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Comic Review


Captain N: The Game Master, Volume #1, Issue #1


Saturday, August 10, 2002, 9:00 AM - Saturday, August 17, 2002, 5:53 PM


On Friday, July 26, I lost what I had written of my review of the Season 1 episode, "Nightmare on Mother Brain's Street". It sucks, cuz I had around half the episode reviewed. I'll have to rewruite it someday, but today is not that day. Today, we'll be exploring a whole different territory.

Today, we look at the Captain N comic books.

First, I'll give you the background info. Back in 1990, before they created their own universe, Valiant got a license from Nintendo to produce Nintendo-based comic books. They created the following titles:

Captain N: The Game Master
Game Boy
The Legend of Zelda
Nintendo Comics System
Super Mario Bros.
Adventures of the Super Mario Bros.
Nintendo Comics System Featuring

The first 5 titles started in 1990. The latter 2 titles started in 1991. In 1990, a hardbound book called "The Best of the Nintendo Comics System" was put out. It contained reprints of what they felt were the best stories.

Since my website deals with the Captain N and Zelda series, I'll be reviewing those series only plus the additional Captain N, Zelda, and related stories appearing in the other titles.

Each Captain N and Zelda story was 10 pages long. In addition, there were some short stories that were 1-2 pages long.

The paper was of a better grade than that used for typical comics, and they had cardboard covers. These books were high-quality and usually cost $1.95 each. Keep in mind that this was back in 1990-1991.

The comics were printed in low quantities, and the Captain N and Zelda titles didn't last for more than 5 issues each. This is a shame, because, as far as I'm concerned, the comic books stories were the superior tellings of the Captain N and Zelda sagas.

Since these stories are rather short, and since I don't feel like creating new files for reviews of the short stories, I'll be reviewing one full issue per review.

It is early 1990. The Captain N TV series has completed its first season and is likely entirely in repeats by this point.

Valiant has received a license from Nintendo only, not other companies. Therefore, only comics based on games created by Nintendo could be produced, and only characters created by Nintendo could be included.

So, Simon Belmont, the Count, Mega Man, Dr. Wily, and Dr. Wright are gone. So are the entire worlds of Castlevania and Megaland. The N-Team (the comics usually use a hyphen in the team's name) consists of Kevin Keene, Princess Lana, Kid Icarus, Duke, and...Samus Aran! Yeah! Samus is in the comics! And she's a babe! Tall; long, blonde hair; green eyes; and tough! I'll get more into Samus later.

The bad guys include Mother Brain, King Hippo, and the Eggplant Wizard. Also included is Uranos, a demigod from the game, Kid Icarus. He's based on Uranus, Greek god of the sky. Uranos is by far the most serious of the bunch. He wears brown clothes and sandals; he has a thick head of hair; mustache, and beard; and he's very muscular.

All of the characters generally appear as they do in the cartoon series, though the drawing style is a bit different. I guess the similarities were intentional in order to make them more identifiable to fans of the show, but that's only a guess. Oh, well.

For those of you who haven't seen it, in Nintendo Power, Volume 8, there was an "NES Journal" article on the upcoming Captain N TV series. At that point (or so Nintendo Power claimed), it was called "Captain N: Game Master". I'm going to type up the full text of the article for you here:

Last issue, we told you about a television program based on the Mario Bros. There is another television show coming your way based on Nintendo and licensee characters. It's titled "Captain N: Game Master" and concerns 15 year old Kevin Keene, a high school student [and Power Player] from Northridge, California, who is magically summoned into his television to Nintendoland. Princess Lana who rules Nintendoland had gathered together the Forces of Light, the heroes of the different areas which comprise Nintendoland. Together they invoke the Power of the Orb and summon a champion from another world-Kevin-to fight the League of Darkness. As Kevin is pulled into his TV set, his loyal dog, Duke, faithfully follows his master and is also transported to Nintendoland.

Among the characters Kevin meets, Power Players will recognize Simon Belmont {Castlevania), Pit {Kid Icarus), and Mega Man, as well as the Eggplant Wizard {Kid Icarus), King Hippo (Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!), and the cunning Dr. Wily {Mega Man). However, we suspect Captain N will find his greatest challenge with the diabolical Mother Brain (Metroid).

This program, new to NBC's Saturday morning fall schedule, is produced by those wizards at DIC who were responsible for the wonderfully successful "Pee Wee's Playhouse" and the cartoon version of "Alf", as well as "The Super Mario Bros. Super Show."

The show is scheduled to start September 9. Check your local listings.

Also included are concept drawings of Kevin, Lana, Mega Man, Duke, and Mother Brain. They look the same as they will on the show, except the "N" on Kevin's jacket is yellow instead of black. Lana holds a scepter in her right hand, obviously dropped from the final series.

The information from this article is presumably also in the writer's bible. Valiant must've read either the bible or this article, because a lot of these concepts appear in the comics. The good guys are called the Forces of Light (also the N-Team, like on the show), the bad guys are called the League of Darkness, and Kevin is said to be from Northridge - months before it was established on the show. The comics stick to the cartoon's naming of the universe as Videoland, and they use the Ultimate Warp Zone (cartoon) as opposed to the Power of the Orb.

Enough background info for now. Let's take a look at Captain N: The Game Master, Volume #1, Issue #1.

Cover: A very nice picture of the N-Team running forward against a yellow background. Kevin has his Zapper drawn. His hair is a lighter brown than on the show. It also seems longer. His Power Pad lacks detail. It's white with the cross key and the two red A and B buttons. The "N" on his jacket is black, like on the show. Lana is clutching her scepter. The glass is clear instead of the purple in the article. Her hair is a lighter brown than on the show. Her boots appear to be a lighter blue than on the show. The pink on her shirt (from the show) is more like purple here. Kid Icarus is holding his bow in his right hand. He's wearing a yellow toga as opposed to the white on the show. The red in the the Captain N logo has been replaced with a light blue. The blue beams have been replaced with a light brown. The "THE" is blue. "GAME MASTER" is white with a blue border. I really like this cover. Lana looks tough and sexy. Too bad Samus isn't on the cover, but I guess they wanted to keep it a surprise.


