The Captain N Comic: I’m Gonna Take You Back to the Past…

January 9th, 2010 by | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Me reading a Captain N comic didn’t happen because someone suggested it to me. Nobody told me that there was a Captain N comic. I didn’t stumble upon it or come across an issue in a bin anywhere. It’s just that one day I randomly reminisced about the cartoon and thought to myself, “Was there a Captain N comic book? I bet there was.”

Lo and behold, my instincts were correct. You know I had to get my mitts on this one. The five-issue series came out over the course of 1990, released by Valiant Comics. They released the Game Boy comic around that time, which I’ve reviewed months back.

To fully understand the comic and what makes it worth talking about, you have to understand the TV show. Captain N: The Game Master is a cartoon about a teenager named Kevin Keene who is so good at playing his NES that he and his dog Duke are pulled into his Nintendo by “the Ultimate Warpzone”. It’s there that he exists in a multiverse of videogame franchises, even if they weren’t Nintendo-owned. Armed with a controller belt buckle and a zapper gun, Captain N fights for the original character Princess Lana along with existing videogame heroes Kid Icarus (aka Pit), Mega Man and Simon Belmont. Those three are probably banded together due to their shared success in having awesome theme music. The main villain is Mother Brain from Metroid, commanding over the Eggplant Wizard, King Hippo, Dr. Wily and the Count (they couldn’t call him “Dracula” for whatever reason). Donkey Kong’s there too, but he’s more of a wildcard villain, like the crocodile from Peter Pan.

In concept, it’s a videogame fanboy wet dream. Unfortunately, there were some snags to the show, such as the character designs for the preexisting heroes. Kid Icarus is a midget who won’t stop adding “icus” to the end of his sentences, yet he’s the least problematic. Mega Man is also a midget, only pudgy and more annoying. They saw how dynamic and cool his 8-bit sprite was and came up with that? Then there’s Simon Belmont. Jeeeesus. Instead of a badass vampire hunter, he’s a doofy narcissist with pilot goggles. I get that these guys are all based on early 8-bit designs that lacked characterization, but as a marketing ploy, I can’t imagine any kid was thinking, “I want to play as that annoying, scratchy-voiced toddler in the green tights!” It got even worse in the third season when they introduced Alucard, re-imagined as a totally radical skater dude.

It’s like if Poochy wanted your blood.

The show also had a lot of action sequences that made me groan by turning into a music video, usually with annoying song covers. They had the same problem on the Super Mario Bros. Super Show and its follow-ups.

By transferring the show to comic form, both of those problems are mostly taken care of. Obviously, there isn’t going to be a musical interlude in a comic book, but more importantly, Valiant only had the rights to use strictly Nintendo characters. No Capcom or Konami. Mega Man, Simon Belmont, Dr. Wily and the Count? Gone. They never existed. Anyone third party isn’t invited to this party.

So with two of the main heroes gone, how do you continue to make this a comic? It can’t just be Captain N, Princess Lana, Duke the dog and Kid Icarus. If Kid Icarus is the best you have for star power, you’re in trouble. He probably couldn’t even get a spot on Celebrity Apprentice for crying out loud. But no, you need someone to fill in the void left by Simon and Mega Man. Someone who could be the best of both worlds, perhaps. Like Simon, a selfish but dashing scoundrel adventurer, but with Mega Man’s robotic science fiction edge. Hm…

There you go!

The stories are written by George Caragonne, Mark McClellan, Chris Henderson and Bryan Leys. The former two were behind the Game Boy series. Bob Layton, Don Hudson, Dennis Woodyard, Mickey Ritter, James Brock, Laura Spofford, Rodney Ramos, Ross Andru and Mike Chen take care of the art. The main format is that each issue has two stories and an extra couples pages for either a quick gag story or exposition on how things work in Videoland. Sometimes this means Captain N showing off his weaponry to the reader while other times it would be the specs on Samus’ ship.

The first issue also has a little two-page intro to give an idea of what the series is about. Princess Lana watches on screens as Kid Icarus fights the Eggplant Wizard, Samus fires missiles at Ridley and Little Mac punches out King Hippo. Hey, why didn’t Little Mac get any play in this? What, they’re not allowed to have two generic, white teenagers on the team?

