Wednesday, July 22, 2009

CAPTAIN BRITAIN & MI:13 - the post-mortem.

The last issue of Paul Cornell's CAPTAIN BRITAIN & MI:13 is out now in the US, tomorrow in the UK - almost ironic, that, and it's commercial failure has led me to ponder somewhat (for starters, I've just been bending poor old Mark Roberts' ear about it over on his Marvel UK-centric blog, It Came From Darkmoor). So here's some Captain Britain comics I'd rather have had than the one we've just sat through, clapping politely, much like a bored crowd at a provincial cricket match.

It's Captain Britain! by Pete Milligan and Phil Bond. A timelost Brian Braddock bounces from the running battles between Mods and Rockers on Brighton beaches, to the chaos of the Apple building in Saville Row; lurching forward to a lovingly comic mock-epic sequence featuring the formation of heavy metal and glam rock in the post-industrial midlands, as Bond revels in drawing the panels featuring Slade, filling every available space in the backgrounds with the errata of a seventies UK childhood; then with utter inevitability forward to the 100 Club in 1976, as Braddock saves Nick Kent from a gratuitous Sid Vicious beating in the toilet; to Madchester via Joy Division and a chance meeting with the young Morrissey at the Free Trade Hall; before returning to form his own awful hip hop act in modern day Peckham. The mysterious, duelling narrative voices turn out to be thinly-disguised proxies of Martin and Kingsley Amis.

MI:13, What A Pack Of Total Bastards! By Pat Mills and Kev O'Neill. Captain Britain travels the globe, from Derry's walls to the Helmand province, snuffing dissent on the say-so of a shadowy cabal of cunts in Paul Smith suits.

The New Adventures Of Captain Britain by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. Exiting a Teenage Fanclub concert at the Clyde Auditorium, Brian Braddock absent-mindedly follows a striking-looking woman through a maze of dangerous streets full of tenements, masonic lore, phantom deer stalkers, cosmic danger, alternate dimensions and incomprehensible drunks of indeterminate shamanistic intent. These Govan slang-spouting alkies bear a striking resemblance to Alan Moore, Chris Claremont, Jamie Delano and Paul Cornell, and seem to know a lot more than they're letting on. The tight plot is based on a barely-remembered fourth dimensional shape Morrison was privy to in a dream. The last issue features a high stakes fist-fight for the fate of the universe at the end of time, working as a vague metaphor for the editorial interference the creative team bridled against during the much delayed middle issues of the series. The second-last issue is drawn by a Filipino artist whose only visual reference for Glasgow is an old RAB C NESBITT Christmas special on VHS. The last page is actually a re-lettered reprint of the first page of the first issue, 'cus time is circular and all that old bollocks.

Captain Britain Versus The IRA Versus The UDA Versus The INLA versus The UVF versus MI:5 Versus Some Well-Meaning Squaddies Versus Some Drunk Townies: Max by Garth Ennis and John McCrea.

Ah, there's bound to be plenty of others. Suggestions?


David Wynne said...

I would love to read the Mills & ONeill one.

I was going to suggest Warren Ellis write one, but he already did back when no-one was looking, didnt he? I didnt read it, no idea if its any good.

Reds said...

Frank Millers Britain. Captain Britain travels the globe subjugating minorities with bone crunching violence, and setting up a web of trade routes. With fatalist monologues, big feet, and a climatic battle with Uncle Sam - Britain loses, natch.

seth hurley said...

Oh yes, Captain Britain: Through the Ages. Give him the legacy background Marvel has given Iron Fist & Ghost Rider.

The upperclass Braddock family has always served at the behest of the King & Queen. Each generation has had a Captain Britain at the forefront of the expanding British Empire.

See what hand they have had in the shaping of history through their own eyes. Beginning in medieval Scotland & Ireland, to colonial America, India, Africa, Hong Kong, Falklands, the West Indies and back to the streets of Thatchers London.

What happens to the Monarchs knight when the empire begins to fade & a working-class hero called Union Jack takes up the cause of Her Majestys former subjugates?