Story title: WELCOME TO VIDEOLAND (these are the narrator's first words in the Season 1 theme song)
Writer: George Caragonne
Other staff: Don Hudson, Jose Marzan, Ken Lopez, John Cebollero
Length: 2 pages
Reviewed: Saturday, August 10, 2002, 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM (including the introduction to the comics)

Appears in:
Nintendo Comics System, Volume #1, Issue #1, April 1990
Captain N: The Game Master, Volume #1, Issue #1, May 1990
Nintendo Comics System, Volume #1, Issue #2, July 1990
The Best of the Nintendo Comics System, 1990
Adventures of the Super Mario Bros., Volume #1, Issue #1, February 1991

This is the comic book's equivalent of "Kevin In Videoland". Too bad it's only 2 pages long. I'll note the differences between this story and that on the show.

There is no dialogue, just narration. The first panel shows Princess Lana, standing in the Palace of Power with her scepter, watching monitors. The narration starts, "Here, Kid Icarus flies against the forces of the underworld! Here, space hunter Samus Aran battles the hordes of Metroid. Here, Little Mac punches out his opponents on his way to the title!" Lana also sees the outside of the Palace of Power on a fourth monitor. There's no sign of a siege. Kid Icarus isn't named Pit like in the games. He's named Kid Icarus like on the show. Oh, well. He's shown fighting Eggy outside in the daytime, not in the underworld.

The narration continues, "And here, the beautiful Princess Lana rules the Palace of Power in the absence of her father, Good King Charles." Well, I suppose, but couldn't it say that she rules Videoland?

The narration continues, "Once, there was a balance to all things in Videoland. For each world there was a hero, and for each hero, an arch-villain. Mother Brain changed all that, by uniting the forces of evil on all worlds to form a single deadly alliance that nothing could stop! On that day, the League of Darkness was born." Ooh! The League of Darkness is deadly! This is good! Deadly is good! It doesn't say how long the League has been around. We see Mother Brain contacting Uranos, Donkey Kong, the Eggplant Wizard, and King Hippo on a viewscreen.

The next panel shows Lana and Kid Icarus by a pedestal in a room in the Palace. The room is colored in shades of brown (and perhaps dark gold for the floor). I like the shadows of Lana's legs and scepter on the floor. Nice detail. A warp opens. It's odd that Lana and Kid are facing away from the warp.

The narration continues, "Mother Brain had tipped the balance of power. A champion was needed to unite the Forces of Light! The Ultimate Warp Zone found him...in Northridge, California." So, they call it the Ultimate Warp Zone, not the Ultimate Warp or the Orb. Oh, well.

The next panel shows Kevin sitting in his bedroom. It's animated, not live-action. Kevin is sitting in a nice blue rolling chair behind a brown desk. The desk has drawers. There's a TV on the desk with a VCR on top of it. Also on the desk is an NES control deck. Kevin is playing what looks to be Super Mario Bros. with a standard NES controller. There's also a book on the desk.

Duke is standing to Kevin's left with a purple rectangular object in his mouth. Wrapped candy bar?

The walls in the room are white. In front of the desk is a coat rack with a blue shirt or coat on it. There's a banner, a poster of Mario giving a peace sign, and two notes (or something). There's a closed brown door. It's either the closet or the room's exit. There's a poster of a basketball (or a beachball) on it.

The narration continues, "Kevin Keene the hottest Nintendo power player on the face of the Earth!" That contradicts what we'd learned of Kevin's abilities (or lack thereof) in Season 1 of the show.

The next panel shows Kevin being pulled into his TV set by energy - but legs first. The narration continues, "Kevin alone had the knowledge of the video game world needed to defeat Mother Brain. Kevin would no longer be just another high school kid. He was now..." In the next panel, it shows the Captain N logo (in black and white). Neat. =)

This panel shows Kevin, Lana, and Samus running and Kid Icarus flying. Kevin is firing his Zapper (with his left hand, as opposed to the cover). A blue beam is coming out of his Zapper. A pink beam is coming out of Lana's scepter. A pink beam is coming out of Samus' arm cannon (mounted on the right arm of her armor). Kid Icarus is holding his bow in his left hand and has just fired an arrow.

The narration concludes, "Welcome to Videoland, Kevin. Where the games are real and the fate of the universe is in your hands. Now you're playing with power!"

Man, only one story, and already I'm impressed! George Caragonne has written a 2-page story that tells you just enough to understand the later stories. The artwork is great, too.

The next story that I'll cover is not in Captain N #1. It appears in Nintendo Comics System, Volume #1, Issue #1. Since that issue has a date of April, 1990, that makes the next story the actual first 10-page Captain N comic book story.


Story title: ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS SWELL (they simply added the S, obviously)
Writer: Brian Leys
Other staff: Art Nichols, Ken Lopez, John Cebollero, Sean Grissom
Length: 10 pages
Reviewed: Tuesday, August 13, 2002, 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Appears in:
Nintendo Comics System, Volume #1, Issue #1, April 1990
The Best of the Nintendo Comics System, 1990

The N-Team is in a part of Kongoland called The Valley of 5,000 Holes. Kevin is zapping giant earthworms.

Interesting notes:

Kid Icarus' homeworld is named Mount Olympus, not Mount Icarus. Better, I guess, but still not completely accurate.

Logo: black border and "Captain N" text, red background, yellow beam, black "THE", red "GAME MASTER" with black border

Kid Icarus calls Kevin "Captain N" as opposed to "Kevinicus" on the show.

Kevin's Zapper beams are yellow.

In this story, as in "Welcome To Videoland", Lana's shirt is definitely purple as opposed to the cover of Captain N #1. Her boots are a darker blue. The pink on her bracelets is pruple. These aren't errors. It simply means that Lana actually has more than just one outfit. =)

Great line: Kid Icarus: "Boy, Captain N, I'd sure hate to see the fish they catch with these worms!"

They run away. Kid Icarus mentions that Kevin hustled them through a "warp portal" so fast that he didn't have time to tell them where they were going. Kevin replies that he's hurrying because he thinks he's found the key to winnning the war with the League of Darkness once and for all.

Lana spots a clearing, and they go there. Kevin says it looks like the earthworms won't follow them. Lana says, "But they've got us surrounded."