Is there a reason for why Donkey Kong is wearing a shower cap? Like, okay, the first episode of the cartoon had this sequence where the heroes accidentally warped to Donkey Kong taking a shower, so there was a chase sequence of DK wearing a towel and shower cap. Why is he wearing it here? Did the artist simply watch the first episode and decide that’s what Donkey Kong looks like 24/7? It’s a moot point, since Donkey Kong has no real role in the series and we barely ever see him again.

You might be wondering what WWE wrestler Mike Knox is doing there. That’s actually Uranos, Lord of the Sky. Who is he? I had no idea, so I looked him up. Turns out he’s a Kid Icarus villain. Not even a boss or anything like that. He’s just a regular cannon fodder guy you fight during the third stage’s castle level. Not only that, but the comic makes him out to be a hulking 12-foot-tall giant. Here’s his sprite compared to Kid Icarus.

What an odd inclusion.

The first story is the Fruit and Vegetable War, a goofy little story about Captain N and Kid Icarus ending up in a subsection of the Kid Icarus world made up of sentient vegetation. They get split up and each are drafted into a war between the vegetables and the fruit. Captain N is told by Attila the Honeydew that the vegetables have kidnapped all the tomatoes from their kingdom because they believe tomatoes are vegetables. Captain N knows for certain that tomatoes are fruit and joins their side. Meanwhile, Kid Icarus is begged for help by King Pumpkin, a jack-o-lantern dressed as Cesar. He too is certain that tomatoes are vegetables, but it’s only because the Eggplant Wizard told him! Dun dun DUN!

There are a lot of puns in this little story and I’ll admit that they work. It’s silly enough that I don’t find myself being annoyed.

See? It’s fun. Captain N and Kid Icarus come to blows, but the arguments from both sides allows Kevin to find out that Eggplant Wizard is behind this. He finds that this is all a ruse to empty out the kingdom of Fruitopia so that he can steal the Royal Raspberry Ruby and hold rule over both sides. Captain N is able to stop him in time and bring peace among the animated plant life.

The next story Money Changes Everything shows us the comic’s interesting status quo. Captain N, Princess Lana and Kid Icarus are on the Planet Zebes from Metroid to intercept a delivery of zeebetite, an energy source that Mother Brain needs to survive. Wow. That’s kind of fucked. Like, I can understand going after Mother Brain and killing her in battle, but to cut off her food supply and make her starve to death is kind of a morbid way to take care of a threat in a series like this.

Samus jumps over to them and attacks, but it’s only to kill the alien monsters sneaking up behind them. Captain N returns the favor by shooting the alien monsters behind Samus. What I love here is that the writers are playing up the very little background we know of Samus from the NES days. She isn’t simply a selfless space heroine out to kill Mother Brain because it’s the right thing to do. She’s doing it because she’s a bounty hunter and there’s a huge price on Mother Brain’s head. That’s so rad.

Samus joins the team on their adventure and sustains heavy damage at one point. She warns them that in less than a minute, her armor is going to go critical and blow her to smithereens. Rather than suggest she go starkers, Captain N recollects where there’s an energy tank hidden and uses it to save her.

Whoa. There we go.

On the cartoon, there was a very loose love triangle going on between Kevin, Lana and Simon. Kevin and Lana – being a bland teenage boy and bland teenage girl – were suggested to be relatively into each other. I don’t think anything was ever said, but he’s the nice guy hero and she’s the princess and they’re in a videogame world, so that’s how it pretty much is. Simon, who tried to act competitively with Kevin, would constantly hit on the princess and bask in how handsome he is. He got shot down constantly.

What they ended up with was a semi-capable douche being annoying while the other two had a vague and uninteresting romantic connection. I’m not complaining how it should have been – what with it being a crappy cartoon show for kids – I’m just stating the reality.

That said, Samus turns that on its ear. There is no Simon or dynamic of two guys fighting over a girl. Now it’s two girls fighting over a guy, only with some drama that I actually find myself caring about. Check it out.

I never got why she wasn’t on the show in the first place when her own endboss is the main villain. Did Mother Brain off her with the help of her cronies while nobody was looking?

