Sunday, August 23, 2009

Blogathon 40: Captain Britain and MI:13: Hell Comes to Birmingham

[Discussed in this post: Captain Britain and MI:13 #5-9.]

Issue five was what won me over. Blade joins the cast and stakes Lady J at the end of the issue. Before that, the Black Knight has an awkward conversation with Faiza's parents that's damn funny. It's a quiet issue, pretty light -- which makes the final page that much harsher and surprising. That's when I knew for sure that this was the book for me. Cornell suckered me in, made me think things were alright and then Blade stakes Lady J. Goddamn.

Every issue of this story ends with a cliffhanger of some sort. #5: Blade stakes Lady J; #6: Plokta offers Captain Britain his wife back; #7: Pete Wisdom reveals that the Black Knight doesn't have the Ebony Blade; #8: Captain Midlands is revealed a traitor; #9: Dracula is coming. I don't understand how this title lost readers, because every issue ends with a dare not to pick up the next issue -- and I can't fathom why anyone would take them up on that dare.

Now, if the book were nothing but cliffhangers and teasers, that would be worthless -- it's got a lot of great stuff in the actual issues. This plot, the team preventing a Duke of Hell, Plokta, from taking over a building (and the world) by offering people their deepest desire, is a fairly basis one. Lots of Mindless Ones to fight, lots of temptation. Lady J and Blade bond a little. The Black Knight almost loses control. Captain Britain gets lost in fantasyland for a while. Captain Midlands betrays them all to have his dead wife back -- a contrast to Captain Britain who breaks free of his nearly identical illusion. Blade using a paper sword to cut Plokta. Alistair's form being a bit more maleable... all fantastic.

They eventually defeat and capture Plokta. There's an excellent scene at the end where Pete brings Captain Midlands a gun, hoping they'll avoid a trial. Harsh, brutal, perfect.

The story ends with a teaser for Vampire State, the book's concluding arc -- Dracula invades Britain. Fun fun fun.

Leonard Kirk does good work.

I'll write more in 30 minutes when I discuss Captain Britain and MI:13: Vampire State.

[Don't forget to donate what you can to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund! After you do, let me know via comment or e-mail (found at the righthand side) so I can keep track of donations -- and who to thank.]