Dumb line: Kid Icarus: "Good thinking, Captain. You've got us right where they want us." Uh, Kid, Lana was the one that spotted the clearing. Although, to be fair, maybe Kevin was the one that suggested they go there.

Great lines:
Kevin: "At least I've bought us a few moments to think."
Lana: "You mean to think about being eaten."

The look on Lana's face when she says this is priceless. She's obviously not happy with Kevin.

Kid asks Kevin to explain what they're doing here. Kevin says he was going through some ancient scrolls he found in the Palace of Power and found the story of the Well of Despair. The scroll said the greatest weapon of all could be found at the bottom of the well. We see Donkey Kong, the Eggplant Wizard, Mother Brain, Uranos, and King Hippo in Mother Brain's lair as Kevin says that it's his big chance to beat "Motherbrain" and her League of Darkness. They can free Videoland in no time.

They start running again.

Lana says she's heard of that well and its legendary weapon, but she warns Kevin that any weapon that powerful could do untold harm if it got out of control. Kevin asks if Lana wants to win the battle and see her father again. Lana starts to answer, but Kid Icarus says that most of these legendary wells have a big nasty guardian.

A giant worm-ogre shows up, and Kevin zaps it. He uses his "Power Belt". First he presses the Pause button to stop the axe. Then he jumps and punches the worm-ogre.

They find the well, which is a giant staircase descending into the ground. They go down. For some odd reason, Kevin picks Lana up and jumps down onto the steps, then he lets her go, and they run down. What was the point?

Great line: Kid Icarus: "You want me to scout up ahead--I mean down ahead?"

Kevin advises that they stay together. Lana wonders if the well has a bottom.

Kid Icarus whispers to Kevin that they find a portal home. Kevin whispers back that they're not leaving. He's worried about what the Princess would think of him if they turned back now.

An hour later, they're pretty far down, and it's getting kind of dark. Kevin tells "Icarus" to shoot some of his flame arrows to give them light. He tells the Princess that she and Duke be sure and stick close to the wall.

Suddenly, a monsterous hand reaches out at Kevin's neck. Lana calls the creatures "toad-imps" and says she forgot they live in wells. The creatures now seem to be below Kevin and Lana, not near them. Kevin suggests they retreat, but Kid Icarus points out that the stairs have been disappearing behind them.

Great line: Kid Icarus: "If this were a wishing well I'd wish I was out of it."

Kevin says he can't use his Zapper, because it might destroy the stairway. He asks Kid Icarus if he has any arrows for a situation like this. Kid Icarus holds his bow in his left hand and fires some arrows.

Lana says, "Your arrows didn't do any good, Kid. You just made them more angry!" Kevin points out that the toad-imps ran right by them and are now pushing each other off the top of the stairs. Kid says they were Arrows of Ambition, making the toad-imps climb over anybody to get to the top.

Kevin starts having doubts about this mission. Lana says the power of the well is making them despair. Kevin says, "No weapon is worth risking my friends lives over." Kid Icarus assures them that he can fly them out one at a time.

Great line: Kid Icarus: "Flight leaving now for well's rim and points beyond. Climb aboard!"

Kid Icarus provides some band or belt, which Lana gets onto. Kid starts flying up, but then they both fall.

Kevin asks Duke was they're going to do. Duke barks. Kevin takes it as meaning they have to go on. Maybe they're find Kid and Lana when they reach the bottom.

Much later, they've been walking for hours. Suddenly, a hologram of Mother Brain appears.

Great line: Kevin: "Oh, no! It's Motherbrain!!! I knew we were getting low, but this is the pits!"

Mother Brain says, "I've waited a long time to get here." Shouldn't there be a "for you" in that sentence?

Mother Brain gets rid of the "four-legged flea taxi" by having the stairs disappear. Duke falls down. Heh, heh.

Great line: Kevin: "You clammy clump of crummy cables--! You give me back my dog."

Mother Brain says Kevin will have to jump in after him. She says, once you enter the Well of Despair, there's no way out. You just spiral down forever, because this well has no bottom. It's the ultimate trap, and they'll never escape it.

Great lines: Kevin: "I'll never give up. I don't care how deep this well is. I don't care how many dangers you throw in my way. I'll save the Princess, I'll save Kid Icarus, and I'll save my Duke. I'll beat you if it takes forever."

Kevin then jumps down.

Suddenly, there's a zap, and Kevin, Lana, Duke, and Kid Icarus are back outside the well. Kevin wonders what happens. Lana exclaims, "Thank goodness!" Duke barks. Kid Icarus exclaims, "Thank Zeus!" Wow! A Captain N character thanks a god! A pagan god at that! Cool!

A green lizard-like man in a robe appears and introduces himself as the Guardian of the Well. His scepter moves from his right hand to his left hand in the next panel. Well, he might have moved it. He explains that he was the worm-ogre. He says that Kevin defeated Mother Brain when he showed courage even at the brink of despair. That is the test of the well. He adds, "By the way, Captain N, you pack a mean left hook." Heh, heh.

Lana asks if courage is the great weapon to be found in the well. The Guardian says no, courage is the key, but the greatest weapon of all is patience. That is the secret to be found in the well, that persistence will always triumph over despair.

Kid Icarus asks, "So, all things come to he who waits?" The Guardian says that's clever and uses his scepter to open a warp home. There's a blue building on the other side of the warp. Part of the Palace of Power?

Great lines:
Lana: "Captain N, does this mean that victory must wait until its time?"
Kevin: "Why not? After all, Videoland wasn't built in a day!"

That's the end of the story.

More interesting notes:

Kevin fires his Zapper right-handed in this story.

Kid Icarus not once says "Icus" in this story! Yay!

It's nice to see that Donkey Kong, in the one panel that he appears in, is nowhere near as big as he is in the cartoon.

Mother Brain is consistantly spelled "Motherbrain" in this story. I'll have to keep track of when she's spelled each way.

Despite its flaws (Kevin carrying Lana, a punctuation error, the jungle look of Kongoland, etc.), this is an enjoyable story. It's lesson of having patience / no quick fixes is good and a lot more valuable than most of the lessons given on the show. Lana has a wry sense of humor. No Samus yet, but it's still good.

Now, we turn back to Captain N #1. This story appears right after the reprint of "Welcome To Videoland".