Captain N’s weapons do no damage and he runs out of power. Samus’ missiles can take out the zeebetite shipment, but Mother Brain (on a monitor) recognizes her as a bounty hunter and suggests a deal. Instead of taking in the $3 million bounty, Samus can turn in the others for $10 million. Samus agrees, as long as she gets to take Captain N. She picks him up and says how the cosmos will be their playground. Captain N shoves her away and tells her to stuff it, but Lana wants him to go. She isn’t happy with it, but at least there will be someone free to carry on the fight without her.

Lana and Kid Icarus are put on a ship and sent off with the zeebetite to be delivered all together. Kid Icarus escapes imprisonment and goes after the pilots/guards, only to find that they’re Captain N and Samus. They had jumped the real guards prior to takeoff, as per Samus’ idea. There’s a quick explanation about how there’s going to be another zeebetite shipment that’ll keep Mother Brain alive or something to make their efforts seem in vain, but Samus now has $10 million in cash and a new ship. The others come to understand that Samus never intended to get Mother Brain or sell them out. She just wanted to scam her.

It ends with Samus hugging Kevin close and saying, “Of course, my brave Captain! I may be greedy, but I’m not stupid.” Kevin’s smiling and Lana’s in the background looking on with a sad frown.

The love triangle stuff not doing it for you? Well, take a look at issue #2.

Captain N attacking Mother Brain may not seem like much, considering the entire series is based on Captain N vs. Mother Brain, but check out his face. He’s fucking pissed!

Read on, mi amigos.

The Happy Zone begins with a big shot of the N-Team fighting an army of videogame villains on Mount Olympus. Not exactly the most detailed image, but check this out.

“Huah, huah! Viva la Fr—oof!”

“Shut the fuck up, Glass Joe. I’m busy with actual threats.”

We also see Princess Lana fighting off King Hippo and the Eggplant Wizard with a long staff-like scepter. She uses this every once in a while in the comic and it only appeared in the concept art for the TV show, but they probably figured it was easier to animate her with no weapons.

Mother Brain is pissed that her flunkies have failed. She needs something to get rid of Captain N forever. Uranos comes up with a plan.

Kevin and Lana go on a picnic and flirt, but then the subject is brought up of Lana’s father. King Charles had been banished by Mother Brain before all this started and it acted as a way to make Lana angst over the course of the entire cartoon series. Then, to her surprise, King Charles appears before them. Lana comes over to embrace him, but it’s really Uranos in disguise. He grabs the Princess and teleports away.

Captain N comes to tell the others, but there are more problems. There’s a huge army on its way and it’ll reach the Palace of Power in an hour. Samus has already come up with a counter-offensive that relies on Captain N’s leadership.

Mother Brain appears on a monitor to show that she’s banished Lana to the Happy Zone. It’s a beautiful forest realm that’s a one-way trip. Once you’re in, there’s no way out.

When I reviewed the Game Boy comic, I gave George Caragonne props for writing a sequence that legitimately made a 6-inch tall Mario look like a badass. Now it’s Kevin Keene’s turn.

Jesus! The last panel is kind of abrupt and all, but look at him go!

Mother Brain escapes, leav… leaving… She… Mother Brain… Wait. Hold on. Sorry, just one second. I have to do this.

Good, got that out of my system.

Mother Brain escapes, leaving the heroes in the smoking crater of kickass that Captain N had created. Kevin tells Lana that letting the portal close was the hardest thing he’s ever had to do, but then starts making out with her and says that this is the easiest. In the background, Samus looks on with her hands on her hips and foot tapping. It’s on now!

There’s a more comedic story called Just a Dog where Captain N, Kid Icarus and Duke the dog are out wandering around and Duke has a bad cold. They stumble upon Eggplant Wizard conversing with a huge army of dark samurai warriors with slit eyes. They’re going to take over the Palace of Power at night and kidnap the Princess. Due to Duke’s sneezing, the N-Team are found out and have no choice but to fight.

They’re overpowered quickly and Duke decides that he’s going to help.

