Towards the end of his life, the legendary Jack Kirby created Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers for the defunct Malibu Comics. With a special blessing from the Kirby family, Dynamite obtained this characters and can create new stories with them. Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers #1 is the best drawn Dynamite book that I have read, and Fox, Rugg, and Farinas’ distinct art styles blend well. Joe Casey’s plot is fast-paced and filled with new characters, conflicts, and concepts. But he keeps the exposition to the minimum and immerses readers in this strange new world where Battlestar Galactica-style space battles can co-exist with a crime ridden New York City and a rusty planet with scrappy aliens and drones that is part Cursed Earth from Judge Dredd and part Tatooine. Captain Victory #1 is a good blend of high concept science fiction with a dash of dystopia and superheroics, and Casey and company have only scratched the surface of this new universe’s storytelling potential.
Captain Victory #1’s creative team uses storytelling shorthand to get readers “caught up” and in the middle of the action. Casey writes succinct profiles for the various Galactic Rangers with a world balloon of dialogue to get a feel for these character’s personalities. Nathan Fox bases the characters’ designs on various members of the animal kingdom and uses a thin inking style to give the opening space battle a looser feel. Letterer Simon Bowland is a big part of the storytelling as his huge, bold letters reveal the threat of Captain Victory’s arch-nemesis Mekkanos. Joe Casey uses minimal dialogue and captions and lets the chaotic, panel shattering space battle speak for itself as the Galactic Rangers scramble to put Captain Victory’s mind and memories into another body. Casey does a good job explaining the concept of transferring Captain Victory’s mind and memory to clone bodies in a short flashback scene drawn by Jim Drugg, whose clean, strong lines with speed lines and Kirby Krackles evoke the King of Comics’ work on Fantastic Four and New Gods. This scene is also emotionally powerful and has the best characterization of the issue as Captain Victory’s executive officer Klavus makes a very difficult choice.
Captain Victory #1 can be a little disorienting at times with three distinct plot lines established at the end of the issue, but Casey ties each thread to the central cloning concept as well as the idea of Captain Victory himself. The different settings add some mystery to his science fiction story, and main artist Nathan Fox and colorist Brad Simpson make sure that the digital colors don’t overwhelm the retro-style pencils. Simpson handles the variety of settings deftly from the dark, rainy Times Square to a trippy, blue light speed jump. The frantic pace doesn’t give readers time to get acquainted with the Galactic Rangers themselves, but Casey and Fox successfully establish a universe, plot, and the concept and character of Captain Victory while hinting at more adventures and battle to come.