If there’s one comic that we’re going to rave about until the day it’s prematurely canned, it’s Paul Cornell’s Captain Britain series. Even though, like Captain America, the title can be enough to put some readers off, don’t let it fool you. Captain Britain’s appeal is not limited to British readers. If you like classic superhero team books done in the marvel style – and let’s face it, if you’re reading our reviews, you probably do – then this is worth checking out, because it’s simply the best example of that that Marvel are putting out.
In this issue, Cornell continues his “Vampire State” arc which seems Dracula plotting an invasion of the UK from his base on the moon. Although there’s been a tendency to play up “Dracula’s Castle on the Moon!” as some kind of wacky selling point, let’s try not to overlook the care with which this entire arc has been constructed. That’s one wacky element in what is otherwise a very serious attempt at modern, character-based comics. Every member of the cast has their purpose, and even though Cap has his name in the title, everyone gets their fair amount of page time.
Of particular interest is Cornell’s rehabilitation of Blade, which has seen the character re-established as a stoic, calculating badass reminiscent of the films, but in such a way that he fits perfectly into the cast. With his new romantic interest Spitfire under the thrall of Dracula, Blade gets the best moment in this issue, which is then defused by a punchline from Brian so funny that I don’t want to ruin it.
Unrelenting praise for the writing aside, it should be noted that in recent issues Kirk’s artwork has become a little more rushed. Combined with the fill-in pages on the previous issue, one has to wonder if he wouldn’t benefit from an issue’s break just to catch up – the early issues were some of the stand-out moments of Kirk’s career, and as a reader, it’d be nice to get that level of quality back.