Story title: THE FRUIT AND VEGETABLE WAR
Writer: Brian D. Leys
Other staff: Mike Chen, P. Zorito, Jade, John Cebollero
Length: 10 pages
Reviewed: Wednesday, August 14, 2002, 9:00 AM - 11:19 AM

Appears in:
Captain N: The Game Master, Volume #1, Issue #1, May 1990
Adventures of the Super Mario Bros., Volume #1, Issue #3, April 1991

Kevin and Kid Icarus are flying towards a floating island. It's Cornucopia, the fabled island of plenty, one of the most beautiful, peaceful places in all Mount Olympus. Kevin is using mechanical wings to fly. I guess the N-Team doesn't have the Warp Wagon in this universe.

Kevin's wings are sputtering, pinging, and chugging. It seems that he's running out of gas (or whatever fuel the wings use).

Great lines:
Kevin: "I swear, this is the last time I fly tourist class."
Kid Icarus: "Don't worry, I won't let my favorite hero down, heh, heh!"

Kid explained why they're there: "We're trying to raise an army to battle the Legion of Darkness, right? Well, an army travels on its stomach and Cornucopia has every thing in the way of food." Uh, yeah, great logic there...

Suddenly, two green flying creatures, Pear-Odactyls, with guns fly right behind them. They're the Air Force. Kid Icarus exclaims, "Great Zeus!!"

The Pear-Odactyls fire grapeshot at them. Kid Icarus is hit. One of the Pear-Odactyls grabs onto him and starts flying away with him. Kevin decides to fire a warning with his Zapper to scare them off, but, before he can, the other Pear-Odactyl grabs hold of him. It takes off Kevin's mechanical wings and drops them.

Great lines: Kevin: "Hey, wait a minute-what are you doing back there? Oh, that."

Kevin started falling towards the ground as the Pear-Odactyl laughs. He uses the "Jump button" on his "Power Belt" to make it to a tree." Kevin pressed the Jump button. "Whoaa! Yeoow!" He falls through the apple tree and lands on the ground. Apples start falling, and some hit him on the head.

Great lines: Kevin: "Now, I know how Isaac Newton felt. So far, this place is the pits."

Suddenly, Kevin notices a very large group of Fruitopians behind him. He tries to make conversation: "Hi, guys. Peachy day, huh?"

The leader yells. "Speak, stranger! Why do you block the path of Atilla, the Honeydew, General of the Armies of Fruitopia!" Atilla, the Honeydew? This is getting just a tad silly.

Kevin explains: "Well, you see, I just kind of dropped in. My name is Kevin Keene, but here in Videoland, they call me Captain N."

General Atilla has apparently heard of Captain N and becomes friendly. Apparently, Mount Olympus is in a "far corner of Videoland", whatever that means.

General Atilla assumes that Kevin's there to help them in a war that they're fighting with the "pernicious produce of Vegetania". He explains that, last week, they raided Fruitopia and took prisoner "our beloved tomatoes. We have sworn to make salad of them!"

Some Fruitopians pick Kevin up and carry him.

Kevin asks why the tomatoes were kidnapped. General Atilla explains, "They insist that tomatoes are vegetables, and belong in Vegetania! Isn't that the biggest crock of compost you've ever heard?" General Atilla actually starts crying and asks for Kevin's help.

Kevin agrees to help, because "that's what being a hero is all about, right? Geez, I thought everybody knew that tomatoes are fruit. Oh, well...on to Vegetania."

Meanwhile, in Vegetania, Kid Icarus is brought before the throne of King Pumpkin. There was a pickle standing to his right and left, holding spears.

Great lines:
King Pumpkin: "See here now, Colonel Corn, what's all this rhubarb?"
Colonel Corn: "The rhubarb are all out on field maneuvers, Sire. What we have here is a spy."

Kid Icarus denies that and explains how the Pear-Ocactyls "kid-napped" (ha) him, but, "while their stems were turned", he pulled out his bow and shot them with Arrows of Affection. While the two of them were "pear-ing off", he headed for the ground to get his bearings. That's when "these two prospective pickles" jumped him. He finishes with "And that's the truth, Your Ripeness."

Great lines:
King Pumpkin: "Release him, you turnip-brains. Don't you realize this is Kid Icarus, First Hero of Mount Olympus?"
Kid Icarus: "I am? Oh, yeah..."

King Pumpkin explains the situation and concludes, "...and now that the tomatoes are here among us vegetables, where they belong, we need your help to fight off the dastardly Fruitopians! Will you aid our cause?"

Kid Icarus salutes and agrees, because he's "always ready to do my part for justice." He flies off.

King Pumpkin loves young heroes, because they're "always so willing to fight."

Suddenly, the Eggplant Wizard, his "trusted advisor", arrives to "a-peel" to his wisdom.

King Pumpkin believes that the Eggplant Wizard is the "friend of all vegetables".

The Eggplant Wizard gets an evil smile on his face. He looks evil. This is a sharp contrast to the goofy, clumsy Eggy that we see on the cartoon series.

Eggy explains that Captain N has joined with the fruits to oppose them and convinces King Pumpkin to send Kid Icarus into battle against him. He adds, "By the way, Your Ripeness, you should get yourself a new yoga. That old one is making you look rather seedy. Seedy, get it? Heh, heh!"

The Pumpkin King doesn't think that the Eggplant Wizard's joke is that amusing and begins thinking rather unpleasant thoughts about him (in the usual scribbles used to indicate curses in comic books).

Soon, in Plentiopolis, home of the Cornucopian farmers, both the fruits and the vegetables are attacking the city and setting fire to it. The citizens are running away in terror.

A distance away, General Atilla is looking through a pair of binoculars. He asks Corporal Kiwi how the battle goes. He replies not too well. General Atilla is confident, though, because their "champion", Kevin, is on the attack.

Kevin is accompanied by Lt. Lime and has doubts over whether he's doing the right thing. Suddenly, Kevin is struck in the butt by an arrow, which makes him jump into the air. Kid Icarus has shot Kevin with his Arrow of Itchiness "for your own good". Kevin starts scratching himself. Kid Icarus explains that it'll keep Kevin busy until "you come to your senses. But don't worry, you're still my favorite hero." He then flies away.

