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Comic Review


Captain N: The Game Master, Volume #1, Issue #2


Sunday, April 13, 2003, 12:00 PM - 8:25 PM


Introduction (12:00 PM - 12:09 PM)

I have finished reviewing Season 1 of "Captain N: The Game Master". Before I get to Season 2, however, I want to review the rest of the Captain N comic books, since they came out before Season 2.

Starting with this review, I will break down the issue by story and then by summary, interesting notes, great lines, dumb lines, and my review.

There are no additional stories in "Nintendo Comics System" this month, so I'll be reviewing only Captain N #2.


The Happy Zone (1:15 PM - 3:49 PM)

Cover: An amazing drawing of Kevin landing on top of Mother Brain and on beating her glass jar with Lana's power scepter. It's inspired by "The Happy Zone". The Captain N logo has yellow text, white background, and a yellow border. The beam is white. "THE" is yellow. "GAME" and "MASTER" are yellow with blue border.

Story title: THE HAPPY ZONE
Writer: George Caragonne
Other staff: Don Hudson, Jose Marzan, Ken Lopez, John Cebollero, The Gradations
Length: 10 pages

Appears in:
Captain N: The Game Master, Volume #1, Issue #2, June 1990
Adventures of the Super Mario Bros., Volume #1, Issue #8, September 1991

Summary:

The defeated forces of the League of Darkness return to their headquarters on Metroid, where Mother Brain and Lord Uranos await. They were supposed to capture Mount Olympus, but Captain N had defeated them. Mother Brain decides to get rid of Captain N. Uranos has an idea.

As Metroid flies high overhead, Kevin and Lana are having a picnic some distance from the Palace. Lana's father used to bring her here when she was a little girl - before he disappeared. Lana is sad. Kevin takes hold of her and tries to encourage her to stay strong and carry on the fight. They hug. Suddenly, the King comes by. Lana is excited and runs over to him. Kevin feels disappointed that Lana forgot about him so quickly, but he smiles and tries to be polite. Suddenly, the 'King' turns into Uranos and lifts Lana off her feet! Kevin tries to zap Uranos, but Uranos uses a teleportation spell and disappears with Lana.

Back at the Palace of Power, Kevin runs into the observation room and tells Kid Icarus and Samus that Lana has been kidnapped. Kid Icarus and Samus show Kevin an army on the viewscreen and say that they will arrive here in one hour. Mother Brain's face suddenly appears on the viewscreen. Then an image of Princess Lana appears to the left of the image of Mother Brain. Lana is sitting on a bench in a forest. Mother Brain says that it's her latest addition to Videoland - the Happy Zone! Samus has heard of this so-called 'Happy Zone'. Those within it are trapped inside forever. The image of Lana is replaced with an image of a white corridor with a dashed yellow line on the floor, like on a street. There are a whole bunch of signs and arrows on both walls. Mother Brain offers to let Kevin step through a "warp zone" and be in the Happy Zone with Lana. This one-way warp zone only lasts for an hour. After that, the Happy Zone will be closed permanently. The image of Mother Brain disappears, leaving only the image of the warp zone. Kevin discusses the offer with Samus and Kid Icarus. Samus tries to talk Kevin out of it. Kevin tells her to leave him alone to think.

Almost 1 hour later, at 11:58 PM, Kevin decides to go. Samus again tries to talk him out of it. At midnight, Kevin is angry and sad. He realizes that Lana is gone forever and starts to cry, lowering his head and placing his right hand over it. Kid Icarus flies over to him with Lana's "power scepter". Kevin takes it.

Kevin, Samus, Kid Icarus, and Duke go outside and fight the army. Kevin uses Lana's weapon rather than his own.