The Eggplant Wizard remembers that Captain N’s there and runs off while Kid Icarus learns a lesson about how useful Duke really is. To tell the truth, Kid Icarus has no right badmouthing anyone. Other than some background action, he’s of absolutely no use in this series.

The third issue features the story Nervous Meltdown. This one is kind of weird. At the Palace of Power, the fusion reactors have shut down due to a computer virus. Kevin yells that thousands will die in an hour if they don’t do something, which is odd when you consider that the only people we’ve ever seen in the palace are Captain N, Lana, Duke, Kid Icarus and Samus. The virus was set up by King Hippo and Eggplant Wizard, who then mess up and accidentally infect Mother Brain too. Mother Brain goes into a coma and if she dies, then their base will go up too. Before realizing the severity of the situation, Eggplant Wizard foreshadows that, “Mother Brain’s so cute when she’s asleep – like a little girl!”

The N-Team and Mother Brain’s cronies have no choice but to team up. Captain N comes up with a plan in that since Mother Brain is the only one who knows the antidote for the computer virus, the only way they can find out what it is is by going inside the brain itself. Even Princess Lana, who’s usually supportive, snaps at him for being completely retarded. Luckily, King Hippo actually is retarded and knows that they have a shrink ray lying around.

The N-Team is put in a ship, get shrunk down and are injected into Mother Brain. Rather than simply fly past some red blood cells like your usual Fantastic Voyage story, they enter Mother Brain’s subconscious. Her subconscious is made up of a bunch of Mother Brains with legs running away in fear of being killed, an army of monstrous N-Team and henchmen stand-ins that represent how she sees them all, an ocean of brown muck and a couple caverns.

The N-Team have to fight their furry doppelgangers and are soon saved by a random little girl with a staff.

The little girl gives them directions to finding the knowledge of what the antidote is. Once they’ve found what they’re looking for, they get back to the ship. The little girl tells them to leave fast. She doesn’t know how much longer she can fend off against the monsters. As they escape, Kevin wonders if there’s any truth to the way Mother Brain sees them. Still shrunken down, they break a hole in the glass of Mother Brain’s containment and tell the henchmen where the antidote is. King Hippo decides that they don’t need to be allies anymore and chases the tiny heroes with a club.

Captain N not only gets the antidote, but makes sure to plug up the hole they made in Mother Brain’s containment unit so she doesn’t die. In the epilogue, he and Lana think back to that spark of good within Mother Brain and hope that it can one day overcome the darkness.

On the surface, it’s a dumb and overly strange story, but looking at it a second time, I can see what they’re going with. This is, after all, a kids’ comic. The first two issues have featured Captain N trying to outright murder the villain, even outside of that hardcore bloodlust sequence. I guess they need some reason, contrived as it may be, to have Kevin want to spare Mother Brain on a regular basis. Even if Mother Brain comes from a game where the entire point is to kill her.

Whatever. It’s never brought up again anyway.

Next story is A Dog’s Life, taking place in Video-Town, where all the various videogame characters hang out. Nobody in there is a legit character outside of a shot of Donkey Kong scaling a skyscraper, but a lot of the shots are completely trippy. They have a family of strawberry’s walking down the street, a group of armed crocodiles in fedoras riding a flying car, barbarians, tanks driving down the street, a guy in a tuxedo shooting lasers out of his fist, and so on. The kind of stuff that John Fogerty sees on his back porch when he’s high.

The main thing going on in this story is that Captain N and Duke have switched brains and nobody else notices. The N-Team have to deal with King Hippo using a stupidity ray on the city to make everyone dumber than him, all while Kevin has to deal with being a dog. He’s separated from the rest and is able to outsmart and defeat King Hippo in his dog form.

Kevin figures out how to set things back to normal and their brains are put back where they’re supposed to be.

This next cover is the first thing I saw when I looked up this comic and it made me so certain it was going to be a complete load of crap.

All we need is Evil Cyborg Captain N and Armored Black Guy Captain N and we’re set, right? Let’s check out The Real Game Master.

