SUPER SPY WEEKEND: Pete Wisdom

Sun, March 9th, 2008 at 12:00am PST

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CBR News Team, Editor

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Cover art from the "Rudiments of Wisdom" TPB, out now.
In the first parts of SUPER SPY WEEKEND, CBR News and Marvel Comics' "Captain Britain and MI:13" writer Paul Cornell took a look at England's archetype for the extraordinary man, Captain Britain along with teammates John the Skrull and Spitfire. Today, Cornell rejoins us for a profile on another cast member, British everyman and team leader Pete Wisdom.

Created by Warren Ellis in the 1990s, rogue mutant secret agent Pete Wisdom is notorious for the tough and often dubious decisions he makes, but Paul Cornell doesn't think those qualities make Wisdom a bad guy. "His saving grace is his sense of duty," the writer told CBR News. "He's just one of those guys who always seems to have to be the one to make hard choices, with no better option. He stumbles into those, and does his best.

"Of course, he also stumbled into the Queen's bed in ancient Camelot and stumbled into making a peace treaty between Avalon and Britain through applied shaggery, so not all of the stumbling is bad," Cornell added, referring to some of Wisdom's past adventures. "And he has a wryness about his own bad luck. I think he actively takes on doing the bad stuff himself sometimes, rather than have other people suffer, that he's still trying to make up for what happened to his Mum. He's quietly a very good guy. But very bad with relationships. And he not only would have no idea about any of the above, he wouldn't recognize it when he reads it. He's a kind of mutant British everyman, my absolute favorite lead character, my messed-up Mary Sue."

Able to throw "hot knives" of energy from his hands, Wisdom's experience operating as both the leader and part of a number of teams -- including X-Force and Excalibur-- and his credentials as both a superhero and government agent means Wisdom is uniquely qualified for the roles he plays in this latest incarnation of MI-13, whose mission is to protect Britain from so-called "weird happenings" involving superpowers and occasionally the supernatural. "He's starting to learn how to lead through consensus, rather than by simply expecting everyone else on the team to have the same sense of duty he does," Cornell explained. "He's not afraid of using his hot knives to say, rip a Skrull agent in half. When it's clear the bad stuff has to be done, he'll do it and he won't worry about it afterwards. He'll do stuff Cap wouldn't."

Not only is Wisdom willing to do the dirty deeds that must be done, he wants to make sure he's the one who does them. "He wants to bring hero back, too," Cornell remarked. "These aren't a black ops team. He'll try and do the bad stuff himself. Although Spitfire, with her wartime background, and with a certain long-buried facet to her life re-emerging, will also be willing to make hard choices, so Pete's got some options about who he can ask."

Female MI-13 teammates Spitfire and Faisa Hussain, a new character, will have infamous ladies' man Pete Wisdom considering other options as well. "Even when he's in a war, he's Pete Wisdom," Cornell laughed. "A big romantic interest for [Spitfire] is going to show up at the start of the second arc, with the new character that's coming in.

"Faisa's a complicated matter. She's quite chaste, in a modern way, and if Pete showed an interest would want to go on a number of very conventional dates with him, have him meet her family and all that. I'm not sure Pete could deal with that obstacle course. I think the witty, tortured nobility of Dane Whitman, the Black Knight, might end up more to Faisa's liking. Pete will have to find some random outings elsewhere. Mind you, an old flame he feels complicated about is back in issue #2."

Pete Wisdom has the abilities and skill set to wage war against a treacherous enemy like the Skrulls. Unfortunately for him, that's not always enough. "It's war," Cornell explained. "He knows what he's doing, but reality conspires to not always let him do it."

Check back later today for the MI-13 agent profile of Faisa Hussain as CBR's SUPER SPY WEEKEND continues!

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