Pick of the Week

May 14, 2008 – Captain Britain and MI:13 #1

What did the
community think?

Avg Rating: 4.1
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 23.3%
Users who pulled this comic:

Size: pages
Price: 2.99

Believe me, I’m as shocked as you are.

We’ve taken a lot of heat in the last few weeks for our feelings on the last few Secret Invasion-related issues. I really, really liked the first issue of Secret Invasion and was all hyped up for the summer action movie story to come only to run at full speed into the hard brick wall that was the next few issues of The New Avengers and The Mighty Avengers and then Secret Invasion #2. Man, nothing happened in those issues! We have moved no further along in the story than were we found ourselves at the end of Secret Invasion #1. Super frustrating for me.

Thankfully we have Paul Cornell, Leonard Kirk and the rest of the Captain Britain and MI:13 team!

In this issue we see the Skrull invasion from the British side of the pond. It’s a nice change of pace as these things usually only take place in the United States and we usually only get to see that point of view. Showing the Skrulls attacking England gives the whole event a greater sense of scope and danger. The unusualness of seeing a more international perspective on this story is even referenced in the story, when one of the rescue workers says

Why us?! I thought they’d go after the States! They got all the bloody super heroes!

Well, no, good sir! We do not have all the bloody super heroes! Not when Captain Britain, Spitfire, The Black Knight, Pete Wisdom, and a sympathetic Skrull (who takes the form of John Lennon) are fighting the good fight! And that’s not to mention the unseen but mentioned Union Jack and someone named Captain Midlands (…really?)!

I am not the Marvel historian that Ron is so I am not as well versed in the intricate histories of all of the characters that appear in this issue as he probably is, but I’ve always liked the British heroes. When I was a young lad there was an issue of Captain America (somewhere in the 200s, maybe?) that featured Captain Britain on the cover and it always stuck with me. I liked that Britain had their own version of Steve Rogers, it seemed natural. It made sense. For some reason I was fine with Captain Britain in the pages of Captain America, but I never had an inclination to follow him to any other books, I never really read Excalibur or anything like that. The Black Knight is the same Black Knight who featured prominently in The Avengers of my formative years. He was someone I always really liked too. I haven’t seen much of him in the last few years and it would appear that he has taken up residence in London and eschewed the classic knight’s costume for jeans and a leather jacket to go with the helmet and the famous Ebony Blade. The rest of cast is made up of Spitfire (who I only know from the old Roy Thomas Invaders books and her brief appearance in the current Captain America series), Pete Wisdom (who I may not have ever encountered in the regular Marvel Universe), and John Lennon the Skrull. I don’t know if John Lennon the Skrull is a new character but he is an awesome character.

The story so far is pretty simple, but exciting. The Skrulls invade England and MI:13 (the British Intelligence agency dealing with the supernatural and the superheroic) deputizes just about every superhero in sight to deal with the invasion. Writer Paul Cornell does a great job with mixing in high action and great character moments. He also gives you all the information you need on the page. You can go into this issue not knowing who any of these characters are and you will not feel lost. All you need to know is that the Skrulls are invading and the Brits (and American ex-pats, apparently) are fighting back. Simple, exciting, and (as Paul Cornell is British) authentic.

I don’t want to diminish the other Secret Invasion books while praising this one, but I guess I kind of am. I have no doubt that, eventually, the main book and the Avengers books will explode with excitement but they’re not there yet. Excitement was what I wanted from Secret Invasion and excitement is what Captain Britain and the MI:13 provided.


Conor Kilpatrick
Man, we loooove #1s, seemingly.

Did you read Captain Britain and the MI:13? Leave a comment and let everyone know what you thought!


  1. Maybe I’ll have to go pick this up, however my pick was Young Liars #3.  That book was brilliant.

  2. WOW – Out of all the recent picks in the last month or so this has surpirsed me the most.

    I was umming and arring sbout picking this and secret invasion fanatstic four up as I have been dissapointed with Mighty avenegers and secret invasion #2 (new avengers has been good) but I may well pick this up now. I havent got my books yet so don’t know what mine would have been.