The N-Team has been drawn back from attacking Mother Brain’s forces by an army of grasshoppers. Nothing they do seems to hurt them and Kevin’s freaking out because he’s never encountered them in any game before. The whole point of Captain N being the great chosen hero mostly comes from him being an NES know-it-all who knows each game inside out. They never bring up how hundreds of games have come out since he first came to Videoland, making him obsolete. Hell, the last season of his show was packaged together with the Super Mario World cartoon. You think Kevin was even aware that the SNES existed?

Anyway, everyone’s losing faith in Kevin for leading them into such a trap that he couldn’t counter. Turns out they aren’t real anyway. They’re just holograms Mother Brain created with a hologram machine to mess with the N-Team’s heads. Go figure, it worked! Now it’s time for the next step.

The new Eradicator Captain N shows up at the Palace of Power and calls himself the true Game Master. To prove his point, he destroys some of the attacking grasshoppers. Kevin is discouraged, but decides not to leave the team. They’ll work together instead. Mother Brain takes to this development with glee, as it works towards an even better plan.

New and Improved Mullet Hologram Captain N suggests that he and Kevin storm Mother Brain’s Metroid stronghold themselves. They find Mother Brain waiting for them. Kevin’s afraid that this is a trap, but his hologram companion suggests they go right for her head-on. Kevin’s distracted in all of this by the hologram machine in the background.

“Hey, wait – I don’t remember that machine in the Metroid game!!”

Jesus, man! I don’t remember Mother Brain having a face and too much lipstick, but there it is! I don’t remember King Hippo being a Smurf! Of all the things wrong in Videoland, that’s what gets you?

Mother Brain threatens them with a doomsday device. Hey, that wasn’t in the background of Metroid either. Why don’t you call her out on that, genius? Fake Captain N has a plan to destroy the device, but he needs Kevin’s zapper gun to pull it off. Both he and Mother Brain try to goad Kevin into it, but he refuses. He shoots up the hologram-making computer, jumps into a warp zone and gets the hell out of there before the machine explodes.

Yeah, you’re right! Wait a minute…

And then we have…

You bitch.

No wonder Duke’s rolling his eyes.

We haven’t seen anything from Samus in a while, have we. She’s been MIA for about two issues. Thankfully, the issue and a half remaining focus on her.

Breakout begins with Samus guarding Lana in the throne room as Captain Dare of the Federation Police Force storms in insisting on Lana’s arrest. The charges are vast and Lana recognizes them as stuff Mother Brain’s done, but she’s told to, “Tell it to the judge!” Has anyone ever really said that in seriousness in real life?

Samus wants to kick some space cop ass and knows she can do it, but Lana has her stand down. She’ll clear her name in court. Samus follows, due to promising Captain N that she’d protect Lana. Not that she particularly likes the idea.

The two are brought before Judge Racklas. We find out that Racklas is the same alien race as Samus’ enemy Ridley. Mother Brain switched them out and nobody’s noticed. Yeah, well, Samus has noticed and she’s storming the bench. Ridley has her restrained and Captain Dare gives her a super haymaker that does absolutely no damage.

Watch, she doesn’t even flinch!

Prison, eh? I like where this is going. Heh, heh. Giggity.

The two are split up, pissing off Samus since Lana won’t last five minutes without her. On the Lana side of things, she notices how awful the prison conditions are and all the guard brutality going on. She stands up against a guard and gets the attention of Syren, the gang leader of the prisoners. Lana has her assemble a bunch of prisoners so that she can give a hope-filled speech about dignity and adversity. I’d quote this speech if it had been printed. There’s just a panel saying she pulled off this inspiring speech. It convinces the prisoners and they try to clean the place up.

BOOOOORING! What’s Samus up to?

None of you space pirates seem to understand. Samus isn’t locked in there with you. You’re locked in there with Samus!

Later, she stages a prison break by forcing Kraid to make a run for it in front of the guards.


“Are you kidding?! They’ll catch me – I’ll be sent to solitary confinement for a month!”

“A month in solitary or a month in the hospital… it’s your choice.”

The diversion works and Samus is able to sneak around the prison and finds a transport shuttle. She knows where Lana is being held, but wonders if she’s worth saving. She’s probably dead already and even if she isn’t, leaving her to rot would put her one step closer to some hot Captain N/Samus action.

