The First Ten: Captain Britain and MI-13

Welcome back, folks, to our recurring segment in which I take a good hard look at the first ten issues of a comic book series to see how it began. Did it start off with a bang, or did it drag its way to cancellation?

My first article in this series was about the Captain Britain-led superteam book Excalibur from during the '80s, so I figured I’d do my spiritual sequel this time around and cover the Captain Britain-led superteam book Captain Britain and MI-13 from during the 2000s. This 15-issue series ran from August 2008 to September 2009. Sadly,  it wasn't a financial success, but it was a huge critical darling and widely beloved. I believe it followed up on some of the ideas from the Wisdom series, which I haven't read, but I’m sure I'll have no trouble catching up.

So let’s take a good, hard, British look at some comics.


1. The Guns of Avalon, Part One

Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Leonard Kirk

Holy crap. That was one pedal-to-the-metal asskicker of an issue. I…I am blown away.

I mean, Page One, Panel One has Skrull John Lennon, and he's about to be executed. Hard to sell a book any harder than that. It seems that Skrull John Lennon was held over from Wisdom, and I love him. He’s about to be executed because this story is a Secret Invasion tie-in. Folks, we're committing that cardinal sin of comic books! The First issue is a crossover!  This one is great, though. Honestly, most of the Secret Invasion tie-ins were.

This issue is just page after page of British superheroes beating down Super Skrulls, and we start meeting our crew immediately. I’ve always loved Captain Britain, but this is my introduction to Pete Wisdom, and he’s really super fun. I love his bromance with Cap. Black Knight and Spitfire are both fun and charming, but each clearly has some darkness in them. And Faiza Hussain is introduced here. I know what she goes on to and I’m pumped to see it.

Oh, and the issue ends as if Cap’n B is gonna die, but we all know that’s not happening.


2. The Guns of Avalon, Part Two

Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Leonard Kirk

Well, we're not slowing and we’re not stopping. So the plot is simple: The Skrulls attack London in order to raid Avalon, the source of all magic. Captain Britain has died (suuuuuuuure), and the team's been split apart.

Black Knight and Dr. Faiza Hussain are still fighting Skrulls on Earth as Pete, John, and Spitfire are en route to Avalon to help them. While there, they discover Earth’s last hope, Excalibur. The sword, not the superteam; I know that could be confusing. The Skrulls waging full-on war with Avalon is fantastic. They're ready to play, and they're stomping the competition.

My favorite scene in the comic is the one in which the Skrulls catalogue all the magic BS they’ve locked down. Both charming AND scary! Faiza and the Knight have great chemistry, and I really love this version of Dane Whitman. He’s fun and dashing, and he doesn’t even try to cover up the deep s**t he has going on under the surface.

How long will they keep trying to make us believe that Brian is dead? Because his name is in the title, dudes.