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Captain Britain and MI:13 #1

By Paul Cornell and Leonard Kirk

I’m not trying to turn this into a blog solely about Captain Britain, after the previous two posts, but I had to talk about the first issue of the new series starring Marvel’s idea of the equivalent of Captain America.

First off – is it ‘MI13’ (without the colon), as on the cover, or ‘MI:13’ (with the colon) as on the legal box on the first page? The MI5 website doesn’t have a colon, and I guess this is supposed to be the equivalent. I’ve gone with the colon because it looks tidier (the I and the 1 looking too similar), but I need to know.

Secondly – the font for the title. It’s not very … interesting, is it? Rather dull, it isn’t punchy or visually intriguing. The font doesn’t say ‘British’, it’s just non-descript and modern. The logo is okay, but the colours don’t blend with the cover, which makes it seem out of place.

Thirdly – is it me or is the cover rather bland? It is Bryan Hitch, isn’t it? Is he embarrassed because the Captain is so associated with Alan Davis, the man he based his career on in the early days? The soft inks on the faces in the background washes them out, making them less distinct and thereby subduing the power of the image, which is not a good thing.

Fortunately, the inside art is sharp (although Delperdang’s inks fluctuate from sharp to hazy on some pages) – Kirk has a good handle on all the characters and is able to draw the talking heads and action with aplomb.

I have a slight issue with the use of ‘Britain’ as in ‘Why are they hitting Britain this hard?’ because people don’t say that. Cap wouldn’t refer to his country in that way – was it a suggestion from the American editors? Or just to keep consistency with the title? Maybe it’s just me.

The story is straightforward and a good introductory first issue: the UK is under attack from the super-powered Skrulls (they had infiltrated MI:13 through its head, Grimsdale) and MI:13 is the forefront of defence. Peter Wisdom is made head of MI:13, although he seems to be hearing a chanting voice in his head. We are introduced to the characters who will be playing a part in the book: Wisdom, Cap, John the Skrull, Black Knight, Spitfire and Dr Faiza Hussain – she must be somebody because she has a surname (I’ve included links to the CBR profiles of each character, just in case you needed more introducton). There is a specific threat – the Skrulls are after The Seige Perilous, where Captain was given his powers and is the gateway to Otherworld: the Skulls want the magic. So the team has to stop them, which gives us the action scenes (including the ‘punching a Skrull’s head off’). And then it ends on a cliffhanger – good comics.

I really hope that this book does well (Cornell talks about the comic selling well in the UK so that’s a good sign) but it’s still a risky proposition. Fortunately, it’s off to a flying start, with good writing and good art. I’m looking forward to the next issue.

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