Written by Paul Cornell
Art by Leonard Kirk
I usually hate all things magic related, especially when we get into things like vampires and what not, but inexplicably find myself absolutely loving Captain Britain And MI13, a title steeped in magic related goodness and of which its current storyarc deals with the Marvel version of Dracula, who is a complete badass and is an early runner for a Best Villain candidate for the 2009 awards.
Just what do you need to know to get into this amazing comic? Nothing. I'm serious. Not a damn thing. I had no experience with any of these characters outside of random guest appearances and the one I know the best, Blade, I only really know from his movies, having never read or cared to read an actual Blade comic.
Despite this lack of knowledge on just about any of the characters, I still find myself connecting and identifying with everyone in the book and never feel like I'm missing crucial backstory or information. It's just obvious who's who, what their motivations are and feels like an original piece of work with no need to go routing through backissue bins or Wikipedia to figure out what's going on with such an eclectic cast of characters. And that's a good thing.
This particular storyline has featured Dracula forging alliances with Dr Doom and his cabal of villains, declaring war on England and attacking our heroes on all fronts, including killing of friends and kidnapping of family members and the enslaving of the vampire hero, Spitfire, who is now compelled to do Dracula's bidding due to his being the grand poobah of vampires. It's all very compelling and incredibly entertaining and has been unlike any other typical super hero book I've read in the way they react and deal with this unbelievable threat.
Speaking of declaring war on England, while it is true Dracula did do this, he reveals here that he did so only to draw out Blade, who knows the location of a sacred artifact that would prevent Dracula and his army of vampires from stepping foot on English soil, basically extending the vampire notion of requiring permission to enter a residence to extend to the entire country.
Suffice to say, things don't go well for our heroes, who rushed to get this article due to Dracula's chess-like maneuvering, as Dracula simply used them to find the actual location of said artifact and promptly sends his forces in to attack and successfully destroys it before it can be used to stop him. Again, even though there's a lot of magical and mystic craziness being thrown around, they never get too bogged down by it and it all flows naturally and just feels like it belongs; something every other magic story seems to get caught up on trying to explain or have come off as deus ex style hand waving solutions.
Verdict - Must Read. I really can't express how good this series has been since day one and it's only been getting better as it goes along. Do yourself a favour and either grab the first trade or jump in on this Dracula storyline. You won't regret it.