  3. Huh. I picked this up and put it down due to my personal policy of "trying very hard NOT to go out of my way to buy things because they’re tie-ins." But…the writer and the premise did intrigue me. And…now it’s the PoW. Hmmm. May have to stop by the shop again…


  4. Well i didn’t get to read it, but now i think i might pick it up. However, my POW was Batman 676. One of the big reasons for this pick was because of that last few pages of it. Grant Morrison turned the Joker into the most terrifying SOB in comics.

  5. I second Julian’s sentiment – I read Cap Britain and Batman and – for me – Batman was the hands down Pick of the Week.  Just sayin’.

  6. Thumbed through "Batman" and it didn’t do it for me… I’ve really been displeased with Morrison’s run… don’t even remember seeing this "Captain Britain" book, but I’ll definitely go back for it… ironically, my POW would probably have been the FF/Secret Invasion book.  That was a lot of fun and filled in some of the blanks from SI#1.

  7. Conor – fantastic pick. And not a typical "Conor pick", so kudos to you, hombre.

    Like you, I loved erstatz John Lennon. I know nothing about Pete Wisdom, but he seemed cool. The Black Knight explaining why he has to be a smartass – nothing short of awesome.



  8. Awsome pick Conor! I was afraid that given the sales of Cornell’s equally awesome Wisdom miniseries people would overlook this. If you enjoyed this you need to check that series out! It’s all collected in a trade so should be easy to track down.

  9. There was one copy of this book left when I went to the shop and I passed on it.  Did the Secret Invasion moniker have something to do with it?  Maybe.  But mostly, I don’t really have much interest in this story.  But, I’m glad to hear it was good.

    My pick this week was most definitely Guardians of the Galaxy #1.  Abnett and Lanning are fast becoming two of my favorite creators as this book was a lot of sci-fi fun.  I can’t wait for the next issue.

  10. Oh, and I third Julian and youngday:  The Joker is one scary ass m’fer.  For reals. 

  11. Wow, if it were Ron’s pick, sure, I wouldn’t be surprised at this at all, but you Conor!? That being said, I really liked this book too…liked it way more than I thought I would. It really caught me by surprise.

  12. Guess I picked the wrong Secret Invasion crossover book… I picked up SI: Fantastic Four, and was b-o-r-e-d.  The events of that book just so don’t seem to matter to anything…! 

    My POW would likely have been Locke & Key #4… I am absolutely LOVING that series… it’s like Chronicles of Narnia meets… Silence of the Lambs?… meets… Preacher..? Or something?

  13. Son of a bitch… the one Secret Invasion tie in I skipped.

  14. Oh, good! I took a chance and put this in my mail order for the week a while back; since then, I’ve had anticipatory buyer’s remorse. "Oh, no, I’ve been had again, haven’t I?" Now I can await its arrival knowing that at least one person with taste I trust thought it was good.

  15. I saw this book on the shelf and decided to not grab it because I haven’t read about any of the british Marvel heroes except in the Ultimates.  Next week I will definately pick this one up.

  16. When I saw this as the POTW, I thought it was Ron’s pick.  Good on you Conor, great choice as this book was a lot of fun.  Hope you guys talk about the Thunderbolts this week as it was my favorite in my stack. 

  17. i loved this book, and loved that it tkaes place in my homeland. Yes britain loves comics too (we even had our own comicon last weekend, dc showed up but no marvel, boooo). but i also loved the mighty and new tie ins, i love the fact that htey are both filling in the major subplots, and answering the big questions. heaven forbid a book focusses more on plot than action, but i’ve loved them all. So far all the invasion tie ins have been worth my money, i’ve had action, adventure and learnt a thing or two that i never knew about the marvbel universe. They may not have turned up to our comicon but man they can write a good book

    Ads The brit in a hat

  18. @Conor: John the Skrull and Captain Midlands both appeared in Cornell’s Wisdom MAX series last year.

