15 Issues

That's all we're going to get of the brilliant, funny, action-packed Captain Britain and MI:13 thanks to poor sales and an abysmal support system from Marvel Comics.

After a period of about 15 years I got back into comics when my wife was in the hospital for a month trying to keep my son from coming out 2 months early.  It was a much-needed comfort, and although I started slowly, picking up a few highly recommended trades at the local bookstore in an effort to reacqauint myself with the medium (I had been a DC/Vertigo junkie back in the beginning days of college thanks to Neil Gaiman and Sandman), I quickly found a couple of really nice Local Comic Shops (or LCS, as they're known in the comic geek world) and began to pick up a few select titles - mainly less-than-mainstream stuff like The Walking Dead, Invincible, The Boys and, oddly enough, Green Lantern, since all the podcasts I was listening to in an effort to re-educate myself were squealing about good it and its unknown-to-me writer, Geoff Johns, was.

Fast forward a few months and I'm firmly back in junkie territory, picking up a large (for me) assortment of titles from Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse, and others, even as I was tripling my purchasing of trades of all the great comics I'd missed over the years (I wrote about a few great comics here and here as well as a little bit here).  The big "thing" at the time I was getting serious about comics were the massive crossover events at DC and Marvel.  Final Crisis and Secret Invasion, repsectively, were hyping up to be the biggest things in comics since, well, the last big thing both publishers had hyped.  And here I was about to get in at the ground floor.

Because that had always been a small, stinging point of pain with me.  At this point I was lovinga bunch of titles, but there was nothing I could claim I got in on from the starting gate.  No "1st Issue!" books in my growing stack of longboxes.  However, that was about to change when I heard about a small book that was coming out, initially as a tie-in to Marvel's Secret Invasion but then to stay on its own as a monthly series.

Captain Britain and MI:13 is a superhero comic that revels in the pulpy high adventure that were popular in comics 30 years ago and in serials and novels another 30 years before that.  Magic, alien invasions, inter-dimensional beings - everything is tossed into the mix and seasoned with a dry, English wit courtesy of writer Paul Cornell, who honed his skills as a writer for Doctor Who, among other things.  MI:13 is a secret branch of the British government that deals with forces, magical or otherwise, that fall outside the "mainstream," and features Captain Britain, whose powers are directly proportional to his confidence in them, Faiza Hussain, a young Muslim nurse who wields the actual Excalibur, the Black Knight, a knight whose blade is cursed, driving its wielder more mad with every drop of blood it spills, the lightning-quick Spitfire, and Blade, as in "yeah, the dude Wesley Snipes played in those movies".

The comic's great advantage is its wacky humor that revels in over-the-top scenarios (the current arc has Dracula mounting an invasion from the frickin' Moon) but keeps its character's firmly in focus.  Cornell reminds us of when comics were fun, and not all about deconstructing icons. 

Just a damn shame...