Captain Canuck: The Final Chapter
Alright, so Captain Canuck, 1980, issues 11-14 were not actually titled The Final Chapter, but they could have been. They provided a chapter worthy of ending the good Captain’s story.
Issues 11-13 were a grand epic in and of themselves. In them we’re (re)-introduced to a new (old) enemy in an alien race intent on enslaving the earth and it’s population. It’s not a terribly intriguing plot point, to be true – enemy aliens from another planet with technology far superior to our own wage war upon the earth, leaving brave men and women humans to defend our homeworld – but it does close up the plotpoint from issues prior which explained how the Captain received his “powers” from an alien abduction.
The story follows standard comic-book-superhero fare: hero’s are introduced to the problem, are overwhelmed, on the verge of defeat, and through sheer force of will and determination manage to pull a last minute victory out of sure defeat. Plus, we get to see the Captain use a fireaxe as a weapon! When was the last time you’ve seen Captain America do that?
I personally have enjoyed all those issues where Canuck uses his prior RCMP training as a detective to solve issues. This particular story starts off with seemingly random citizens trying to kill the good Captain, to the point that it seems he’ll be done in by a swarm of innocent bystanders!
(An interesting side note is that the issue takes place in Quebec, so to keep the feel, the people are speaking French)
What could have caused such a thing, you ask?
Yes, indeed: aliens. The Captain has proof and, with that proof, he’s off on his grandest adventure yet!
The next issues portray a rip-roaring good time, fast action, and plenty of excitement. It’s worth remembering that the Canuck comics of this era were heavily science fiction focused, so seeing preparations for a battle in space is both expected and welcome. And… aliens!
Unfortunately, the aliens in this story are little more than 2 dimensional constructs; three issues does not really provide enough material to delve into much back story and do justice to explaining just why they have it in for the Earth, but it is enough time to give Canuck an arch enemy, the evil fiend Nyro-Ka!
Nyro-Ka is not a one-and-done villain; he hounds the Captain through time and space, and is a villain in the truest sense of the word. It’s through Nyro-Ka’s intervention and attempt to kill Canuck that Canucks gets to engage on his wildest adventure yet, and finds himself literally time travelling into earth’s past. Adventures in the past follow, with Nyro-Ka playing antagonist, until the final “current time” issue is resolved with earth victories, enemies defeated and Canuck… seemingly dead.
With the excitement over and done with, the very last published issue of the original Captain Canuck presents a story that’s a fitting prologue; finding himself in his own recent past, Canuck has one last adventure where he finds himself a new ally, puts down a small criminal ring, and vows to continue doing what he has always done: protect the common man and build a new life for himself.
If ever there was a way to end a story, this was it; Canuck’s story, though perhaps not completely full circle, is close enough that the reader is left satisfied with how it has ended, in victory and a strong dedication to doing what is right, though perhaps on a smaller scale.
14 issues. 14 issues of Captain Canuck, and a great run it was. From the first issue, with it’s choppy story telling but determined creative team, to my favourite issue 4 with excitement, danger, and humour, to great detective work, aliens, and a final curtain call. If there was no more Canuck after this it would have made a great mini-series; it could just as easily have been planned as a 12 issue series to end just where it has.
Unfortunately CKR Productions went out of business after this issue. An issue 15 was designed but never coloured or printed. It is a shame, since the production team was really beginning to hit a good stride. Richard Comely attempted a “Captain Canuck Reborn” in 1993 with a completely new character and storyline, but it did not last past issue 3; in fact, issues 2 and 3 are nearly impossible to find due to incredibly low print runs.
Not to say that Captain Canuck didn’t leave a legacy however! Captain Canuck: Unholy War was a mini series published after Reborn, and both the original Canuck and Unholy War Canuck made appearances in War of the Independents. It’s hard to keep a good Captain down.