Collecting Captain Britain and MI13 #1-4 a.k.a. The Guns of Avalon Parts 1-4, Captain Britain and MI13 Vol. 1 was a short but fun and promising start to the series. Here’s my review.
Captain Britain and MI13 Vol. 1: Secret Invasion
Story: Paul Cornell
Art: Leonard Kirk
Colors: Brian Reber
The Lion of London
The Captain Britain and MI13 series was launched as a tie-in to Marvel’s 2008 event Secret Invasion. It was one of the few tie-in series that didn’t have strong ties to the main event book, but it held up storywise. There’s nothing like an alien invasion to bring together a bunch of largely unrelated characters new and old.
While the title character is Captain Britain, writer Paul Cornell didn’t skimp on the other characters. Older characters like Spitfire, Black Knight, and Pete Wisdom got to shine while newer ones like Dr. Faiza Hussain and John the Skrull — a Skrull turncoat who spends most of his time using the form of John Lennon — get their time in the spotlight too.
It’s great how Cornell used all of these characters, plus a gaggle of magical creatures and an army of invading shapeshifting aliens, in a tight adventure story with humor and a dash of British patriotism.
Also great is new character Faiza who has such a wholesome, charming personality accompanied by an unsettling set of powers.
Of course, the coolest moments were reserved for Captain Britain himself. He was not always portrayed as the cool character in the past, but in these four issues, Brian Braddock shows everyone why he is Britain’s best and brightest. Why he is THE British superhero.
The Sword Is Drawn
The Guns of Avalon starts with the promise that “the sword will be drawn” as the UK faces an alien invasion. Obviously referring to Excalibur from Arthurian legend, it’s one of the best parts of English mythology, which is why we’ve seen it over and over again in stories across different media.
But the sword being drawn doesn’t just refer to Excalibur, which is drawn twice in this story (both great moments). The sword is also Captain Britain’s new Skrull-kicking team.
It’s a bit corny, but Captain Britain giving a super wholesome speech in the end to declare the formation of his new team works. He wants a team of superheroes who wants to be together, who are friends, who support each other, who do not kill. It’s overly optimistic and that’s why it’s so Captain Britain.
And with that cheesy speech, Captain Britain gives birth to his MI13 crew. A team to take on those who would threaten the British Isles from within and without. The figurative sword is drawn and it’s shiny.
Speaking of drawn, the art here is great. I’ve always enjoyed Leonard Kirk’s work, starting with his Agents of Atlas run with Jeff Parker. I like his attention to detail. However, here, some of the Skrull designs can be too much. Not entirely his fault, though. Ugly chimera-style Skrulls are part of the Secret Invasion story.
With good pacing, a solid set of characters, a fun aliens vs. magic creatures story, and a healthy amount of Captain Britain wholesomeness, Captain Britain and MI13 Vol. 1: Secret Invasion was a great start to the series. Too bad it only lasted 15 issues. Bummer.
The first volume of Captain Britain and MI13 enters The List as the new #5, ranking above The Judas Contract. While it may not be as historically significant as that Teen Titans story, I would rather read this Captain Britain one again any day.
Captain Britain and MI13 Vol. 1: Secret Invasion is available now on Comixology and wherever fine comic books are sold.