Dear Anyone Not Reading “Captain Britain and MI:13,”
Because everyone else is saying it whenever discussing this book: “Captain Britain and MI:13” is not cancelled! And thank god for that, because it is among the best comics Marvel is currently publishing. But, you already know that, don’t you? Enough people keep saying it, so you must have heard it at some point. If not, I’m telling you right now, so there’s no excuse for not knowing just how good “Captain Britain and MI:13” truly is. What’s even better is that issue ten is a fantastic place to jump aboard, so there’s also no excuse for not picking up the title.
This issue is the prologue to the next storyarc, “Vampire State,” which has Dracula ruling over a group of vampires on the moon and invading England in an effort to create a new vampire nation. However, that plot is just set in motion here with Dracula meeting with Dr. Doom to set up a truce before launching straight into his plan to conquer England.
The majority of the issue focuses on the downtown of the MI:13 team, allowing unfamiliar readers like yourself to become acquainted with these wonderful characters. Pete Wisdom hits a bar with Brian Braddock and does everything in his power to seduce a young backpacking traveler, including pretending to be the good Captain’s agent. “I’m in charge of Brian’s hair,” he tells her as a segue to complimenting her hair. Braddock is the upstanding gentleman, shocked and amused at Wisdom’s shamelessness, while confiding in the girls’ traveling companion.
Lady J and Blade have a... well, ‘date’ isn’t the right word, but I’m not sure what else to call it, at an SAS pub. Here, Paul Cornell does something rather remarkable: he gives Blade a personality beyond cheesy one-liners growled before staking a vampire. His budding relationship with Lady J shows him growing and changing, and becoming an interesting and compelling character.
Where Cornell’s skills really shine, though, are in the scenes with the Black Knight and Faiza, the Islamic doctor with strange healing powers and current bearer of Excalibur. The Black Knight recently took her on as his steward and she isn’t quite sure what that means, especially with regards to the feelings she has for him. It’s pure soap opera schmaltz, but in a good way.
But, wait, there’s more! Leonard Kirk’s art has never looked better than it does here. While issues preceding this one have mostly taken place in bright, well-lit settings, here, Kirk deals more with darkness and shadows, and his art is more evocative than ever. As this is a more “down” issue, he also handles body language and facial expressions with deft skill, illustrating characters so their looks match their words perfectly. When the Black Knight says he has a heart of stone, his face says the same thing.
As with previous issues, this one ends on a cliffhanger that shows Dracula’s invasion is in high gear even before MI:13 realize he’s coming. Really, this issue is so good that, if you give it a shot, I guarantee you will want the next -- and maybe the first nine, too. But, don’t just take my word for it, give the five-page preview and look and see the fine work of Cornell and Kirk. You won’t regret it and, maybe, you’ll discover why everyone is proclaiming with joy that “Captain Britain and MI:13” isn’t cancelled. Please?