Kevin presses the Jump button on his Power Belt to soar up after him and says, "Kid, you're fighting on the wrong side." They argue about who the tomatoes belong to. Kevin says tomatoes are really fruit, adding "I learned it in school!" Kid Icarus says they really don't study tomatoes much in Olympian schools."

Kevin and Kid Icarus landed on the ground, with the Fruitopians behind them and the Vegetanians in front of them. Kevin and Kid learn that the Eggplant Wizard told King Pumpkin that tomatoes are vegetables. Kevin is surprised. General Atilla dismisses Eggy's authority.

Kevin says, "If that evil eggplant is behind this war, there must be a really rotten reason!" Kid Icarus guesses why Eggy started the war.

Meanwhile, back in Fruitopia, the Eggplant Wizard is in the legendary Temple of Fruit in front of a huge statue. In the statue's forehead glows the fabled Royal Raspberry. The guards are all busy fighting in the war. Eggy begins to climb up the statue. We learn that Mother Brain had sent Eggy to sabotage the food supply of Mount Olympus, but Eggy had plans of his own. Once the Raspberry is his, he'll control all fruits, just as he now controls all vegetables. He concludes, "Today, the veggies and fruits...tomorrow, trees, flowers, grass...even fungus! Soon I'll dominate all plant life! Boy, wait'll the yuppies see what I charge for a watercress sandwich!"

The Eggplant Wizard has his right hand on the Royal Raspberry when a voice yells out to him. We don't see if it's Kevin or Kid Icarus. Eggy turns his head, looks down, and says, "No, not you-not now. Now when my plans are so close to fru-it-shun."

Back in Plentiopolis, General Atilla and King Pumpkin are still arguing with each other. Just then, Kevin and Kid Icarus arrive with the Eggplant Wizard. Kevin's holding the Eggplant Wizard to make sure he doesn't take off.

The Eggplant Wizard admits that he "told a little fib" and says, The truth is...tomatoes are fruit."

King Pumpkin and General Atilla make up, the war ends, and the Fruitopians and the Vegetanians walk away together as friends.

Kid Icarus offers his right hand to "Cap" and apologizes for shooting him with that Arrow of Itchiness. He adds, "I should have trusted you. From now on I'll try to stem my aggressions."

Kevin shakes Kid Icarus' hand and says, "Yeah, and I'll be sure to look before I leaf."

Interesting notes:

No Captain N logo.

Kevin's Zapper beams are blue, and he fires with his right hand.

Kid Icarus holds his bow in his left hand in one scene and right hand in another.

Mother Brain may or may not be spelled "Motherbrain". It's too close to call.

This was a very silly story with lots of fruit and vegetable puns (more than I've mentioned here). Still, I must give it credit for having Kevin and Kid Icarus actively seek recruits to help them in their battle against the League of Darkness. The N Team never did that in the cartoon series.

The Eggplant Wizard was on a mission to sabotage the food supply of Mount Olympus. That's actually a good decision on Mother Brain's part if she's trying to take over Videoland. Eggy has secret plans of his own. Good.

Personally, I would have placed "All's Well That Ends Swell" in Captain N #1 and relegated "The Fruit and Vegetable War" to Nintendo Comics System #1. There's no Samus yet. Lana doesn't even appear. Duke doesn't either, though, so that's a plus. Kid Icarus isn't my favorite character, but I suppose they need a Kid Icarus vs. the Eggplant Wizard story for completion, and it's good that they got it out of the way early.

Overall, this is an enjoyable story. Not the best, but it ain't bad either.


Story title: Every Dog Has Its Day
Writer: Brian D. Leys
Other staff: Rodney Ramos, Art Nichols, Don McKinnon, John Cebollero
Length: 2 pages
Reviewed: Thursday, August 15, 2002, 9:00 AM - 12:22 PM (including most of "Money Changes Everything")

Appears in:
Captain N: The Game Master, Volume #1, Issue #1, May 1990
The Best of the Nintendo Comics System, 1990

In the secret lair of Uranos, Lord of the Sky, Uranos tells "Motherbrain" that he's learned that "the cursed" Captain N, Kid Icarus, and Princess Lana are gone from the Palace of Power and have left only one guard to protect its treasure. Of course, it's rather obvious who this one guard is, not just from the title of the story but because of the N-Team membership being known to us already.

Uranos is certain that his skeleton warriors can pull off a raid.

Great line: Mother Brain: "It's evil, it's wicked, I like it!"

Mother Brain is happy that, "at last", the Palace of Power will be theirs. Have they been trying to get into it for a long time?

So, the skeleton warriors go to the Palace of Power in a flying rowboat. Yeah. Anyway, it's night. There's a full moon. Unlike on the show, where the Palace has a golden glow at night, the Palace is green (with the lights turned off, I assume).

The skeleton warriors find an open window. Either that, or one of them cuts the glass with its sword, and we don't see it. Anyway, they go into a corridor in the Palace.

They run through a purple corridor. There are lights on the ceiling. There's a photograph or painting of Kevin on the wall! The "N" on his jacket is yellow, so it must be a painting. Still, I wonder why they made one so early.

Suddenly, the skeleton warriors stop in fear, then they turn and run away. The ones that make it to the window get into the rowboat and fly away.

A yellow warp opens, and Kid Icarus flies out. Kevin and Lana run out after him.

Lana points at the rowboat and says the Palace has been invaded. Kevin says it looks like they're running away now. Kid Icarus doesn't understand how, since they left only one guard on duty.

They go into the corridor and discover that has destroyed the skeleton warriors.

Kevin says, "Good thing we left just the right guard. Duke will do anything for a bone!"

Interesting notes:

No Captain N logo.

Mother Brain is spelled "Motherbrain".

Lana's shirt is purple.

Kid Icarus holds his bow in his right hand.

Okay, this was a cute Duke-saves-the-day story. It's only 2 pages long, which is just as well. Not much else to be said.


