Joe Hill’s THE CAPE

Every little boy dreams about putting on a cape and soaring up, up, and away… but what if one day that dream were to come true? Eric was like every other eight-year-old boy, until a tragic accident changed his life forever. The Cape explores the dark side of power, as the adult Eric – a confused and broken man – takes to the skies… and sets out to exact a terrible vengeance on everyone who ever disappointed him.

This is a very interesting concept. The Cape was a short story written by author Joe Hill which appeared in his anthology 20 Century Ghosts. IDW then published a comic-book adaptation, written by Jason Ciaramella and drawn by Zach Howard. This one-shot apparently sold well-enough that IDW later published an original follow-up in the form of a 4-issue miniseries, with Ciaramella and Howard returning as creative team, along with Nelson Daniel on colors. This edition collects the one-shot and the miniseries together.

Warning, there will be *some* spoilers…

This story takes place in the real world, where there are no superheroes. In the first issue, we’re introduced to a young man named Eric. He grew up raised by his single mother with his older brother Nicky, after Eric and Nicky’s father was went missing in Vietnam. As a little boy Eric had a lucky blanket, which he always slept with. As he got older the blanket faded, but his mother kept it sewed together for him, adding a lightning bolt symbol on it, as well as his father’s old Marine patch, and Eric used to wear it like a cape. One day, while playing superheroes with Nicky, Eric falls from out of a high tree. Except, as we see, for several seconds after he falls of the branch that he was standing on, Eric, while wearing his cape, actually floated in the air, until the cape came loose, and that’s when he feel. He split his head open but survived after several operations, but he suffers from severe migraine headaches for the rest of this life. Then the book fast forwards over the next several years. As a teen he meets a girl named Angie through Nicky, he and her hit it off and start dating, even becoming lovers. But Eric has a lack of drive and ambition that holds himself back. After High School Angie goes to Nursing School, while Eric puts off applying for college and ends up becoming a pizza delivery man. After Angie graduates Nursing School and becomes a nurse, she and Eric move in together, with her paying most of the bills. He gets a DUI one night and loses his job, spending most of days playing video games. This leads to fights with Angie, she moves out, and he’s forced to move back in with his mother. One night, two months later, while sleeping he discovers his old blanket in basement, wraps it around him to sleep and ends up floating. Wearing the blanket as a cape again, Eric takes to the skies, flying around at night. He flies to where Angie is staying and wakes her up, she’s in shock, but he picks her up and flies her around the city, like magic. It’s so romantic…


And then Eric drops her ass, letting her fall from the sky to her death on the ground below!

Damn that was an effed up ending (btw did I mention that Joe Hill is the son of Stephen King?), and I loved it! Quite an unseen twist.

The sequel miniseries shows the aftermath. Angie was found dead, having fallen from 12 stories, the police don’t know how, but they do suspect Eric’s involvement. Well, Eric has a unique idea to get the police off his back. Using his cape, he flies to the local zoo, grabs a grizzly bear and flies over the two detectives who are investigating him and drops the bear down on them so it can maul them to death.

And that’s just in the first few pages. For the rest of the series, it just get darker, deadlier, and bloodier. I don’t want to spoil how this turns out, but Eric basically snaps and goes on a killing spree with even his own mother and his brother Nicky in his sights. And with his flying ability, Eric has many creative ways to kill (wait until you see what he does with a chainsaw). As the body count rises, can anyone stop him before it’s too late? THAT’S WHAT YOU NEED TO READ THIS TO FIND OUT!!!

Great book, great series, I love the way Ciaremella writes Eric as a character, he seems like a good-natured but lazy fellow, and watching as he devolves into a madman is fascinating. Right up to the last page you’re still wondering if it’s possible for him to be redeemed, and that keeps you hooked. The miniseries also has many flashbacks to Eric and Nicky’s childhood and his past with Angie that helps flesh out the background of the characters and their story from the original one-shot. And I love artwork of Zach Howard, he helps give this story a “real world” feel to it.

Chacebook rating: FIVE STARS

available on comixology

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