SUPER SPY WEEKEND: Captain Britain

Fri, March 7th, 2008 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Dave Richards, Staff Writer

Captain Britain sketches by series artist Leonard Kirk.
England has weathered many invasions over the centuries, but if the proud island nation is to survive the onslaught of the shapeshifting Skrulls in the upcoming "Secret Invasion" event, she's going to need more than an individual hero, she'ss going to need an entire team of champions. Such a band comes together this May in Marvel Comics' new ongoing series "Captain Britain and MI:13" by Paul Cornell and Leonard Kirk.

Throughout this weekend, CBR News and series writer Cornell will bring you profiles on the individual heroes who comprise the ranks of the UK's newest squad of protectors. We begin SUPER SPY WEEKEND by turning the spotlight on Brian Braddock, the hero better known as Captain Britain.

Brian Braddock became Captain Britain when the legendary sorcerer Merlyn and his daughter Roma bestowed upon Braddock the Amulet of Right and the Star Sceptre. These mystical artifacts, which Merlyn later fused together and turned into Captain Britain's costume, gave Braddock a number of superhuman powers -- most notably vast strength and endurance as well as the ability fly.

When Braddock began his career as Captain Britain, he thought he was a one-of-a-kind hero, but months later he discovered he was wrong. Across the myriad alternate realities of the Marvel Universe, there exists a number of Captain Britains, each one tasked with defending their reality's version of Britain. But in times of great interdimensional peril, Merlyn's daughter Roma gathered these champions together into an army called the Captain Britain Corps.

When "Captain Britain and MI: 13" begins, Brian Braddock has been cut off from the extra-dimensional Captain Britain Corps but is ready to resume his role as a national symbol. "He's got a war to fight, so he doesn't go on about it," Paul Cornell told CBR News. "And he's missing his wife; longs to know where she is. But he doesn't think now would be the time to mention that. I do want to show more of Brian having a wry sense of humor, actually, one apt for his brand of heroism. We'll get to that, but in the first few issues--hey, it's war!"

Cornell sees Captain Britain as the British equivalent of another national champion, the late Captain America, Steve Rogers. "[Brian's] a normal guy who's been given great power, and does his best to symbolize his country," Paul Cornell told CBR News. "I think both countries see our strengths the same way: solid in the face of adversity and all that.

"But we British like to go one up on that by doing the heroic thing and then--not mentioning it. Call it post traumatic stress syndrome if you like, but when I asked the elderly Commando Major who used to live downstairs from me what he got those medals for, that he was wearing in the oil painting, he said he'd prefer not to talk about it. And then didn't. We call it the stiff upper lip, the ability to carry on as normal and make dry, witty, comments while the bombs are going off. Captain Britain is that.

"'Wheni> we've won...' is how he starts one sentence about the Skrull attack," Cornell continued. "Captain Britain can make grown men weep at the sight of him. The air around him is warm like a summer meadow. He smells of honey. If he had a theme, it'd be by Vaughan Williams. He is not an amiable buffoon. He is not an alcoholic -- he drinks normally for a European and not often to excess. He will fight them on the beaches. He will never surrender."

Their country's state of war means Captain Britain and MI-13 leader Pete Wisdom's working relationship won't be as volatile as it's been in the past. "He's the icon Peter looks to and secretly feels a bit in awe of," Cornel stated. "That's been at the root of all the anger between them, and Pete acknowledges that in the first issue, makes things right between them in the face of war."

However, Cornell revealed, a new source of tension will arise between the two men as the series progresses.

Taking England means the Skrulls will have to take on Captain Britain, which can't be something the shapeshifters are looking forward to, as "Secret Invasion" editor Tom Brevoort agreed in a recent edition of CBR's EARTH'S MOST WANTED. "He's Captain bloody Britain!" Cornell stated. "They'd better be afraid of him."

SUPER SPY WEEKEND continues tomorrow with Paul Cornell and profiles of MI-13 agents Spitfire and John The Skrull!

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