even worse, Putin himself is on board to take care of them personally.
The American government has gathered all of the now-adult wielders of the bracelets, so together they can summon Captain Gaia to aid the environmental activists…but they’re all different now. Nobody knows what to expect now that they’ve all gone off to live very different lives…and whether it’ll be enough to save the activists.
Putin’s presence in the book is hysterical. He’s written like a Bond villain and I couldn’t get over how funny that was.
The art is solid. The action scenes are really explosive and fun, but I really thought the first couple pages with the magic scenes were special. They’re crafted well and it captures the importance of the scene.
There’s no letterer credited, but I really felt like that was some of the best parts of the action sequences. The big, classic feel to the BOOMs sprawled over the pages was really fun for me.
The color work is great. It captures the magic of the book really well, while having a lot to offer in the ocean scenes. The summoning scenes in the book are really, really great and it’s hard to turn the page on them.
The color work uses a really bright palette, something that I think often goes underutilized in comics. Bright palettes really help pages stand out and it makes the whole book more fun to read.
The book’s overall self-awareness is what makes much of it fun. It really just wants to be an action packed romp with a satirical edge, and that’s what it is. The book wants to be a rollercoaster—something you just do for fun, which you can sell me on. I actually wish more comics embraced the tentpole/popcorn vibe that Captain Gaia does.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
The dialogue lettering has a lot of empty space to it, sometimes the actual text isn’t centered. It’s clunky, something that should be tightened up.
You don’t spend a ton of time with any particular characters. There’s so much happening with so many people that you don’t develop an attachment for anyone. This could be a consequence of just wanting to blow it out in a fun action book, but what makes action exciting are stakes. If I don’t care about the characters in danger, the stakes are low for me. While I can enjoy the action plenty, it could be enhanced by spending more time with characters.
I think the handling of transgender character Leticia is clumsy. I’m optimistic that this was an attempt at bringing representation to an underrepresented group, but the whole thing doesn’t land very neatly. Instead, it feels like it could be a joke, which I sincerely hope is not the case. I strongly advise the creators to communicate with the Transgender community going forward.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
I don’t even know what kind of mind wants to blend Captain Planet and Dragon Ball Z. Those are so far and away from each other! But the team pulls it off and the result is one hell of a ride.
Captain Gaia is a fun, fast-paced action comic. It’s big! It’s bombastic! It has Putin in it!
At the center of the book is a solid message that is only growing with more importance as well.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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