Friday, June 05, 2009

Captain Britain and MI-13 Annual #1

Paul Cornell, Mike Collins & Adrian Alphona
Since the very first comic book I ever picked up was an issue of Excalibur, Meggan has been a dear (if not obscure) character in my heart. I was a huge fan of the series and she was my favorite part of preceding Captain Britain comics. So I was, of course, excited to see that an annual of Captain Britain and MI-13 would focus on the character who'd made a brief cameo in a former issue as a supposed figment of Captain Britain's imagination (but to be fair, he was being teased by a demon who offered him and his teammates illusions of what they desired most, and what would Brian want more than his dead beloved wife?).
The entirety of this comic is written by Captain Britain and MI-13 writer Paul Cornell, the main story of which is illustrated by Mike Collins, with Adrian Alphona (of Runaways) doing a little backup story. I love Alphona's art on his "British Magic" story, very cartoony with some really fun bantering between the characters as they play a game of cricket. As the game progresses, Captain Britain recalls some of his favorite moments with Meggan, what he loves about her, and gets distracted from his game. It's a cute story, but it was the art that really grabbed me.
The main story, "The Harrowing of Hell," follows Meggan as she, basically, conquers Hell, becoming a leader to demon forces as she reminisces about her life, from her first brushes with her powers, to the mutant prison she was confined to, to her life with Brian. While I wasn't as taken with Collins art as I was with Alphona's, he does a competent job illustrating Hell and its inhabitants. What I really liked about this story was Cornell's interpretation of Meggan. He really gets her. Her patheticness, her codependency: he understands that and builds on it, forcing her into a role we've never seen her in before, as a strong leader. It's a great contrast. She has such powerful abilities and it's nice to see her wield them with confidence and take her life into her own hands for once. And obviously we'll be seeing more of Meggan in the final issue of Captain Britain and MI-13. It's too bad that the book is ending so suddenly, as it's really gotten increasingly better as it's gone along. But perhaps Cornell will be able to navigate himself back to these characters in a different form in the future.

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