Sunday, March 21, 2010

Book-A-Day 2010 # 46 (3/21) -- Captain Britain and MI13, Vol. 1 by Cornell and Kirk

Just to get them out of the way, the full credits here are: written by Paul Cornell, pencilled by Leonard Kirk, inked by Jesse Delperdang with Scott Hanna, kibitzed by about eight million editors, suits, and random Marvel hangers-on.

Captain Britain and MI13 is apparently one of the better recent long-underwear comics; at least, I've seen it mentioned glowingly on a lot of of comics blogs over the past year or so. And this Cornell bloke is also popular among the geeks of the Anglosphere for his Doctor Who scrips and other work. So I decided I might as well take a look at CB & MI13; I don't much care for flayed naked people punching each other these days, but I'm still willing to be convinced by a particularly good story.

This, though, is not a particularly good story. It's a bastard son of shotgun-married parents, begotten out of the dead MAX series Wisdom by a giant thumping prick of a crossover called Secret Invasion. Wisdom, from what I can tell from this book, focused on a government spook with superpowers, Pete Wisdom, who worked in some capacity for the UK's government-superpowered-spook division, MI13. (Since it was a MAX series, I assume he said "shite" and "arse" and "bollocks" and "bugger" a lot, and did more than his share of shagging, bending the elbow, and brooding over his place in a dark, unpleasant universe.) And Secret Invasion, which was I believe two mega-crossovers ago -- it's very hard to keep track when you don't care -- saw the old Fantastic Four villains the Skrulls attempting to conquer Earth for the umpteenth time, in the new modern clenched-teeth fashion and with huge repercussions worldwide, which would resonate throughout the Marvel universe forever...or until the next crossover started up three days later.

So Captain Britain and MI13 begins in the middle, with someone the new reader doesn't recognize getting killed by someone who wasn't on the previous page, and secret skrulls blossoming like particularly unpleasant weeds everywhere. This four-issue storyline is meant to be the "assembling the team" story, but half of the team assembles in one place (CB himself, Wisdom, and Spitfire, who I think is a semi-secretly vampiric heroine from WWII) while the other half (the Black Knight, whom huge Marvel fans might actually have an opinion on, and a random female Muslim doctor named Faiza, who is dull and bland as a tea-towel that's been washed a thousand time) does other things somewhere else.

There's also some hugger-mugger about Avalon -- the mystical otherworld that is the source of England's power, blah blah blah -- which also gets invaded by skrulls, and then saved by some other bad guys that most of us won't recognize. Oh, and CB dies briefly, and for no real reason. You'll recognize all of the plot points as they march past; they're all old favorites.

It ends as we all knew it would: all the heroes together, in a flattened section of London, with dead or frozen skrulls all around, agreeing to fight the good fight and never ever kill any being that isn't a dirty alien skrull, then wandering off in search of a clubhouse, or possibly a spot of tea.

Perhaps this series got better from here, but the story collected in this book is paint-by-numbers crossoverism, and there's no obvious reason to continue unless a reader is really keen on seeing a guy dressed up in the Union Jack punching people on a monthly basis. The art is very much like every other series like this, though Kirk is solidly on the decent anatomy and composition side of the field.

Book-A-Day 2010: The Epic Index
Listening to: Richard Thompson - Ça Plane pour Moi [Live 2003]
via FoxyTunes

1 comment:

Harry Connolly said...

From the praise I heard for this series, this is the comic where Dracula shoots vampires at England from a cannon on his secret moon base.

Now, I haven't read it myself, but that's a fun idea. Maybe things picked up after the Secret Invasion stuff.

Post a Comment