We’re Able As F*@% Now! – CAPABLE #1 Review
Writer: Johnathan Hendrick
Artist: Gino Kasmyanto
Colorist: Periya Pillai
Letterer: Steve Ekstrom
For Mature Readers
Representation is important in comic books. Not every reader can relate to the muscled Caucasian heroes that have flooded the market for decades. Diversity has been on the rise in comics for awhile now, but in the mainstream it can often come across as tokenism. Obviously there are comics that explore themes of race or diversity, and comic books that feature minority characters defined by more than just their race or ethnicity, but there’s still room for further and more widespread representation. Main characters, especially heroes, with disabilities seem to be even rarer. Sure there are some examples, but disabled comic book characters are still very underrepresented. It’s always nice to find an original comic that chooses to rise above the status quo. Capable #1 is that kind of comic book.
Capable, independently published by Johnathan Hendrick, is a shining example of the importance of representation in comics. The book’s main character Derick is both black and confined to a wheelchair. Aside from these details, in the first few pages the reader learns that Derick is witty and has a big heart. Hendrick does a good job of showing the reader that Derick is a regular kid, instead of using the character’s disability to pander sympathy. Derick is the kind of person every single reader can relate to in some way.
I really like the bright color palette used by Pillai. It gave a modern, almost digital look to Kasmyanto’s classic line work and inking. The art team does thoughtful work all through the comic. The perspective makes it clear what is happening in each panel. Which is impressive as many of the panels are drawn as close-ups, yet no detail is lost. The colors add definition and shadow, making Derick’s world feel real. Letterer Steve Ekstrom does a great job of fitting the dialogue into each panel in such a way that the images are never crowded. The use of visual onomatopoeia was a clever touch. I smiled every time I saw the “boof” drawn on the page, signaling Derick was using his power.
Capable is targeted for mature readers, presumably because of the use of derogatory language and cursing, but I don’t think these are severe enough that younger readers shouldn’t be allowed to read it. It’s an important book that a lot of readers can relate to, so with some parental guidance it’s definitely worth the exposure to the language. Capable #1 is available for purchase on Comixology for only $1.99. The ending of the first issue leaves the reader wanting more. Luckily, the second issue is in production. You can help Hendrick complete the project by donating to his Kickstarter.