Review by Ian Keogh
In Shazam superhero comics have long had a youngster who adopts an adult form for superheroic deeds, but what about the reverse? Chris Vargas is 45, pot bellied with a dodgy knee and wondering if his job as a newspaper’s music editor is going to last, so when he can transform into teenage superhero Captain Kid, why would he stick with his middle-aged life? It’s the question reinforced through the first chapter when Chris discovers there’s something more to his powers than he previously knew. Actually, his life is a whole lot more complicated than he knew, as he learns when he’s approached by Helea, the woman who claims to have created him, and yet is confused as to the exact year.
Between them co-writers Tom Peyer and Mark Waid establish the set-up neatly, ensuring readers are sucked in by the mysteries, but then fail to deliver. The tone switches between standard superheroics and tongue in cheek, but there’s some fairly tragic backstory revealed in the third chapter. Despite that, we never really get to know or care for Chris and his mates, and Captain Kid just seems to blunder in everywhere and hope for the best. Time travel is on the agenda, and while that means Wilfredo Torres can supply a couple of neat illustrations, a desperate attempt to avoid the future never presses the buttons either. That’s largely because the instigator of that threat is a one-dimensional personification of crass coarseness, Donald Trump allowed to swear in public.
It’s quite the surprise that two experienced writers fumble the ball with what’s a good idea, but Captain Kid never catches fire. The ‘Volume 1’ subtitle proved too optimistic, and Captain Kid hasn’t been seen since.