Sunday, September 8, 2013


Since I haven't taken the time in my series of Captain Britain reviews to speak about the books themselves, I think I'll do so here.  The stories I've been reviewing are contained in three volumes: BIRTH OF A LEGEND, SIEGE OF CAMELOT, and the CAPTAIN BRITAIN OMNIBUS.

Like almost all of Marvel's collected editions these days, the books are absolutely beautiful.  They're filled with bonus material, and the graphic design is top-notch.  I was disappointed to find that the color portion of BIRTH OF A LEGEND is not remastered like the majority of Marvel's current work, and the dot matrix printing of the era is clearly visible.  This is not an issue when the stories switch to black and white for the remainder of the volume, nor is it a problem for SIEGE OF CAMELOT, which is almost entirely black and white, but it's still a bit annoying.

For the record, SIEGE has a small section in color -- the MARVEL TEAM-UP issues were originally printed in color and were remastered relatively recently for a trade paperback reprinting the full Claremont/Byrne run on that title, so those pages were used here, as well.

I love having these books on my shelf -- they look terrific.  As my reviews have made clear, the material collected within is not terribly engrossing, but on a purely aesthetic level, I'm glad I own them.

As I understand it, the material collected in the CAPTAIN BRITAIN OMNIBUS was originally published in black and white, but was recolored over the years for various collections.  I'm glad Marvel went with the colored version rather than the black and white, because the colors are fantastic.  This may seem like a no-brainer decision, but Marvel's current collected editions department has this annoying "warts and all" approach to their books, not even fixing glaring color mistakes for their classic reprints.  So a completely black and white Cap omnibus would not have surprised me.

As with most all of Marvel's omnibus collections, a great deal of care went into the preparation of this volume.  I previously owned a trade paperback of the Davis-Moore run, and the difference between that book and this one is night and day.  You pretty much have to see it to appreciate it, but if given the chance, I highly recommend upgrading to this book if you have any previous editions of the Davis Captain Britain material.

I purchased BIRTH and SIEGE at a steep discount (but still new), and I'm glad I didn't pay anything resembling full price. I wouldn't even pay Amazon prices for these books.  On the other hand, I paid a bit of a premium for the Omnibus.  I wasn't interested when it first came out, but when I eventually realized it had more Alan Davis than just the Moore material, plus a great deal of Cap's backstory relevant to his EXCALIBUR appearances, I had to get it.

I only wanted the cover in the Davis costume; not the original outfit, and for some inexplicible reason, that cover was the variant even though it's the only outfit Cap wears in the whole book!  So I waited, searched, and eventually found it used for a little more than cover price.  I'm happy I have it, and I justified the extra cost by averaging the total I paid for all three books.  I don't see myself ever parting with it.

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