Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Comic Review Wednesdays - Captain Britain and MI:13 #13

Captain Britain and MI:13 #13
Written by Paul Cornell 
Pencils by Adrian Syaf with Leonard Kirk

It seems that the number thirteen truly is unlucky, because as promised on Cornell's blog (linked above), "huge and terrible things happen" in this new issue of Captain Britain. Dracula (yes, Count Dracula) is on a mad crusade for a sovereign vampire state and he has chosen Great Britain to call home. With the mystical precautions set by Van Helsing years earlier destroyed, Great Britain finds itself under siege by a Vampire army. At the same time, team member Faiza's father has been kidnapped and is a mere forty-eight hours away from becoming a vampire, and Spitfire (who is normally a vampire) is now commanding officer of the enemy forces against her will. Needless to say, things are bad and at the end of the issue-- they're only more despairing. 

Before I talk about the issue itself, I'd like to talk about the series as a whole. Now, I started reading Captain Britain the week the third issue came out, and bought the first two issues that same day. I did this for a few reasons, not the least of which being that before I began to read this I was only reading Ms. Marvel, but I also have a strong love for this national icon/ideal characters-- with Steve Rogers dead, and little interest in the budding Bucky, I went for Brian Braddock. Fortunately for me, this title is also among one of the most consistently well-written titles at Marvel. Within the first year of the title, and two and a half story lines-- two characters died, two characters have come back, two significant relationships have formed, an invasion stopped, and a duke of hell shown his place. Within a single issue, it seems that Cornell has managed to trump all of that. 

My only genuine complaint about this particular issue is that the uniforms of the characters of Captain Britain and Union Jack look so similar that it's possible to think Captain Britain threw a belt on and confuse him with Union Jack. Within the context of the issue this is cleared up but it was unclear as to what was happening until that explanation was given. Perhaps also nagging are the cameos that were included in the issue. They serve to explain some rather essential exposition, but the characters could have been anyone, and certainly the cameo avoided if they wanted to. The truth is that Marvel likely told Cornell to throw some cameos in to help sell the comic. 

Otherwise, the issue moves swiftly, and thankfully manages to avoid the bothersome exposition the Cornell has been infusing into the title as of late. Of course, the end of the comic is really it's true merit. As a reader, I can only hope that what has transpired will not be retconned. As dark as it is, it brings a great layer to the story, and with Cornell's title selling less than can be expected-- you never know when the ride might come to an end. With that in mind, Cornell might as well do what he wants for the sake of the story since I'd wager that Britain probably only had six to twelve months left in it. Still, it's an outstanding book, and more people should read it. 

RATING: 8 out of 10.
Great writing on Cornell's part. Great series, and often great art. Everyone should be reading this. I'm sorry this review sucks-- I've been up for like 36 hours and want to go to bed. 

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