"Captain Action Cat: The Timestream CATastrophe!" #1 takes an unorthodox crossover concept and dips it in a coating of comic book fun, thanks to the collective creative kookiness of Art Baltazar, Franco Aureliani and Chris Smits. The comic, co-published by Dark Horse, Aw Yeah Comics! and Dynamite, combines action heroes and funny animals in a welcome reprieve from much of today's grim and gritty comic market. It also serves as a nice throwback to a happier time, when such things happened more often, like when Superman or Changeling teamed up with Captain Carrot.
The story opens with Evil Cat and Ghost Bug once more plotting the elimination of Action Cat. Of course it isn't detailed dismemberment or dastardly disfigurement, it is simply "the destruction of Action Cat!" To achieve that end, Evil Cat launches the Timestream! That naturally leads to all sorts of only-happens-in-comics moments involving characters being pulled from different eras and realities. Franco, Smits and Baltazar fill that adventure with fun, introducing Captain Action Cat as the newfound character is pursuing his apparent foe, Dr. Evil Cat, in the Silver-Age (yes, with the hyphen intact). The characters have Silver-Agey plots and devices that are toy-ready, a perfect nod to the Captain Action action figure's gimmick.
No frame of reference is required to join the adventure, but the energy and humor will certainly be augmented with deeper knowledge of either Action Cat, Captain Action or both. Sure, those choices are not as mainstream as "Tiny Titans," but that doesn't make "Captain Action Cat" any less shareable. Simply, this comic book is off the beaten path enough to not be burdened by tropes and expectations. The end result is standard issue, cute work readers have come to expect from Baltazar and Franco. Baltazar's artwork is as fun, brightly-colored and cartoony as ever, resulting in a comic which is engaging for readers of all ages.
With Chris Smits by their side, Aureliani and Baltazar fill out the twenty-two pages with fun, and end it with a cliffhanger, giving readers plenty of bang for their four bucks. I'm curious to see where the story goes and how the inevitable inclusion of Captain Action is handled. This is a series bursting with potential and fun. I'm glad to see it on the racks, and readers of all ages looking for something light-hearted