Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The resurrection and death of 'Captain Britain'

Sometimes it seems as if every comic I like is going to be canceled.

As you might've heard, Captain Britain and MI-13 will be ending with issue #15, meaning there are just two more issues and an annual left to go before one of the best team books on the stands gets the ax. I'm not sure exactly why the title is being canceled, but I'd guess that like the similarly well-regarded Manhunter and Blue Beetle, MI-13 just couldn't pull in the readership it needed in spite of being popular with critics.

There's a reason it has such a solid fanbase — it's just really, really good. Pulling off a team book is tough, especially when it's about a team of second- and third-string characters most people have to turn to Wikipedia to figure out. But thanks to writer Paul Cornell and artist Leonard Kirk, MI-13 turned out to be among the most interesting and just plain fun comics out there. Hell, it even made me care about Captain Britain.

There is some good news. According to Cornell's blo
g post announcing the cancelation, the current story arc was already written to end with issue #15; as a matter of fact, it was written with the idea that it might be the end of the series itself. Here's what Cornell had to say in his post:

"Lastly, and this is really important, while we didn’t know this would be the last arc until comparatively recently, I had it in mind that it was possible it would be from the time I started plotting it. Indeed, the end of this arc marks the end of what I had planned for the book when I started. One of the images right at the finish is what I always felt I was heading towards, and I’m very pleased I got there. So: you will get a real, thorough, proper, ending, not just of ‘Vampire State,’ but of the whole run. It hasn’t been rushed to fit the space, it hasn’t been compromised, it won’t just suddenly cut off: it’s what I intended. I think the Annual and the two remaining issues finish off one of my best stories in any media, and that story is actually the entirety of Captain Britain and MI-13. You’ll see what I mean a bit more next issue. This is a comic with a proper ending.

That surprisingly goes a long way toward making me feel better about losing such a great book, even though it still bites. Cornell and Kirk brought some great concepts and fantastic scenes to readers, not least of which include:

Doctor Doom and Dracula plotting ... on the moon!

And vampire missiles .... launched from the moon!

Between this and its apparent insistence on raising cover prices, Marvel is producing fewer and fewer books I want to pick up on a monthly basis. Still, gotta make room for the next X-book, right? Maybe Wolverine will be in it!!

Panel from Captain Britain and MI-13 #10
Paul Cornell, writer; Leonard Kirk, penciller; Jay Leisten, inker; Brian Reber, colorist


Khairul H. said...

I can't blame Marvel too much. They are a business and they go to where the money is. I'm blaming the readers. Seriously, guys? You can't get enough of Wolverine? He has like, what, 10 titles each month and you want more? Dang you! Dang you to heck!

Sea-of-Green said...

I've always loved Captain Britain, and the character has been in some of the strongest and BEST stories Marvel has ever published. However, he DOES seem to work better in short, well-written series as opposed to long-running series, which is a shame.

Oh, well. Brian has "died" and "come back to life" several times now. He'll be back someday. :-)

Maxo said...

I only hope that when Captain Britain does make a return, whoever is writing it will remember how he was characterized in this series. Actually, every character in MI-13 has been just perfect.

I'm gonna go sob now. :(