Hanna Lafferty ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
On February 12, Geek & Sundry released the first two episodes of their new web series Caper. Created by Amy Berg (executive producer of the now defunct SyFy series Eureka) and Mike Sizemore, Caper follows a group of four down-on-their-luck superheroes as they try to pay bills while fighting crime.
The series is narrated by Penny Blue (Abby Miller), a genius inventor who “liberated” an Iron Man-like robot suit called The Machine from her ex-boss/billionaire Sam Clarke. She lives in the City of Angles with her three roommates, Luke (Harry Shum Jr.), an alien/human hybrid who by day works as a blogger and is meant to be the team’s Clark Kent figure; Dagr (Hartley Sawyer), a Viking from another dimension who was sent by his father to Earth on a dangerous mission and makes rent as an “eye-candy handyman” for rich women; and Alexia (Beth Riesgraf), the team’s Amazon warrior that rejected her upbringing to become an assassin, but then turned away from evil and is now a personal trainer for the wealthy.
Caper takes a multimedia approach by animating the battle sequences between heroes and villains. Between scrounging for cash and fighting off villains such as the Kilt Brahs and the Jackal, the heroes question why four people with accolades and keys to the city can’t afford to buy anything else besides cereal. The team decides that the lack of appreciation and funds from the people of Los Angles justifies a Clarke Industries heist to repair Penny’s suit, which leads to—as the first episode explains at the very beginning—things going horribly wrong.
While Caper attempts to take the most commonly seen superhero tropes and turn them into more relatable figures, the dialogue and the relationships fall flat. The actors have almost no chemistry with each other and the cheesy one-liners meant to emulate superhero vernacular hold very little amusement. “The City of Angles” pun is overrated enough to ask the question: why bother creating a fictional city when an alternate L.A. would have worked just as well? Revealing the plot in the first two minutes of Episode 1 is also a cliché that has run its course and severely cuts down on any surprises the plot might contain.
The portrayal of the sexism that Penny deals with on a daily basis as the female pilot and creator of a robo-suit holds some interest, however without the crutch of being the series’ technical main character, the other heroes’ motives and histories don’t call for closer inspection. Animating the battle sequences is a smart and time-saving idea that pays homage to the comic books Caper tries to play on, but the artistic style is more Sunday Comics than superhero comics. All in all, while Caper had some great ideas for a fun take on traditional superhero typecasts, it lacks the ingenuity and production value to pull it off.