Nut Ink. Mini reviews of texts old and new. No fuss. No plot spoilers. No adverts. Occasional competency.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Captain Britain (2002)

Author: Alan Moore | Illustrator: Alan Davis | Page Count: 208

I hit one of you and ten of you get nose-bleeds!  What are you people?

Alan Moore’s only work for Marvel was for the Marvel UK imprint.  For too short a time he took over author duties of the unimaginatively named Capt. Britain.

The bearded-one plays it safe for the first few issues, but Moore being Moore means he can’t contain himself for very long.  Early in his run he chucked the manual out the window, rewrote the character’s origin story in a convincing manner, making the manipulative Merlyn and his daughter Roma much more instrumental in decision making, and turned the Captain into a fully fledged Moore-esque character.  It was exactly what was needed to revive the series.  At times it feels like an episode of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.  He even slips in a quick vision of a dystopian England, much like his V for Vendetta.

It’s very British; The Captain gets deeply frustrated when things don't turn out as expected, and characters display the quirks that define the quintessential Englishman.  However, rather than reinforce stereotypes, it succeeds in turning them into comical strengths.  More than once I found myself in hysterics at the behavioural traits of the group.  The villains are equally ridiculous, with names to match: The Omniversal Majestrix Saturnyne; the Special Executive; the Avant Guard; and Jim Jaspers—with a name like that it sounds like he should be teaching high school Chemistry, not destroying entire worlds.

As the scripts got more insane so too did Alan Davis’ panels grow more adventurous.  Some of the expressions he uses are fantastic.  It’s refreshing to see someone break from a regular routine and admirably rise to a challenge.

The book is noteworthy for also featuring the first purple-haired appearance of the Captain’s twin sister, Betsy Braddock, who works for the British version of S.H.I.E.L.D, called S.T.R.I.K.E.  You may know Betsy better as Psylocke of the X-Men.

The book collects together stories from Marvel Super-Heroes (UK) issues 387 - 388, Daredevils issues 1 - 11, and Mighty World of Marvel V2 7 - 13.

4 superhero pip pips out of 5

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