    John turns up there, and it is explained that he was part of a failed four man covert invasion the Skrulls attempted back in the 60s, attempting to replace The Beatles. There’s some brilliant glimpses of that past, including conflict with the group, when John turned up with a Kree Yoko Ono. 😀

    Captain Midlands is the surviving member of a British lower-budget attempt at a regionalized super-soldier program. He dresses as a British Squaddie in camouflage gear, with a very ornate shield. Think of him as a 65 yr old version of Captain America, who was never frozen in ice, is grumpy as hell, and talks like Ozzy Osbourne. ;D

  19. Interesting pick. As much as the idea of Secret Invasion bores me, maybe I’ll pick this up soon since I coincidentally bought the Alan Moore/Alan Davis Captain Britain collection a few days ago.

    Batman 676 was really the only possible POTW for me this week. A good issue but I’m still waiting for something to equal or surpass issues 673 and 674, which I thought were really fascinating in their constructions, execusions and suggestivenesseses. But the best thing is… issue 677 is scheduled for release in only two weeks.

  20. Seeing the pick I would have guessed it was Ron’s.

    This is a rare book that makes me slightly regret not getting monthlies. I like the subject material and the writer. Ah well, something to look forward to.

  21. 3 #1’s in a row?  Booo hisss.

  22. I really liked this book, not as much as GLC, but still all the same. I just have two things:

    1) Did anyone else have a misprinted issue? There seemed to be a random page with the Black Knight and the doctor in a random place, and then all of a sudden the helicopter gets shot down…

    2) What happened to Dane Whitman, the Black Knight from Heroes for Hire (and I always assumed the only Black Knight)? And what the heck’s this Ebony Sword thing? Where’d the Sword of Light/Shield of Night go?

  23. and scratch that… I thought Peter and the Black Knight were the same person and apparently they aren’t. I guess that fixes my first problem too, cool

  24. Apparently we always pick 3 #1’s in a row.  We did it before with Kickass, Logan, and Zorro.


  25. @deezer the Ebony blade is the weapon of the Black Knight but it has a corrupting influence on the wielder and thus he has to be flippant.

  26. @Deezer – Nobody knows where Dane’s Light Weapons went. He had them in H4H, but when he next appeared, in 2000’s Excalibur mini he had the Ebony Blade back, and has in every appearance since.

     The Ebony Blade was his original weapon. It a bad, nasty thing which corrupts men’s souls. It has been established that there have been countless Black Knights across the centuries, even before the days of Camelot, and they’re purpose was to protect the blade – stopping it from falling into the hands of those who would use it for conquest. The only problem is that each Knight knows that the blade will slowly corrupt them, and in the end they will be driven insane, just like Dane’s predecessor, the Golden Age Black knight.

  27. I totally was not going to buy this, but I’m signed up for all the Secret Invasion tie-ins at my store and I didn’t realize the first issue was a tie-in.

    Turned out it was pretty good, so I’ll keep getting it until SI is over. Not sure I’ll keep it after that, since I normally don’t like Pete Wisdom and they’ve drawn Alistaire Stewart ALL WRONG in this book. Still, it’s nice to see Spitfire again and if they keep her and add Union Jack, I may have to continue buying it. 

  28. Wow, I kind of want to buy this because there’s a dude named ‘Captain Midlands.’ 

    I wasn’t bored by any books I bought this week, but I didn’t really love any of them either.  I thought ‘Huntress: Year One’ had potential, though I was a little lost.  Then my friend told me it’s basically a sequel to the ‘Cry for Blood,’ trade.  So I’m ordering that and I hope that will help.