At Mother Brain's lair, Uranos decides to flee. Mother Brain has to get to her "escape warp zone". Suddenly, Kevin lands on one of the metal tubes connected to Mother Brain's glass jar. As Samus and Kid Icarus fight the Eggplant Wizard, Kevin swings Lana's power scepter at Mother Brain. It crashes into the side of her jar. Kevin gets to top of the jar and continues smashing. Mother Brain begs him to stop and tells him that she was just "kidding". She tells King Hippo to get Lana. King Hippo brings Lana into the room. Kevin jumps down to the floor, and he and Lana run to each other, smiling. Lana holds onto Kevin as he draws his Zapper. Suddenly, Mother Brain warps away, ordering someone to close it behind her. Lana puts her arms on Kevin's chest. Lana says "Oh, Kevin, I thought I'd never see you again. I knew you'd be strong and carry on the fight." Kevin says "Watching that warp zone close was the hardest thing I ever did." He puts his hands on Lana's waist and adds: "And this...is the easiest..." Lana curls her arms around Kevin's neck. Kid Icarus and Duke smile. Samus places her hands on her hips.

Interesting Notes:

The Captain N logo has black text, white background, and a black border. The beam is white. "THE" is black. "GAME" and "MASTER" are yellow with black border.

The beginning of the story shows the battle on Mount Olympus. Samus' canon fire is purple. Lana is shown ramming her power scepter into King Hippo's stomach! Ouch!

Lana's clothes are purple at the beginning of the story and purple-pink at the end of the story.

Lana mentions that her father had been gone for years, perhaps giving us an indication of how long the war has been going on.

Kevin's Zapper beams are white in this story.

This is the story where Lana's power scepter is actually called a "power scepter".

Kid Icarus holds his bow in his right hand earlier in this story and in his left hand on Metroid. It goes back to his right hand at the end of the story.

Great Lines:

Mother Brain: "Unless I can get rid of that pesky Game Master, my spring offensive will fall flat on its...face."

Lana: "How beautiful!"
Kevin: "Boy, I'll say, and I'm not talking about the trees."

Lana: "Let me go, you disgusting demigod!"

Kevin: "Dang it! He used a teleportation spell! Dang it!"

Samus: "I have already planned a counter-attack! Now that you have returned we will crush them like dogs!"
Duke: "Arf?"
Kevin: "She didn't mean you, Duke."

Mother Brain: "Hello. Am I calling at a bad time?"
Kevin: "Mother Brain! What have you done with Princess Lana?! If you hurt her, I'll--!"
Mother Brain: "Hurt her? Why, Captain! I'd never do something so unpleasant!"

Mother Brain: "That's right, the Happy Zone is strictly a one-way trip! Heroes check in, but they don't check out! Take the beautiful Princess Lana, for example. I did."

Samus: "Kevin, you cannot be thinking of accepting Mother Brain's offer?"
Kevin: "But, the Princess is in there!"
Samus: "Then that is her fate. We have a job to do here!"

Samus: "Where is the courage of the warrior, which I admire so much in you? Come, Captain! We have a kingdom to defend! Gold and glory to win!"

Kevin: "I'm going."
Samus: "Princess Lana would not want you to go."
Kevin: "Of course you'd say that you...like me. You want me to stay."
Samus: "True. But if I were the Princess and you left the kingdom defenseless in order to be with me, I would despise you."

Kevin: "I'm shutting you down! I'm turning you off! Game over!"

Kevin: "Step aside, sweetheart, I'm going to take out the trash!"

Dumb Lines:

Kevin: "Your father will come back someday, I'm sure of it!"
I know that Kevin was trying to cheer Lana up, but it doesn't seem right for him to say something like that to her.

Review:

Wow, this is a great story. There is the "warp zone" error, and a period is probably missing from Kevin's lines to Samus about her liking him, but these flaws can be overlooked. There are lots of great lines and only one dumb line, and it's really not even a dumb line - just an inappropriate one. Kevin and Lana seem pretty close. There's more romantic tension between Kevin and Samus. We see an extra room in the comic Palace of Power: the observation room. It has a conference table and viewscreen similar to the one(s) in the cartoon series but, of course, with different colors. It seems, judging by Uranos' impersonation, that this Videoland's King Charles looks a bit different than his cartoon counterpart. The Happy Zone seems to be fairly new, but Samus knows about it. Maybe it's been around for a month or two. Duke does nothing but tag along.