Story title: MONEY CHANGES EVERYTHING
Writer: George Caragonne
Other staff: Ross Andru, Bob Layton, Jade, J. Jackson, The Gradations
Length: 10 pages
Reviewed: Thursday, August 15, 2002, 9:00 AM - 12:22 PM (except final scene and including "Every Dog Has Its Day"); Saturday, August 17, 2002, 12:00 PM - 5:53 PM (final scene, Continue, and conclusion)

Appears in:
Captain N: The Game Master, Volume #1, Issue #1, May 1990
The Best of the Nintendo Comics System, 1990

"Deep inside the fortress planet of Zebes". That's where Captain N, Princess Lana, and Kid Icarus are. Cool! Zebes exists in this universe, unlike in the cartoon series.

Kevin, Lana, and Kid Icarus are standing on a cliff. Suddenly, someone wearing a space suit with armor jumps down behind them.

The being tells them to move. They get out of the way, and the figure in the space suit blasts three creatures that were flying at them.

Great line: Samus: "You are fortunate I was nearby. Zebes is no place for weaklings."

Yeah, yeah, it's Samus. Like we didn't already know anyway. =)

Kevin draws his Zapper and uses his "super Power Pad" to jump high in the air. He shoots the creatures behind them.

Samus compliments Kevin and introduces herself. Kevin introduces himself and says, "I've played you hundreds of times!", which confuses Samus.

Lana watches as Kevin and Samus talk with each other, her arms crossed over her chest.

Kid Icarus says, "Gosh-a-cus, Princess Lana! Samus is super-duper-a-cus!" Oh, no. The annoying "icus" speech impediment has made the transition from the cartoon series to the comic books. I don't care what anyone else thinks, but "-a-cus" is not an improvement. At least he doesn't call Lana "Princessicus" or "Princess-a-cus". Thank Zeus for small favors.

Lana says, "Well...Samus is a veteran of many impossible missions!" Lana told him. "Samus is a super-powered cyborg! Samus is the greatest space hunter in the Galactic Federation!"

Samus takes off her helmet, revealing beautiful, long, flowing, straight, blonde hair; a gorgeous face; and sparkling green eyes.

Great lines:
Lana: "Samus is a...woman?!?!"
Kevin: "Whew! You sure are!"

I don't think a line like that would ever get on the show.

Guided by his knowledge of the Metroid game, Captain N creates a path over the lethal waters of Brinstar using his Pause button to freeze the deadly wavers.

Samus learns that Kevin, Lana, and Kid Icarus are on Zebes because a shipment of Zeebetite, the energy source Mother Brain needs to survive, is being transported to Metroid tonight. The four of them get on a lift. Kevin tells Samus that, if they can stop that shipment, Mother Brain is finished. He assumes that Samus is on their side.

Samus explains that she's a bounty hunter, and there's a million-credit price on Mother Brain's head (uh, yeah). She gets off the lift and blasts a door.

Kevin warns her too late that that's the door to the fire-sea of Norfair and a swarm of Gamets.

Kid Icarus yells, "My arrows just bounce off-a-cus!" And you're a dork-a-cus!

Kevin tells Samus to not movie and rapidly fires his Zapper, killing all of the Gamets. Once they're destroyed, Kevin, Lana, and Kid Icarus come through the hole to join Samus.

Lana asks Samus if she's all right. Samus takes off her helmet and leans against a wall. Her suit is sparking. Samus replies, "No. The Gamets drained my energy. My battle armor is going super-critical. Without energy, I have fifty or sixty seconds before it goes up like a supernova." Lana is shocked. Samus tells them, "All of you had better get out of here. The explosion is going to destroy most of this level!"

Here, the comic messes up by having the word balloons point at the wrong characters. Here's what they say:

Lana: "There's one chance. If I remember the pattern on this level..."

Kevin: "That's the fire-sea! One false step and it's hotfoot-a-cus maximus!"

I doubt that Lana is a Nintendo Power Player and that Kevin has a speech impediment. Obviously, the first is Kevin's, and the second is Kid Icarus'.

We get some nice details (more so than on the show) to Kevin's Power Pad. Kevin presses the Up button and yells "Jump!". Remember how he yelled that in "Kevin In Videoland"?

He leaps into the air and hops across the fire-sea on floating rocks. He finds an energy tank. "Right where I remember it was last time I played Metroid!" Kevin grabs it and goes back to the others.

Samus cheers, "You did it!" Kevin says, "Of course! This is nothing compared to fighting Ridley on the next level!"

Lana is just sitting and watching, her knees drawn up to her chest, a smile on her face. Kid Icarus is happy, too.

Samus attachs the energy tank to her left arm, and her armor's systems are restored. She says, "Thank you...Captain."

Kevin says, "No problem. Call me Kevin. All my friends do." I guess his friends don't include Lana and Kid Icarus. :P But this line is interesting, because Kevin says the same thing to Link in the Season 2 cartoon episode, "Quest for the Potion of Power". It looks like Rick Merwin read this story. Not surprising, considering that his one episode is probably the best in the entire series.

Kevin turns and faces the broken door they had come through. He says they have to get moving and cut across the Tourian Bridge to reach the Zeebetite before it's loaded onto the Metroid shuttle.

The following lines are whispered between Samus and Lana:

Great lines:
Samus: "Power...knowledge...skill. Incredible! That is quite a boyfriend you have there, Princess."
Lana: "He...He's not my boyfriend."
Samus: "Good."

This is the only time ever that Kevin is called Lana's boyfriend. The panel of Lana and Samus together is great. Both of them are cute, but, if I had to choose, I'll choose Samus. The girl is hot!

Meanwhile, Mother Brain watches via videophone from Metroid as the rare and precious Zeebetite is prepared for shipment.

Great line: Mother Brain: "Be careful, you insects! Load that Zeebetite and get it to the shuttle...before I lose my kindly disposition!"

Kevin, Lana, Samus, and Kid Icarus are hiding behind some equipment. Kevin says, "When we take out that Zeebetite, Mother Brain will lose more than her temper!" Ooh! Kevin's saying (albeit indirectly) that they'll be responsible for Mother brain's death! Yeah!

Samus asks, "And after we finish her off, Captain? What then? Life in space is dangerous and short. When I want something, I make my move, full speed ahead. I like you, Captain. Your skill! Your courage! You are the warrior I have searched for. Come with me -- the universe will be ours!" I love how Samus is direct and to the point and doesn't whitewash anything.