    I bought ‘Batman’ and was kind of lost because I thought I had read the previous issue.  Then I realized I hadn’t, so I went back and got it (and I’m kicking myself now b/c it would have been great to read 675 unspoiled).  But anyway, without knowing much of anything about Morrison’s take on Bats, I’m still pretty intrigued.  

  29. This was a strong week for books. I gotta agree with this pick. It was a nice surprise for me. I had no expectations going in and it blew me away. Loved the art, loved the characters, and the writing. I read Batman as well, it was a close second for me.

  30. This felt like a cool little off shoot, I’m curious as to where it will go.

    As for the other SI stories, they might not be getting us anywhere big, but I enjoy the slow steady pace, you gotta save the big guns for later on. Right now I can feel it all building, and I like that feeling.

  31. Hey look kids, it’s a great Secret Invasion tie-in. Writer Paul Cornell (Doctor Who, Primeval, Marvel’s Wisdom mini-series), penciller Leonard Kirk (Supergirl,JSA)and colleagues present a tale of Britain’s greatest heroes in a time of trial.

    Said heroes are Cap aka Brian Braddock, ‘hot knife’-throwing spy Pete Wisdom, speedster-vampire Spitfire, John the good Skrull Beatle, Dr Faiza Hussain and ex-pat Yank the Black Knight, happily working together to prevent the Skrulls gaining a magical foothold in Blighty (as no one has called Britain since about 1930). ‘Efficient’ isn’t the sexiest of words but that just what this issue is in terms of scene and character-setting, and wonderfully so. Characters are introduced on the fly, their personalities and powers sketched in with economy (with the exception of new character, reader POV person Faiza – I guess we’ll see what she can do outside of triage next issue) as super Skrulls are beaten up left, right and centre.

    Cornell’s dialogue makes the characters sound British without being ‘jolly hockey sticks’ caricatures. Captain Britain comes across better than he has in years – no more the oaf or alcoholic – while Dane Whitman gets a well-motivated character tweak.

    Leonard Kirk and inker Jesse Delperdang tell the story well, with attractive figures in motion against nicely rendered backgrounds. What’s more, they give great hair. Forget good girl art, this is great hair art – look at Pete’s flying forelock, gaze in awe at Dane’s new do!

    There’s also a jolly nice (oops, I DO talk like that) Brian Hitch cover and a smart logo harking back to The Avengers (Sixties TV show, not the comic Marvel once published). If you’ve room for an extra buy this week, try this comic.

  32. @Mart – I’ve heard "Blighty" used quite a bit in the last few years.

  33. Ah, but by a British person in a non-fictional, non-ironic context?

  34. @Mart – When are Brits *not* being ironic?  😉

  35. @ mart-he’s got a point

    the Brit in a Hat

  36. Hi Adam – who has the point, me or Conor? Please say me, you hat-wearing genius, you . . .

  37. @Mart I say you have the point not only b/c your a fellow brit but also b/c untill conor’s review id never heard the word Blighty.

  38. The only thing I didn’t like about this issue, but as a secret invasion thing in general was that the invasion is not so secret anymore (well I should’ve assumed it at the end of Secret Invasion 2) but now seeing everyone fighting and aware of the skrull threat steals some of the charm that Secret Invasion was supposed to have (In my head) It seems like the Secret Invasion was all the previous stories from the death of elektra and now it’s Skrull Battle. Well I’ll have to see what comes on #3

    I liked this very much though, Looooved the art – Black Knight’s splash page, woooow. 

  39. My very belated POW — because I forgot to buy it until yesterday — was ‘Thunderbolts.’  I’ve enjoyed this whole arc, though it’s been slow coming out, but Ellis particularly knocked this one out of the park. He can keep writing crazy Norman Osborn forever, as far as I’m concerned. 

  40. I’ve always been intrigued by Captain Britain. I remember first stumbling across him when I picked up Excalibur over 20 years ago. So when I saw this title, I immediately snagged it. It also makes me feel less like a sucker for buying into all the SI tie-ins too.

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