Category Archives: the cape
Here we are with episode three of “The Cape,” and perhaps it’s time for a bit of credit where credit is due. The series was conceived by writer/producer Tom Wheeler and realized by action director Simon West among others. Either way, this is Tom’s baby, and quite an adventure. He’s built a continuity from the ground up, and inspired by the heroes of the pulps rather than anything contemporary, so far so good.
This episode in particular is notable, to me at least. It caught the attention of my mom-in-law, who liked it. She’s about as far from the comic book genre community target audience of this show as you can get, so extra points to Tom Wheeler and crew for nailing that elusive mainstream audience. Unlike “Heroes” before it, “The Cape” just might have a longer shelf life, especially if it continues like this.
I couldn’t wait for this episode because of the title. I remembered from the pilot that Kozmo was the name of the man who used the ‘magic’ cape before Vince Faraday. Come on, we all knew he’d come lurking back into the picture, for the first time, sooner or later.
It starts well, Gregor the Great, escapes from a Russian prison, establishing himself as a little bit Houdini, a little bit evil Mister Miracle, and we just know where he’s headed. Next comes the animated credit sequence, some of which seems to have been lifted from the online graphic novel, but it’s not, rather a montage of the actual The Cape comic book used in the show. When a bridge confrontation follows, right out of the beginning of Alec Baldwin’s The Shadow, I am once again hooked.
I am surprised when Gregor shows up and calls Max Malini Kozmo. It seems that Kozmo is a legacy, much like the Dread Pirate Roberts, and an identity that is passed down for decades. Max, after seeing what Gregor was capable of with the cape, decided to cut the legacy short. There is much made in this episode that the cape may really be magic, and that there may be more to this world than we thought.
Other highlights this time around include Orwell finally meeting the Carnival of Crime, which is interesting, especially seeing The Cape’s two worlds come together. There’s also the much un-subtle and too obvious reveal of who Orwell really is. I wish it had been done better.
Also on the side of not-done-well is the set-up for the duel of the cape between The Cape and Gregor. It is sudden and clichéd. I thought we were finally going to get to see the Carnival perform, and was looking forward to it too actually, and it becomes awkwardly a fight scene. There was definitely some clunky writing here, and I was disappointed. There’s still enough here to bring me back, hopefully this was just a fluke.
I have always believed that what was wrong with so much of the superhero genre in other media like television and film is the seeming need to retell the hero’s secret origin. Most times, unless the origin is part of the story told, it’s not needed. All you need is the understanding that this is the hero, he can do this, and here he is, roll with the story.
In running the second episode “Tarot,” immediately after the pilot and origin story of The Cape, I think NBC is hedging their bets and giving the audience the supposed best of both worlds. Here’s the secret origin, and here’s the first adventure. I’m down, or rather, seeing how much I liked the pilot, I’m still down.
The episode starts with a bang. The Cape visits Chess and runs afoul of a new villain guarding the big bad called Cain, with a tarot tattoo and a poisoned knife. Our hero barely escapes with his life and a little help from the beautiful Orwell, played by Summer Glau. She drops him off with the Carnival of Crime then runs. Shame, I was hoping to see them interact.
Max Malini, the ringleader of the circus, thinks Faraday has been reckless and careless, and so revokes the ‘magic’ cape from him. What follows is an amazing montage sequence where Faraday hones his abilities and continues his training. It’s not only the kind of thing you figure Batman does in between issues, but it shows the determination of our hero. I like it a lot.
There’s a lot to like here. This show just keeps getting better. There are hints of a larger hyper-reality mythology happening here, not only the concept of a ring of assassins called Tarot, but also the thinking that maybe The Cape isn’t the first superhero in this world. I also like the title cards that accompany each scene. I love Rollo played by Martin Klebba, who I had previously seen in a non-dramatic reality role as Amy Roloff’s friend in “Little People, Big World.” He’s rocking it here in “The Cape.” Summer Glau as well kills in this episode.
That’s two in a row, looking forward to more.
NBC has a lot invested in this mid-season replacement. A lot of the comic book community, the core target audience for NBC’s failed “Heroes,” laid the blame for its failure on the one missing element that makes superheroes superheroes – costumes. Almost in retaliation, along with the continuing successes of comics properties like “The Walking Dead,” “Human Target” and Marvel’s Avengers cartoon and movie franchise (so far at least), NBC wheeled out “The Cape,” a series whose very concept revolves around a superhero costume. The pilot first aired last night, along with the second episode, and both will re-air tonight. Here are my thoughts on the pilot.
We start in the hyper-reality of the fictional city of Palm City, part Miami Beach, part Los Angeles, but all comic book gimmick with a real world spin. Yep, it’s “Heroes” with costumes. Or rather at its start, super-villains with costumes – as a masked baddie, known as Chess, blows up the chief of police in a blast of special effects that our yet-to-be hero survives.
The title sequence is hardcore comics, paneled pages similar to the original “Wonder Woman” series with a darker edge. The music by Bear McCreary is very heroic, a close cousin to both Danny Elfman’s Batman and John Williams’ Star Wars, leaving no doubt as to what kind of television event we are watching – this is a superhero show.
Our hero, Vince Faraday, played by Australian actor David Lyons, seems to be the only honest cop in Palm City. With the death of the chief of police, the police force is taken over by the ARK Corporation – running into cliché number one. Evil corporations are so 1980s, especially in the comics. Cliché number two is not so bad, The Cape is actually the comic book hero idol of Faraday’s son. An inspired concept sprinkled into a set-up we can see coming a mile away. He’s going to take on this identity to impress his son, right?
As the secret origin story of our hero progresses, I found myself getting more involved despite my objections. There’s the mysterious and invasive blogger called Orwell. And a rogues gallery is being constructed, other than Chess, there is also the near-mutant Scales with reptilian skin. I don’t want to, but my fanboy groove is getting on.
My fanboy groove was so on that when the Carnival of Crime showed up, an old comic book gimmick that was old when Stan Lee drenched it up in the early days of Marvel Comics, and was ancient when it killed the last story arc of “Heroes,” I didn’t mind at all. Faraday is now believed dead, worse than that, the public believes him to be Chess, and he’s saved by this Carnival of Crime – led by Max Malini, played by Keith “I’m cooler than Samuel L. Jackson” David.
They are a little bit Circus of Crime in their prime, a little bit “Carnivale” and a whole lot of fun. I love these guys, and would watch the show just for them. It’s twenty minutes in, and I am hooked. When Faraday takes a cape and contrives to become The Cape, it’s a bit much, but I follow where I’m led. Then Malini gives him a ‘magic’ cape and trains him in the use of it, and I see Batman Begins flashbacks. Have I mentioned I’m hooked?
Faraday takes on Scales, sort of a Killer Croc light, played by Vinnie Jones, on his first mission, and runs into Orwell, played by genre favorite Summer Glau. With her addition to the cast, the team is complete, we have our players and Faraday becomes The Cape. The end of the show gives us a taste of how things will work to whet our appetite for the rest of the series.
I gotta say I was hesitant when I started watching, but now hope “The Cape” stays around for a while. Let’s hope the ratings are up and the quality only gets better. Check it out.