She chooses to rescue Lana anyway. Lana is reluctant, but Syren and the other prisoners tell her she doesn’t belong with them.

Back at the Palace, Captain N talks about how he saved the real judge from Mother Brain and set everything straight. Lana tells him that they need to check up on the Prison World every now and again to make sure the conditions are better. She asks Kevin to leave her with Samus for a minute. He gladly runs off to prepare for their date. He’s taking her to see Pro Wrestling.

Man. Why couldn’t that be in the comic? Now I’ll never get official licensed Starman vs. Kin Corn Karn comic book action.

Lana wants to know why Samus rescued her when she could have left her and shacked up with Kevin. And the whole, “Kevin told me to protect you,” explanation won’t cut it. Samus is honest and says that while she does want to screw attack Kevin in bed, she will win him over fairly. The two shake hands and agree to let the best woman win.

One more issue to go and it has one doozy of a cover.

This is so great.

A King of Shreds and Patches starts with Captain N doing target practice when he should be getting ready for Princess Lana’s birthday party. Lana reminds him that he’s supposed to be there for her first dance and he gives her his word that he’ll be there for it. Watching the two hug in the background, Samus feels bitter and doesn’t get what’s so special about Lana anyway.

As Captain N and Kid Icarus are on their way, they’re attacked by some random Metroid enemies. They fight them off, but Captain N is knocked into the garbage chute. If it were just any garbage chute, he’d be fine, but the Palace of Power has portals that send their garbage to Garbageworld. Lana’s freaking because they’ll never be able to find him. Samus calms her down and reveals a portable space-time warp she bought on the cheap. She’ll jump into the garbage chute portal, warp forward a little bit, catch Kevin and then warp back to the Palace.

She sets her warp device for fifteen minutes into the future and thinks about how this should gain her some points with Kevin. Upon landing, she finds herself in the desolate junkyard that is Garbageworld. Strangely, the background shows a sign for an arcade, which makes me think too hard about these things. I mean, if someone in Videoland creates a videogame and plays it, does that mean that there’s another videogame world within their videogame world? Or would it be added to Videoland in general?

Samus is bewildered to find Kid Icarus there fighting some more Metroid monsters. How did he get there and so fast? She fights alongside him and he seems completely shocked to see her. The monsters are all shot dead in the blink of an eye and Samus only knows one guy with that kind of skill.

It’s an older, more rugged Captain N. He barks orders to a bunch of robot trash cans to make sure that there aren’t any more monsters hiding in the rubble.

Oh, snap! He’s got a mullet too! When he’s done playing tonsil hockey, he’s probably going to track down Enzo Matrix from Reboot and kick his ass for stealing his gig.

Kevin rules Garbageworld with the little garbage bin robots as his subjects/trained soldiers. This little world is the last bastion of freedom in Videoland and he wants Samus as his queen. Samus is surprised at his change of heart, but he becomes distant and says that sometimes things change. Samus thinks about how she’s always wanted Captain N like this – a proud leader that’s into her – but there’s a noticeable sadness to him. Oh, well. She’ll just make the best of it and make him more positive with their joined rule.

That night, the non-aging Kid Icarus enters Samus’ quarters. He knows that with her warp drive, she should be able to go back and prevent this from happening and doesn’t get why she doesn’t do that. Samus refuses because now she and Kevin can be happy together, which is all she cares about. Kid Icarus relays the story of what happened after Captain N and Samus each went missing. A month afterwards, Princess Lana was taken out of the picture by Mother Brain and the Palace of Power was annihilated. Mother Brain took over all of the videogame multiverse with Garbageworld as the final target. It took Kid Icarus years to find Kevin again, but once he did, he was a changed man who continues to blame himself for everything. Kevin remains in Garbageworld as penance for being a gigantic failure.

Samus still doesn’t want to fix things. Kid Icarus gets angry, saying she only cares about herself. The least she can do is ask Captain N what he thinks.

During what’s supposed to be Samus’ coronation as his queen, they’re attacked by more of Mother Brain’s forces. They successfully fend them off with Samus saying how much she loves to fight side-by-side with him like in the old days. The mere mention of “the old days” causes a wave of angst to wash over Kevin. Samus comes to accept that Kid Icarus was right.

