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Captain Defender: Genesis. By Todd S. Tuttle. Loves Park, IL: TNT Comics, 2000. 44p. $6.95 ($1.50 S/H).



Adults, teens, kids

A hideous baby is left at an orphanage in London. Though the boy, named Dexter Kyle, grows up sweet-natured, he is never adopted due to his looks. Nor, as an adult, is he able to easily make his way in the world. But one night, at Stonehenge, he helps rescue a tripartite alien from a disciple of Gaea. As a reward, the alien(s) grant(s) him amazing powers and a "perfect corporeal form to match [his] noble spirit" as long as he only uses his powers for good. Captain Defender is born!

The good Captain soon has reason to test his powers against the Omen, a group of four supervillains (Dark, Mindwarp, Nightring, and Werecat) who attempt to steal the Crown Jewels. After a short battle, Captain Defender is knocked out. Three of the baddies want to kill him; Nightring, who has been reluctant all along to be acting as a criminal, prevents them from doing so, causing the others to start attacking him. In the confusion, Captain Defender awakens and rejoins the battle; and when Werecat turns on him, she accidentally strikes her husband (Mindwarp) instead. Badly injured, they flee; so do Dark and Nightring, though Dark places a curse on the other three before leaving himself. Captain Defender is knighted for his heroism.

Mindwarp and Werecat teleport to an abandoned warehouse in New York, where Mindwarp enters a healing trance and Werecat takes care of Randy, their son. Captain Defender shows up to capture them; he and Werecat battle. With his mother losing, Randy manages to get Mindwarp out of his trance, and the psionic villian gets the drop on the hero and performs a mindswitch. Armed with both his psionic powers and Captain Defender's abilities, "Captain Mindwarp" ponders what to do with the helpless hero....

This crudely drawn but exuberant comic makes me nostalgic for the good ol' days of the Black-and-White Revolution, when it was a lot easier for people to find an outlet for their personal vision. Indeed, the short episodes that make up this book were first published in 1991-1993 in Gothic Light # 1-7. It's an unpretentious little book whose strengths are its dialogue and its character conceptions. I found the Omen characters interesting, especially the married Mindwarp and Werecat. Unlike many villains in mainstream superhero comics, they had personal lives, and I wanted to know what was going to happen to them. By contrast, Captain Defender is pretty colorless--even his alter ego, ugly little Dexter, is more interesting!

I hope there still is a market for this book; its art might be offputting to readers who prefer style over substance. But I enjoyed it more than slicker offerings from Marvel and DC. Recommended for comprehensive superhero collections and for older readers who remember the 1980s-early 1990s fondly.

Buy it directly from TNT Comics!

Copyright 2000, D. Aviva Rothschild


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