Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Much like "The Cross-Time Caper", my Captain Britain review series was intended to be relatively short. I figured maybe one post per book, except two for the Omnibus -- a total of eleven installments. But here we are on part eighteen! Hopefully folks have stayed with me this long. As I noted way back when I stated the series, I hadn't intended on blogging when I read the stories, so my "reviews" are little more than recaps with my own random thoughts tossed in, stream-of-consciousness style. My next, much shorter review series -- to be announced on Monday -- will be in the same format, but then I'll get into issue-by-issue reviews of a classic Marvel run, which will be structured more like my TRANSFORMERS series.

So if you've made it this far into my ramblings on the subject of Captain Britain, I really appreciate that. Let's see of we can tough it out for one last post. Much like Alan Davis at this stage in EXCALIBUR, I'm starting to get a little bored with my subject matter!

Note: This volume begins with two unbearably awful fill-in issues by Scott Lobdell with absolutely horrendous art by Scott Kolins. I mean, you need to see them to understand just how bad they are. I'm not exaggerating one iota when I say they are two of the worst comic books I have ever read. Please understand: they aren't "so bad that they're good". These issues will leave you feeling like they stole precious time from your life that you can never get back. I thought I had read some awful comics before, but then I read these two issues and realized I'd had no idea what "awful comics" even were.

Needless to say, I did not re-read them with the other stories.

So -- when last we left our heroes, they had learned that Sat-Yr-9 had murdered and replaced Courtney Ross, and Captain Britain had vowed to track her down and make her pay.  Unfortunately, this would become a huge dangling plotline.  Davis would leave the series before a rematch between Excalibur and Sat-Yr-9, and subsequent writers would totally ignore the set-up.

As a side note -- when Chris Claremont returned to some of these characters many years later, around 2004, Sat-Yr-9 was still masquerading as Courtney and working at Fraser's Bank.  You'd think Cap would've had an easier time finding her if she kept her day job!!  But then, Claremont's Cap was never exactly known for his common sense.

My own opinion is that Davis's next story arc, five issues long, is a huge dud.  Davis revisits the RCX, the Warpies, and the Cherubim from his final days on the U.K. CAPTAIN BRITAIN series.  those stories were boring the first time around, and I doubt anyone was clamoring for the characters' return.  Fortunately, Captain Britain is somewhat removed from the action, so there's not a lot to cover here.  He once again believes he's losing his powers, but this time the cause is the uniform he's been wearing since the "Cross-Time Caper" -- it is attuned to the world it came from, not our own.  Roma appears and fixes the problem, bringing our hero back to full fighting strength.  This is basically the extent of Cap's participation in the storyline.  An interesting choice, given that the entire plot has its origin in his old solo series.

It's interesting to note that Davis is still acting as though Cap's adventures take place in real time.  There is a statement made during the story that it's been five years since Cap's U.K. series ended, which makes no sense at all in the context of "Marvel Time".  But real time had been an aspect of Cap's stories dating all the way back to the Black Knight serials, so it's not exactly unprecedented -- just odd.

The next story arc features a trip to Phoenix's future -- the world of "Days of Future Past".  We see the Sentinel-ruled world from the point of view of Marvel U.K., but once again, Cap's participation is minimal.  The story ends with Excalibur, still in the future, reaffirming their status as a team, and perhaps -- a family.

There is, despite the above Cap-lean descriptions, one major event in the life of Brian Braddock within these pages.  Our hero proposes to Meggan, and she accepts.  Their wedding ultimately takes place in EXCALIBUR #125, the final issue of the series a few years later.

When Davis left EXCALIBUR, there were several plot threads planted for future writers -- the most notable being Sat-Yr-9 and Jamie Braddock -- but no one followed up on them.  Davis left the team in Phoenix's future, and when Scott Lobdell took over one issue later, he shuttled them back to the present, but left Captain Britain someplace else, "lost in the timestream".

When Cap eventually returned, he now called himself Britanic, had time-based powers, and spoke in a pseudo Shakesperean dialect, a la Thor.  It was a pointless transformation, considering that Davis had just spent a couple years rebuilding the character and his mythos into something interesting and exciting.  And sadly, it was a change from which the character never really recovered until over ten years later when Claremont and Davis reunited on UNCANNY X-MEN.  Attempts were made to restore him in the interim, most notably by Warren Ellis circa EXCALIBUR #100, but none ever stuck.  Writers other than Davis and Claremont never really seem to know what to do with the character.  And heck, sometimes not even Claremont knows what to do with him!

So this seems as good a place as any to end the classic Captain Britain retrospective.  Essentially, this is the point where classic Cap ceased to exist.

No comments:

Post a Comment