“Look, I have a way for us to go back – back before you ever came to Garbageworld! You can have another chance!”

“Huh! What if I blow it again? I couldn’t stand it a second time! I failed! I let everybody down! I deserve to be in Garbageworld!”

“Kevin, remember the night you left… Remember the promise you made to the Princess…”

“I told her… I told her I’d have the first dance with her! I said nothing could keep me away…”

Captain N, back in his younger, non-gritty form goes to the Princess’ birthday party and asks Samus if she’d like to join. Maybe they can get a dance in later. Samus – wearing her helmet to hide her face – walks off and says maybe some other time.

Welp. That was better than any episode of the show. The final story isn’t so bad either. It’s called When Friends Fall Out. It’s about Captain N, Lana, Samus and Duke visiting the Locker, a place for storage and relaxation for bounty hunters. Think of it as the bar from Cheers where Samus is Norm.

Already, Lana and Samus get into a bitchy argument that boils down to Princess calling bounty hunters a bunch of no-good pirates and Samus saying, “Hey, your father legalized bounty hunting. You should ask him about that. OH WAIT!”

They’re trying to find Samus’ locker so they could get a weapon called the Medusa Ray. Kid Icarus had been transformed into a stone statue by a gorgon and they need something that can revert him to normal. Hey, Kid Icarus has no role in this story? Sweet!

Samus’ locker is absolutely huge. Aisles and aisles of weapons and vehicles. As Captain N basks in it all, Lana finds a glowing gear amongst everything and her eyes go wide. She later tells Captain N that it’s the Flame-Chip, a one-of-its-kind treasure that was offered as a reward by Mother Brain for whoever could capture Lana’s father. In other words, Samus was behind King Charles’ disappearance from the very beginning!

Oh shit!

Kevin snaps back at Lana. He isn’t so sure about this, so he’s going to ask Samus for her side of the story. Lana won’t accept that, so she picks up a coffee pot and shatters it on Kevin’s skull. He comes to a couple moments later to find Lana gone… along with his zapper gun!


Samus is in the cafeteria, thinking about how they’d never believe the truth, but that she makes it worse by not saying anything. Lana storms in with gun a-blazing and challenges her. To be fair, Lana isn’t the only one with a short fuse in all of this.

The Lana vs. Samus fight isn’t bad, focusing on Samus’ superior strength and Lana’s speed and resourcefulness. At the same time, Lana is reluctant to have to use the zapper on Samus and kill her. Samus turns into ball form and bowls over Lana, giving her the win.

“I am sorry, little princess. You forced me to fight, and there was only one way it could end. Surrender, and you’ll get safe passage home.”

“I’ll never surrender. You may be stronger than I, but you’ll never have a moment’s peace while I live. I will bring you to justice.”

Captain N runs to the scene, distracting Samus enough that Lana can get a kick to the helmet in and get her distance. Samus is ready to fight him too, but he only wants to know her side of the story. Samus caves and explains.

Sometime back, Samus had been captured by Kraid and Ridley. They hooked her up to a device to brainwash her into a soldier for Mother Brain and that’s all she remembers. She came to in the Locker with the Flame-Chip on her person and no idea of how much time had passed. That’s why she can’t clear her name: she very well may have captured Lana’s father during that blackout, even if she was under the influence. She’ll never know for sure.

Lana has the Medusa Ray and threatens to fire it at Samus unless she turns herself in. Kevin stands in-between the two and says that even though they’ll never know whether or not she’s guilty, Samus has risked her life for them a dozen times over. They should give her some faith. Lana wants to give into the anger, but collapses and apologizes. She misses her father too much and it’s taken hold of her emotions. They decide to continue the mission and go save Kid Icarus.

There’s an odd little epilogue tacked on where the Flame-Chip reveals a consciousness that only animals can hear. It tells Duke that Samus is completely innocent. Samus originally broke free of Kraid and Ridley’s machine, found the Flame-Chip and wandered off in a haze. Samus had no role in King Charles’ disappearance, but the rest of the N-Team may never know the truth. Duke makes whining noises, which is a real downer of a way to end the series.

