I loved “Captain Britain and MI:13” for the way it established the role of the British superhero within the Marvel Universe while also telling highly entertaining and compelling stories. In “Knight and Squire,” Paul Cornell tries to do the same thing for the England of the DC Universe, except the ‘entertaining’ and ‘compelling’ are missing. Reading the second issue of “Knight and Squire,” it begins with some clever character work before falling into a dull, plodding plot that, like the first issue, seems to be lacking in any point besides to yell out that, yes, this comic takes place in England and isn’t it a little different?
The opening of the issue acts as a fun, smart introduction to the characters with a local storeowner sending a supervillain after the Knight and Squire to London, while the Squire, out of costume, stands by. There’s a unique, small town feeling to Wordenshire with everyone seeming to know who the Knight and Squire are and treating their dual identities like any other job, but also with a measure of respect. There’s also a fun sequence of Beryl getting suited up and joining the Knight in an homage to the classic “Batman” pole sequence that plays up the campier nature of these characters.
From there, though, the issue takes a downturn with a dull plot surrounding Morris Men, men dressed in costumes related to a pagan ceremony, and their efforts to return England to a time in its social past before immigration and the supposed degradation of morality. The events of the latter half of the issue seem to seep out rather than hum along nicely like the opening. It’s a very low key and passive sequence with a solution that just sort of happens accidentally rather than through any actions taken by the Knight and Squire. It’s almost as if the two don’t need to do much besides show up, especially when confronted with such benign and non-threatening villains.
Not helping matters is Jimmy Broxton’s inconsistent art. He shifts between
The concept of “Knight and Squire” #2 is solid, but, after a promising, smart opening scene, the issue becomes a boring, flat read. The wit and energy of the characters displayed in their appearances in “Batman” and “Batman and Robin” is replaced with passive action that leans heavily on British cultural references. Except, all that’s here are the references, something Cornell accomplished much more effectively in “Captain Britain and MI:13” by balancing those references with lots of excitement and bold storytelling. No, this comic left me completely cold and wondering what the point is besides having a British superhero book for the sake of having a British superhero book.