Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Captain Britain and MI13 #5 Review

Written by Paul Cornell
Art by Pat Olliffe

I think the best part of this issue, and this is in no way a jab at Leonard Kirk, is that Pat Olliffe did the art. He's by no means the biggest name in comics or anything, but I've been a huge fan of Olliffe since his work on Untold Tales of Spider-Man (amazing and underappreciated series) and Spider-Girl (the original series) and it was great seeing him doing some of his best work in recent memory on this title.

To be honest, this issue of Captain Britain and MI13 read a lot like a first issue of any other series. It's fairly slow, introduces us to the cast and sets up the premise and formation of the team. The only difference is that this was entertaining and these moments meant a lot more after getting to know most of these characters over the course of the first Secret Invasion arc, which also rocked and you should get it regardless of what you think of SI.

The addition of Blade to the team was an interesting one. Much like the characters, I had no idea Blade was from Britain and just assumed he was American. While I don't think you have to be British to be in this book, his inclusion makes a lot more sense with that little bit of context.

One thing that has me a little bit apprehensive is the revelation that Captain Britain's powers post-death will rely on his willpower or state of mind in order to be effective. The way they describe it is that he can go from being nigh invincible at one moment to the equivilent of tissue paper the next, all based on how he feels at the time, very similar to Gladiator, of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard. And like him, I get the feeling this will lead to scenes where he gets taken down with ease and others where he'll just wrap up any problems the team has in a deus ex machina way. It hasn't happened yet, but the seeds have been planted to give the writer that kind of out and I hope he avoids that cliche.

After an issue of nothing but talking heads, it was quite shocking to get to the final pages and see Blade welcoming Spitfire onto the jet just to stab her in the chest for being a vampire. The only problem I can see is that, earlier in the issue, Spitfire showed Jack Flag that she doesn't have fangs or those powers anymore. I'm not sure it meant she's not a vampire anymore or not as I thought she was going around biting Skrull necks left and right in the opening arc - anyone know what's up here?

Anyways, it appears she's "dead", but I'm guessing the good doctor will be performing a miracle save next issue. As far as a cliffhangers go, I was expecting something like this, but not a full blown stake through the heart in graphic detail that this ending showed, which caught me by surprise.

Verdict - Must Read. Best new series in a long time. I don't know these characters, aside from knowing them to see them, I have no prior attachments to them and I can't believe I'm enjoying this as much as I am.

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