The issue ends with an image of the next cover, showing that Captain N: The Game Master was cancelled rather abruptly. Even in the letters column for #5, there’s a brief mention that Mega Man and Doctor Wily would be appearing in a future issue. Unfortunately, it would never come to be. I have noticed comic sites listing issue #6, but with no real evidence of its existence other than the above image with the yellow triangle on the right badly edited out.

I still can’t believe I find myself wanting more, but there you go. Captain N didn’t need to be a good series. It would have sold the same no matter, but it hits the kind of quality for something so all-ages that you’d later see out of a Marvel Adventures comic.

I wonder what Captain N is up to these days. Probably retired and went to live out the rest of his days on the beach, watching the Dead or Alive girls play volleyball. I do admit, part of me wishes his cartoon went on for longer. “Touch Fuzzy, Get Dizzy” from Yoshi’s Island would have made for the best anti-drug special ever.

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13 comments to “The Captain N Comic: I’m Gonna Take You Back to the Past…”

  1. “Hold me till forever comes again.”

    I don’t know what that means, but I like it. Good going Gav!

  2. THey never used Samus on the show because the writers were somehow not aware of her existence. So yeah…

  3. I can’t imagine any kid was thinking, “I want to play as that annoying, scratchy-voiced toddler in the green tights!”

    Actually, back in the day Megaman was my favourite character in the show.

    Having Samus in the mix does add an interesting dynamic to the cast, and I actually quite like how imposing she looks, especially as she seems taller than Kevin. Still, it looks kind of awkward when he holds her while she’s wearing her armour.

    Reading these stories about old Nintendo characters has actually got me thinking of the old British Sonic the Comics that I read as a kid. Being a British comic it went with an anthology format, so that while there’d always be a Sonic story or two in it, the other strips would focus on one of Sega’s other properties like Golden Axe, Shinobi or Wonder Boy. They didn’t have a Captain N cross-franchise team though, they just had self-contained stories set in their own worlds.

    Mark Millar actually worked on it, scripting some Sonic and Streets of Rage stories. I wasn’t that fond of the SoR comic back in the day, though that was mostly because I didn’t like the art and my own fanboyish reasons(series poster boy Axel takes a beating in the first issue and slides into the background for a while, poor Adam is erased from existence and Max, Axel’s wrestler mate who always seemed like a side character, took center stage).

  4. Just a heads-up:
    At some point someone here is going to give you shit for using the term “midget.” They will claim that “midget” is just as bad as calling a black person that word you can’t call black people. They will then insist you start using the term “little people.”
    I’m not sure how “little people” is all that much of an improvement. It sounds pretty condescending to me.

  5. “It’s like if Poochy wanted your blood.”

    I have no idea where or when, but I need to work this into casual conversation.

    Also:This pretty much confirms Samus as the biggest badass on the NES doesn’t it?

    I mean, being awesome in Captain N takes some doing.

  6. I’d completely forgotten the dog from the show. They should have made him the Duck Hunt dog instead…

  7. This is so much better than i expected it to be.
    I don’t know if you only showed us the okay parts, but i was pleasantly surprised.

  8. Having stumbled across full scans after reading this article, Maus, I can safely say this comic is mostly okay parts.

    Not, you know, the best thing ever, but for a Captain N comic, it is far better than it has any right to be.

  9. @Bret: “Stumbled across?” If you downloaded it, just say you downloaded it.

  10. Nope. No download this time, oddly.

    Just the whole series posted on a site about the Nintendo Comic System as images.

    I mean, there’s no moral difference, but…

    There is a minor technical one. And I wasn’t particularly looking, so I felt stumbled felt accurate at the time.

  11. This comic looks much deeper than it has any right to be. Nice job, Gavok!

  12. Gavok articles always crack me up, thank you for sharing.

    Also, the sad robot faces in that second to last “Days of Future Past” panel are the real heartbreaker

  13. Oh man, I use to have an issue of this picked up at a dollar store with my grandmother (along with a gi joe and a mario comic) when I was a wee tyke. I probably read it to shreds. Oddly enough, I really enjoyed the fact that Mother Brain’s “good side” looked not unlike an unarmored Samus. Read into that what you will.