Friday, May 16, 2008

Captain Britain and MI-13 #1

Paul Cornell & Leonard Kirk

A new on-going series launched this past week from Marvel, sort of spinning out of events from Secret Invasion, although it was originally intended to be a new Excalibur series. Captain Britain and MI-13 follows the former leader of Excalibur and other British superheroes as they, at least initially, deal with the invasion of the skrulls on their side of the world. Paul Cornell was the writer behind the recent MAX series Wisdom, and of course the star of that particular mini-series, Pete Wisdom, is also prominent in this new book. Other characters involved include Black Knight, Spitfire, the good skrull John and a new character - a human doctor named Faiza Hussain who gets caught in the blast of some skrull device before the issue ends. While Black Knight and Faiza Hussain work to save bystanders of the skrull invasion ships on the streets, the other superpowered members of MI-13 work to prevent the skrulls from reaching the portal to the magical Otherworld.

While I was less than impressed with the initial issues of Wisdom, Paul Cornell kicks Captain Britain and MI-13 off to a decent start. Lots of action with nice introductions to the characters involved, already setting up the roles that each will play within MI-13. Leonard Kirk does a nice job of illustrating the issue with some very neat fight sequences, and paces events pretty much perfectly. I'm not familiar with the character of Spitfire, so when she began to rip skrull's jugulars out with her teeth, I was a little...unsettled, perhaps, but it turns out that she was bitten by a vampire in the past and although she had a transfusion shortly thereafter, there seems to be some lasting effects of the experience, something that the creators are sure to touch on in future issues of the book. It's a good team of characters overall, though I'm not quite sold on John the skrull who adopts the look of the deceased Beatles member. It's a fun book, but I'm kind of glad that they didn't launch this as yet another new Excalibur series in wake of the dreadful ones we've had to suffer through since the original. The only thing in common with that original book are a few characters and the location. The tone and feel are all wrong, things that made the light-hearted, silly-but-serious-when-it-needed-to-be Excalibur distinct among the dozens of other X-titles out at the time. While this is a great beginning to a new darkish government-funded superhero team, it's hardly unique to other superhero books.

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