Joe Hill the Graphic Novel Collection Review

Collecting the Joe Hill inspired and written comics The Cape, The Cape 1969, Thumbprint, Kodiak, and Wraith.

The Cape – script by Jason Ciaramella, art by Zach Howard, colors by Nelson Daniel, letters by Shawn Lee and Robbie Robbins. The Cape: 1969 script by Jason Ciaramella, art by Nelson Daniel, letters by Shawn Lee and Robbie Robbins. Thumbprint script by Jason Ciaramella, art by Vic Malhotra, letters by Neil Uyetake and Robbie Robbins. Kodiak script by Joe Hill and Jason Ciaramella, art by Nat Jones, colors by Jay Fotos, letters by Robbie Robbins. Wraith script by Joe Hill, art by Charles Paul Wilson III, colors by Jay Fotos, letters by Robbie Robbins. Published by IDW.

I already reviewed Wraith at this link, so I’m skipping those books for this review.

Kodiak is a one shot story about a bear. Not fun, but a quick good adventure of one man put into a bad situation who has to escape. A legend grows around his ordeal and one day he tells a version of that legend to some curious kids. Fun story, and despite the violence by far the lightest story in this collection.

Thumbprint was good but honestly my least favorite in the entire book. The ongoing War on Terror creates lots of PTSD for those who made it home and some left a bit of brain power and morality behind. There’s a bit of a whodunit mystery with plenty of horrible people to chose from. An all too graphic and disturbing finale left me wanting. I’m glad I read the story, it was interesting, but it left me with as much of an imprint as an R rated episode of NCIS.

The Cape, however. Holy shit! What is this?! One of the most disturbing, messed up, how could someone create this, yet riveting and amazing and I can’t wait to read more stories I’ve ever read. Then they throw in a prequel series!

Two brothers are pretending to be super heroes and one discovers that the blanket around his neck is actually allowing him to fly. Unfortunately though he falls, bad, and takes years to recover. He gets headaches, he has trauma, and he never really mentally recovers. As he gets older he becomes more depressed, isolated, and paranoid. Everyone is out to get him. Those that love him are trying to screw him over. His head becomes a more dangerous place and that’s when he rediscovers his childhood cape. Then the book gets nuts.

It is disturbing, it’s gross, it’s awful, and it is amazing. One of the best horror comics I’ve ever read. A villain with no limits, with no morals left to hold him back. He does horribly inventive things to people and I couldn’t stop reading, excited for what I would see next that I never saw before. The ending is immensely satisfying and what I wanted without knowing what I wanted.

Then, just when I think I know the story of the Cape, here comes the Cape:1969 series starring the father in Vietnam. Now all of my assumptions about the Cape are gone. What I thought might be true about the story and the powers are now in question because of the father’s story. Another grizzly horrible and again fascinating story of horror. It kept me guessing and kept me disgusted yet I had to know more. The ending, which only while I right this to I realize parallels between the two stories, hit me harder than the previous series did. I could see more stories for this family but as much as I would enjoy those I don’t know that I could take another series punching me with all of this trauma over a security blanket once again.

The Cape is the kind of story that makes you crave milk. Something was building up in my esophagus. My stomach felt nervous. My mouth went dry. The only cure is the most wholesome drink of them all, if only to act as a counter to a very unwholesome tale. In comparison, Wraith is a feel good story. Highly recommended to read the whole thing.

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