Kevin starts to answer, but Lana frowns and interrupts with "If you two are quite finished...we have a job to do!"

Kevin becomes defensive and retorts, "Hey! I didn't say I'd go! Princess! Listen to me, Lana!" This is the first time that he's called her "Lana".

He suddenly stands up and runs at some insects that are carrying Zeebetite. He yells, "Grrr...I wanna blast something! And you creeps are elected!" A bit reckless, but, you gotta admit, it's awesome to see Kevin mad like this.

Kid Icarus flies after him. The two of them start firing. Kevin realizes that their shots just bounce off.

Mother Brain tells them that their weapons are useless. Kevin is out of power. Samus joins him and fires a missile from her built-in gun. It destroys the Zeebetite.

Mother Brain is surprised that a space hunter is after her and asks what Samus' problem is.

Great line: Samus: "No problem. I am a bounty hunter. There is a million-credit price on your...head."

Mother Brain calls it peanuts and offers Samus ten million credits "in cash". The "cash" is gold, paper money, and jewels. I guess "cash" means any hard currency in Videoland.

Mother Brain says Samus can have it if she lets the Zeebetite go and turns the N-Team over to her. Samus appears to be tempted.

Lana yells, "You're wasting your breath, Mother Brain! Samus is a hero! She'd never sell us out!"

Samus says Mother Brain can have Lana and Kid Icarus, but Captain N comes with her. Samus picks Kevin up and holds him in her arms! She tells him, "Join with me, Kevin. The stars will be our playground! Together we will blaze a path of glory across the universe!" What a girl! This is also the first time that she calls him "Kevin".

Kevin gets away from her and lands on his feet, offended. He asks her, "What kind of guy do you think I am?"

Lana turns her back on them and says, "Go with her, Kevin." Ooh, Lana is cold! ^_^ This is also the first time that she calls him "Kevin".

Kevin is shocked and protests. Lana folds her arms over her chest and says, "Don't force me to make it an order, Captain." Lana can give Kevin orders! She's the leader of the N-Team!

Kevin places his right hand on her and asks, "You want me to go off with Samus and have fun, while you're Mother Brain's prisoner?!"

Lana turns around to face him. Kevin places his left hand on her right arm.

Lana whispers, "I didn't say you had to have fun."

Kevin whispers, "What matters is that one of us is free to carry on the fight! Princess, I..."

Mother Brain interrupts with "I think we have ourselves a deal!"

Two soldiers in metal uniforms come over to Princess Lana and Kid Icarus.

Later, the shuttle carrying Mother Brain's Zeebetite and her new prisoners approaches the Metroid asteroid.

Princess Lana and Kid Icarus are sitting on blue containers behind bars. Two people in metal uniforms are piloting the shuttle.

"It looks like Mother Brain has finally won!" Lana said. How long has Mother Brain been trying to take over Videoland?

Kid Icarus makes his left hand into a fist and says, "I've got to do something! I'm sick of being useless!" Cool. The little guy actually admits his uselessness. =)

He flies out between the bars and at the pilots. He yells, "Charge-a-cus!" He should get creamed for that.

Lana screams, "Kid--no!"

One of the pilots takes off the metal helmet. It's Kevin. Kid Icarus comes to a halt.

Kevin explained that he and Samus took out the real guards and hijacked the ship before Lana and Kid came aboard. It was all Samus' idea.

Samus removes her own metal helmet and says, "A new space shuttle, ten million in cash, and a full load of Zeebetite! Not a bad day's work."

The cell opens. Lana runs over to Kevin and hugs him. She says that Mother Brain is truly defeated without the Zeebetite. Samus turns the shuttle away from Metroid and says no, because another shipment of Zeebetite is going to arrive on Metroid tomorrow. But Mother Brain doesn't know that. She was more than willing to part with her treasure to save her hide. Samus adds, "Next time, however..."

Lana realizes that Samus never intended to get Mother Brain or sell them out. Kevin realized that Samus set this whole thing up to steal Mother Brain's money.

Samus picks Kevin up and holds him in her arms, bringing a grin to his face. Lana turns away, looking over her left shoulder in half interest.

Samus smiles and says, "Of course, my brave Captain! I may be greedy, but I'm not stupid."

Interesting notes:

No Captain N logo.

Mother Brain is spelled "Mother Brain".

Lana's shirt is more pink.

Kid Icarus holds his bow in his left hand (I think, if he holds it at all).

This is a great story and a great introduction to Samus Aran. She's a very cool character who does what she wants. She's greedy, but she's not a traitor. Her mission is to defeat Mother Brain, but she makes plans to raise money (presumably for weapons and armor) first. She has intelligence that's completely lacking in the cartoon series.


There was text printed on the back cover of the issue:

CONTINUE

There is another universe...

...where video games are reality, where all the fantastic worlds of
Nintendo meld into one. There dwell the likes of Samus Aran, King
Hippo, Mother Brain, The beautiful Princess Lana and fifteen-year-old
Earthling Kevin Keene, a.k.a. Captain N: The Game Master.

What if you knew of a way to enter this universe on the fringes
of imagination? Would you go and share the excitement and adven-
ture?

We go there every month, Come with us!

And if you want to make the journey even more entertaining,
please give us your comments, suggestions and ideas. Write to Voyager
Communications Inc., 132 West 21st Street, New York, NY 10011.

Thanks for joining us this time. Don't let the adventure end.

Continue!

This is a nice way of enticing readers to come back every month. It also gives us some info, such as Kevin being fifteen years old (like the Nintendo Power ad says). A "universe on the fringes of imagination" is an excellent description for Videoland.


This issue and the stories in Nintendo Comics System #1 serve as a much better introduction to the Captain N saga than "Kevin In Videoland".

Sure, I'd have liked the issue better if "Welcome To Videoland" was longer or if "All's Well That Ends Swell" was used instead of "The Fruit and Vegetable War". Still, this is by no means a bad issue, and better stories are still to come.

I considered doing usefulness ratings for each N-Team member in review, but I've decided against it. I do the usefulness ratings in the episode reviews simply because the N Team members are so damn stupid on the show. Suffice it to say that Kevin, Lana, and Samus are the most useful characters; Kid Icarus is somewhat useful as well, and Duke, with the notable exceptions of "Every Dog Has Its Day" and "Just a Dog", is useless.

