Love and Capes by Thom Zahler
rating: 4 of 5 stars
It had been a while since I checked back in on Thom Zahler's romantic superhero comedy, but I figured his impending arrival for Free Comic Book Day at my store (as well as the new FCBD issue) was as good a time as any to catch up.
Love and Capes is a sweet, funny take on superhero romance. At first glance, Love & Capes is "Lois & Clark" with a different hero, but it's actually considerably more than that, different enough to be new and fresh while familiar enough to make fans of the superhero genre, and romances within it, nod and grin in recognition.
The book opens with his hero (Crusader/Mark) revealing his secret identity to his girlfriend (Abby), and from there it becomes something much more like Tom Beland's "True Story Swear to God" than a Superman book. This is a relationship book, a rom-com, and the superhero elements are more for setting and flavor in that central premise, rather than an excuse for fights and tights. It's more important that Amazonia the super-woman is Crusader's ex than it is what they do fighting crime together. It's more important so see Crusader sipping coffee on a rooftop with Darkblade than to see them cracking bad guy skulls together. It's more important what the emotional fallout is from Abby's sister dating a supervillain than what plot the supervillain was up to.
Zahler structures the book so that it's an ongoing, developing story, but interestingly, each page is readable on its own as if it were a comic strip. It's a difficult balancing act that Zahler absolutely nails, so that the book is enjoyable both in smaller chunks and larger collections, like this one.
Definitely recommended for fans of relationship sitcoms, as well as those who like to see how the real world impacts superheroes, such as Marvels, Astro City, Powers, etc. Zahler's approach is fairly PG, hemming closer to the G rating, so Powers fans might not find it to have the bite they're looking for, but the books are definitely cousins in terms of their approach to the subject matter.
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