Okay, now that the general stuff's out of the way, let me focus on what this story is really about: the Kevin-Lana-Samus love triangle. Kevin and Lana clearly like each other. Samus likes Kevin, but it's uncertain how much he likes her. Samus' speech hurts Kevin, but he needs to hear it. Yes, Samus is cold and selfish for wanting Kevin to stay, but she also has a good point: Lana would not want Kevin to enter the Happy Zone. In this way, Samus' selfishness is accompanied by concern for Videoland. Which of these she cares more for is unclear, but it makes Samus a damn good character. I wonder, if Samus didn't have romantic feelings for Kevin, if she would still try to convince him to stay. Kevin's expressions at midnight are powerful images. The fact that he lowers his head and covers it with his hand might indicate that he doesn't want to be seen crying in front of the rest of the team. Kevin calls Lana "sweetheart". That's nice. Do Kevin and Lana kiss at the end of the story? We can't see for sure, but I guess that they do.


Villains' Do's and Don'ts (4:08 PM - 4:32 PM)

Story title: VILLAIN'S DO'S AND DON'TS
Writer: George Caragonne
Other staff: Don Hudson, Jose Marzan, Jade, John Cebollero
Length: 2 pages

Appears in:
Captain N: The Game Master, Volume #1, Issue #2, June 1990
The Best of the Nintendo Comics System, 1990
Super Mario Bros., Volume #1, Issue #4, May 1991

Summary:

Mother Brain teaches the audience about world domination. Her assistants, Eggplant Wizard and Uranos, introduce themselves. Whenever mother Brain teaches something, Uranos shows the right way to do it, and Eggplant Wizard shows the wrong way to do it (each panel includes happy and sad faces and the words "RIGHT" and "WRONG").

Good base of operations: Uranos is standing in front of a huge, strong fortress at night, while there's a heavy thunderstorm. Eggplant Wizard is standing in a large, empty baseball stadium.

Henchmen: Uranos is standing in front of a lineup of football players at Ogre University and picks the largest player. Eggplant Wizard is standing in front of a lineup of old guys that are holding adding machines at H+R Crook Accounting School. He picks all of them.

Terrifying clothing: Uranos is wearing a long, dark cloak. Eggplant Wizard is dressed to sell ice cream, and a bunch of kids in the neighborhood are running towards him!

Reading instructions carefully for your equipment: Uranos is firing a huge laser cannon at Kevin, Lana, Samus, and Kid Icarus, and they dodge the blast. Eggplant Wizard is reading the instructions and realizes that batteries are not included. Eggplant Wizard and Uranos then stand by Mother Brain, and Mother Brain says "So listen up, all of you budding arch-villains. If you follow all of my helpful hints someday you'll get exactly what you deserve!" Eggplant Wizard and Uranos are then shown sitting in a jail cell, and Kevin is standing in front of it, smiling and twirling his Zapper.

Interesting notes:

Kid Icarus holds his bow in his right hand in this story.

Lana's clothes seem to be purple in this story.

Review:

This is a short, silly story that shows Uranos' competence and Eggplant Wizard's incompetence. For those of you worried about Mother Brain breaking the fourth wall, she may be hosting a TV special, not addressing the readers. There are no great or dumb lines. It's just a fun story. Could the jail be in the Palace of Power? It doesn't matter. Mother Brain will bust Uranos and Eggplant Wizard out of there eventually.


The Item (4:45 PM - 4:59 PM)

Story title: THE ITEM
Writers: Bill Vallely and Mark McClellan
Other staff: Bob Layton, Dan Panosian, Ken Lopez, Meridee Mandio
Length: 1 page

Appears in:
Captain N: The Game Master, Volume #1, Issue #2, June 1990
The Best of the Nintendo Comics System, 1990
Adventures of the Super Mario Bros., Volume #1, Issue #8, September 1991

Summary:

A ship called Merchant One approaches Planet Zebes and requests clearance. They have the 'item' for Mother Brain. In the ship's cargo hold, crew members gather around the huge crate and wonder why Mother Brain is in such a rush to get this item. They theorize that it might be pure gold or a weapon to destroy all outer space. On Zebes, Mother Brain is impatient. She has been waiting for days. The crate is opened. A huge, weird contraption is inside. Mother Brain says "Gosh, I love getting facials." The crew members are shocked.