A certain Captain N "fan", who shall remain nameless (though you can probably figure out who he is), writes on his website that the Captain N comic book stories lack the enjoyment of the TV series, due to less humor or something like that. I completely disagree. I believe that the comic book stories are vastly superior to the cartoon episodes, and, to prove my point, in each review, I'm going to compare each comic book story reviewed to one or more episodes of the cartoon series.


Welcome To Videoland VS Kevin In Videoland / When Mother Brain Rules

"Welcome to Videoland" is only 2 pages long, but it establishes pretty much the same amount of information as "Kevin In Videoland" does. Also, whereas "Kevin In Videoland" is 20 minutes of the N Team fighting each other and includes a filler sidetrip to Kongoland, "Welcome to Videoland" is information-packed, direct, and to the point.

"When Mother Brain Rules", a clips episode from Season 2, basically serves as a recap of and introduction to the show. It reuses a lot of footage from "Kevin In Videoland" and is unneeded.


"All's Well That Ends Swell" VS Metroid Sweet Metroid / Happy Birthday, Megaman / Wishful Thinking / Having a Ball / Pursuit of the Magic Hoop

This story has a lesson that there's no such thing as a quick fix. It teaches you to have patience and be persistent. "Metroid Sweet Metroid" had that with the N Team thinking that they could quickly defeat Mother Brain by destroying the power flowers, but then they find out that doesn't work. However, this episode has Kevin walking into a rather obvious trap and Mother Brain quickly conquering Videoland, so it's pretty bad. "Happy Birthday, Megaman" has Mega Man being persistent in his quest to become human, but it's a very odd, worthless goal, and nothing ever comes of it later on.

"All's Well That Ends Swell" also has a brief mention of a wish, which can be found in "Happy Birthday, Megaman" (worthless), "Wishful Thinking" (stupid plot device), and "Pursuit of the Magic Hoop" (which is identical to "Wishful Thinking" on the 4 counts of wishing, someone growing into a giant, being happy as you are, and even basketball).

This 10-pace comic book story doesn't make a big deal out of wishing and turns it into a stupid plot device. It simply mentions it and moves on. Nice.


The Fruit and Vegetable War VS Mr. and Mrs. Mother Brain / Videolympics / Mega Trouble for Megaland / Wishful Thinking

This story shows Mount Olympus, but it does it in a rather funny way and doesn't even attempt to portray (and subsequently mangle) the game, as the above-mentioned cartoon episodes do. Yeah, it takes liberties with Kid Icarus' arrows, but at least there wasn't a love arrow, sporting event, or magic genie involved.

The Eggplant Wizard is after a huge power source, but, unlike in "Videolympics", the power source actually had guards protecting it.

"The Fruit and Vegetable War" can also be compared to the multitude of cartoon episodes where the heroes compete against each other, but I'll save that comparison for a more worthy comic book story.


Every Dog Has Its Day VS A Tale of Two Dogs

This is a simple, 2-page story about Duke destroying skeleton warriors. Compare that to "A Tale of Two Dogs", which is 10 minutes of Kevin and Mega Man arguing over whose damn dog is the "baddest". Add to that a mangling of the video game, Mega Man 3, and "Every Dog Has Its Day" clearly wins.


Money Changes Everything VS Gameboy / I Wish I was a Wombatman / Return to Castlevania / Nightmare on Mother Brain's Street

This is a new character introduction story. Whereas Gameboy was a worthless new character (who subsequently got kidnapped, reprogrammed, and put the N Team in danger), Samus Aran proves her worth. She's a great fighter.

This story also has Kevin and Lana's image of Samus ruined when they think that she's betrayed them. The cartoon episodes that deal with this are "I Wish I was a Wombatman" (a very lame 1960s "Batman" rip-off) and "Return to Castlevania" (a badly-done CastleVania III episode). In "Money Changes Everything", Kevin and Lana's feelings of betrayal are understandable, whereas Kid Icarus felt betrayed by a movie star (uh, hello!), and Simon felt betrayed based on what some guy he never met told him about his ancestor.

"Money Changes Everything" has Samus Aran acknowledging that she's greedy, but it does it in a good way. Her greed doesn't make her a bad person. Compare that to "Nightmare on Mother Brain's Street", where Simon, greedy for Lana's affection, betrays Kevin by placing him in a deadly situation, just so Simon can reach Lana first. It also has Kevin and Simon easily bribing the guard at Castle Ironspire. In "Money Changes Everything", Samus is tempted by money, but she has more honor that Simon and doesn't fail in her duty as a hero.


I want to conclude this review with an interesting observation about the comic books in general. In "Kevin In Videoland", it's mentioned that Mother Brain has been laying siege on the Palace of Power for 7 years in an attempt to conquer Videoland. A huge army is shown marching on the Palace, and that army disappears without a trace (or any explanation) in the final scene. It's interesting that "Welcome To Videoland" makes no mention of how long Mother Brain has been trying to take over Videoland, nor does it show that Mother Brain has any army besides King Hippo, the Eggplant Wizard, Uranos, Donkey Kong, and the Metroids and other baddies on Zebes. This means that the war is on a smaller scale than on the TV series, which is fine. In the cartoon series, Mother Brain has (had) a huge army, access to great sources of power, and enough Zeebetite "to conquer Videoland ten times over", yet the N Team spends its time watching movies and playing sports. In the comic books, Mother Brain's resources are nowhere near as vast, and the Galactic Federation keeps her contained. This makes things easier for the N-Team, yet they don't waste their time. They go on missions to locate new weapons, recruit members, and destroy shipments of Zeebetite.

In conclusion, the cartoon episodes are longer and numerous, but they're stuffed with filler. The comic book stories are shorter and fewer, but they're lean and mean. You'll get more satisfaction from reading the comic books, whereas, with the TV series, you'll feel that you've watched a bunch of nothing. If you've seen the cartoon series but never read the comics, find an issue and read it. You won't be disappointed.

That's the end of my review of Captain N: The Game Master, Volume #1, Issue #1. I'm gonna go watch the rest of the episodes on the third "Sailor Moon S" DVD now. Next up - Captain N: The Game Master, Volume #1, Issue #2!


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