Interesting Notes:

Zebes is shown, proving that Mother Brain doesn't spend all of her time on Metroid.

Great Lines:

Zebes Security: "In Mother Brain's name, has your mission been accomplished? Have you obtained...the item?"
Merchant One Captain: "The 'item' is intact...of course. You think we'd show our faces here without it?"
Zebes Security: "Good point!"

Dumb Lines:

Crew member: "Pure gold, perhaps...or maybe a weapon to destroy all outer space!"
A weapon to destroy all outer space? Why would anyone want such a thing?

Review:

Okay, okay, that was kinda dumb, but it could have been a lot worse.


Just a Dog (5:30 PM - 6:28 PM)

Story title: JUST A DOG
Writer: Chris Henderson
Other staff: Mike Chen, Bob Layton, Jade, The Gradations
Length: 10 pages

Appears in:
Captain N: The Game Master, Volume #1, Issue #2, June 1990
Adventures of the Super Mario Bros., Volume #1, Issue #9, October 1991

Summary:

Kevin, Kid Icarus, and Duke are a distance from the Palace of Power as the sun is setting. They are a few feet off the road, on the grass. Duke is lying down on the ground, and Kevin is kneeling to his right, his right hand placed on Duke's head. Duke caught a cold when he fell into "that river back there" due to a dirt slide. Kid Icarus thinks that dogs aren't very bright, and Kevin tries to defend Duke. They have to walk back to the Palace of Power - slowly - to report to the Princess. They had heard about a large army heading toward the Palace, and they didn't find anything. When Kid Icarus starts talking tough, Duke sneezes and sends him spinning, causing Kevin to laugh. Suddenly, they hear noises all around them, startling them. They check behind a wall and see the Eggplant Wizard with soldiers wearing gold and red. Their faces are covered by masks. Their plan is to wait until dark, storm the Palace of Power, kidnap "the Princess Lana", and bring her to Mother Brain, which would leave Videoland in the clutches of evil. Kevin decides to create a diversion, so Kid Icarus could fly away and "warn the Palace". Kevin draws his Zapper and begins to run away, telling Duke to stay. Kid Icarus insults Duke again. Duke sneezes, and the three of them are shaken by the sneeze. Kevin's Zapper falls from his hand. The sneeze alerts the bad guys. The Eggplant Wizard suddenly feels uneasy. Kevin debates whether to carry Duke and be slowed down or leave him and stop the bad guys before they get Princess Lana! Kevin and Kid Icarus go up over the wall. Kevin starts firing at the army. Kid Icarus fires an arrow, which creates a puddle of oil and causes two of the soldiers to slip. The potatoes that Kevin zaps turn into fries, and the apples he was zaps were turn into apple pies. The lead soldier grabs the arrow that Kid Icarus is about to fire. Kevin and Kid Icarus back up against the wall, surrounded by the soldiers. A bunch of soldiers hold them in place. Kevin notices Duke walking through a hole in the wall behind the Eggplant Wizard and whispers for him to run away. The soldiers turn and see Duke. The lead soldier removes his helmet, revealing that he is a cat. He yells to the Eggplant Wizard, "You said no dogs!" He takes out a scroll and adds: "Our contract says no dogs!" All of the soldiers run away in terror. The Eggplant Wizard says he's only a little dog and sick; even he can handle one little sick dog. Then he sees Kevin and Kid Icarus and runs away. Kevin kneels down, pets Duke, and thanks him. He asks Kid Icarus, "Sooo...'just a dog,' huh?" Kid Icarus denies that he said that. Duke starts licking Kid Icarus, and Kevin thinks that Duke is feeling better.

Interesting notes:

Kevin's Zapper beams are blue in this story.

Kid Icarus holds his bow first in his left hand then in his right hand in this story.

The Eggplant Wizard calls Kid Icarus Captain N's "bird-brained friend". This is appropriate, considering that Kid Icarus is the Eggplant Wizard's enemy in the video game.

Great Lines:

Duke: "Arf-choo!"

Kid Icarus: "We hear about a large army heading toward the Palace, and what does it amount to? Nothing! Just rumors!"
Kevin: "I'm sure the Princess won't be sorry."

Kevin: "Sorry - but that's oil, folks!"

Eggplant Wizard: "Choppin' celery! It's Captain N! Get him!"
Kevin: "Get me yourself, parmesan head."

Kevin: "He's up...he flies...he blips bad guys!!"

Review:

No Lana, no Samus. This story ranks lower on my list just because of that. This is basically a Kevin and Kid Icarus adventure similar to "The Fruit and Vegetable War". It even has the Eggplant Wizard. The twist is that Duke is in it, too. I don't like Duke. This story and "Every Dog Has Its Day" are actually the only two stories where Duke saves the day. Actually, if you think about it, if Duke wasn't around, he wouldn't have fallen into the river, caught a cold, and slowed Kevin and Kid Icarus down. They would have gotten back to the Palace and warned Lana and Samus. Kevin's phrasing, "warn the Palace", indicates that Lana isn't the only person there. Otherwise, he would have said "warn Lana". I guess that means that Samus lives at the Palace of Power with the others. Anyway, there's one spelling error. Kid Icarus says "Oop" instead of "Oops". To give the story some credit, though, it had some great lines and no dumb lines, and the Eggplant Wizard has an evil grin, making him look much more menacing than the show ever did.


Comic VS Cartoon (7:30 PM - 8:25 PM)

As before, I'm going to compare each comic book story reviewed against one or more cartoon episodes.

The Happy Zone VS Nightmare on Mother Brain's Street / In Search of the King / Gameboy / How's Bayou / Metroid Sweet Metroid / Once Upon a Time Machine

Both "The Happy Zone" and "Nightmare on Mother Brain's Street" deal with Lana being kidnapped by Mother Brain and Kevin being offered a chance to go to that world. The difference is that, in "The Happy Zone", Kevin's not rescuing Lana; he's abandoning Videoland for Lana. This is a much more difficult decision, and he doesn't go through with it. That makes him a good champion. Also, Samus continues to display emotional depth by having a double reason that Kevin should stay. Compare this great story to "Nightmare on Mother Brain's Street", which is a lame Snow White rip-off. "The Happy Zone" is definitely the better of the two.

Also, "The Happy Zone" offers some information on Lana's relationship with her father. He took her to the forest years ago, it's been years since she last saw him. By contrast, "In Search of the King" was shoddy and didn't offer any insight into Lana's past. Neither did "Gameboy". While "In Search of the King" does have Lana's father sacrificing his freedom to save her, "The Happy Zone" has Kevin sacrificing Lana for all of Videoland.

Finally, "The Happy Zone" has Kevin using Lana's power scepter, rather than his own weapons, to defeat the invading army. He does this by choice, but he does it only because he's forced to in "How's Bayou", "Metroid Sweet Metroid", and "Once Upon a Time Machine". The winner is "The Happy Zone".

Villains' Do's and Don'ts VS Videolympics / Mega Trouble for Megaland

"Villains' Do's and Don'ts" shows villains doing things right and wrong and eventually getting beaten. So does "Videolympics" and the ending of "Mega Trouble for Megaland". The difference is that "Villains' Do's and Don'ts" does a great job in 2 pages, "Videolympics" simply never should have been written. "Villains' Do's and Don'ts" wins this event, beating out "Videolympics" and, by extension, "Mega Trouble for Megaland".

The Item VS Queen of the Apes

Both stories deal with Mother Brain inproving her looks, but it seems much more likely that Mother Brain would buy a machine to get facials rather than allowing Lana to give her a make-over. "The Item" wins.

Just a Dog VS A Tale of Two Dogs

Again, the "faith in the dog" story. "Just a Dog" is more realistic, because it has Duke simply showing up and sneezing - in other words, behaving like just a normal dog. Compare that to "A Tale of Two Dogs", where Duke and Rush fly over to Dr. Wily and drop a robotic hive of robo-bees. Uh, yeah, you better believe that "Just a Dog" wins.


That's the end of my review of Captain N: The Game Master, Volume #1, Issue #2. It's a good issue, just like #1. Next up - Captain N: The Game Master, Volume #1, Issue #3!


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