Friday, 24 May 2013
I've set up yet another Blog called 'The Otherworld Book Review'. I want to keep the posts on this Blog dedicated to Captain Britain, and British Marvel related characters, which means stripping out any non related posts, and reposting them on the new Blog. So moving forward any books I read, I'll review and post on the new, Book Blog. Follow the link below to check out my new Blog.
Monday, 20 May 2013
This story is told at the time of the Civil War event in the big wide world of the Marvel Universe. I always wondered how other countries sat when this whole Civil War event was happening, with everything happening in America, and no indication of how much influence Stark had on the hero community in general. After reading this graphic novel, I would presume the registration act didn't extend further than America's borders. There is a reference to Nick Fury being 'underground', but no real emphasis on the Civil War itself.
This was the first graphic novel where Union Jack was the main star, not just a supporting character, which is the usual lot for him, playing guest star to Captain Britain, The Invaders, and not forgetting The Knights of Pendragon.
In this graphic novel you'll find Union Jack, not fighting Vampires, but facing real, known villains, although at the start he's facing off against some Vamps. You couldn't have a Union Jack story without at least one Vampire in it!
The basis for this story is that 'wolverine' decimated the ranks of Hydra leaving a power vacuum in the villain community, which R.A.I.D. (Radically Advanced Ideas in Destruction), a splinter cell of Aim, want to fill, and they decide the way to show their might is by hiring a string of mercenaries to attack certain landmarks in London.
MI6 get wind of the plot and get Union Jack to help them save London from these terrorists, with a little help from a few other international heroes from other countries, because Captain Britain, Micromax, The Avengers and the Fantastic Four are all on their own missions, so no help is arriving from the big hitters. So it's Union Jack, former S.H.I.E.L.D Deputy Director Contessa Allegra Valentina De La Fontaine, Sabra from Israel, and the new Arabian Knight from Saudi Arabia.
This tale is a real good old bog-standard hero versus villain fight to the finish with Union Jack taking on a lot of the villains single-handed, and winning, with the highlight being his fight with Jack-O-Lantern, Shockwave, and Jackhammer in a flooded underground. He even helps out the other heroes in his little band to defeat their own foes. In fact, he takes out more villains on his own than the other heroes put together, plus he has to fight Sabra, Arabian Knight, and Val who are being controlled by The Controller.
Obviously he manages to beat them all, so job done, well not quite, there's still one more villain to best! This villain turns out to be a uber-sized Dreadnaught, who's having a whale of a time smashing up Trafalgar Square.
The heroes take a bit of a battering, even Sabra with her super strength, and Union Jack is smashed against a building. He's battered, and bruised, and really shouldn't be standing, but he refuses to give in. This is cue for a few cheesy moments, moments akin to the scene in the recent Spider-Man movie where all the crane drivers in New York line their crane arms up so Spidey can swing through the streets to reach the lizard. Oh how I cringed at that scene, but in this graphic novel it seemed to fit, and was more fun than cringe.
This story seemed to serve the purpose of portraying Union Jack as the British hero of the people, which was summed up in the next few panels. The Dreadnaught is about to zap Union Jack when out of nowhere a wrecking ball smacks him in the chin.
What makes this so funny is the old man who's talking like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins, then ends the sentence with 'Innit'. All he needed to add was 'Wicked'. This is then followed by Union Jack picking up a fallen flag pole which has a Union Jack attached to it, which he then and rams into a wound inflicted by Sabra, and Arabian Knight, exposing liquid nitrogen inside the armour, all said with a nice cheesy line.
Job done, and that's pretty much it, apart from Union Jack realising that it's all been the masterplan of the MI6 member who contacted him in the first place, and exposing him to the press.
I really enjoyed this one, it set Union Jack up as a hero in his own right, not one in the shadow of Captain Britain. A real hero, one to represent the average man on the street, with Joey Chapman being the son of a dock worker. As I've already said it was a fun romp, and not to be taken too seriously.
I want more Union Jack, and how cool would it be if you had Union Jack teaming up with Captain Britain, but not the Captain Britain we all know and love now, but the original 1970's version with the red costume and lion on his chest. Hey it's comics, anything is possible, a time travel story isn't impossible.
Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Todd Nauck posted this sketch he did of Excalibur on his website earlier today. This is fab, I love it! Just need a coloured version of it now!
Tuesday, 14 May 2013
Saturday, 11 May 2013
The team consisted of Captain Britain, Pete Wisdom, Black Knight, Spitfire, Faiza Hussain (Excalibur), and later on they are joined by Blade.
Spitfire and Blade struck up a relationship, that is once Blade had gotten over trying to kill her. Blade, the vampire hunter, tried to kill her because Spitfire is a vampire.
The story of how Jacqueline Falsworth became Spitfire, got bitten by Baron Blood, became an Invader, lost her powers, regained her powers, and youth, was explained at the start of this issue. In fact Spitfire's entire history was summed up on the very first page, from her very beginnings, right up until the happenings in the final MI13 comics, which were very vampire orientated, with Dracula, and a huge host of other well known vampires.
This story runs at the time of 'The Age of Heroes' happening in the Marvel Universe, with Captain Britain, Meggan, Pete Wisdom & Co hanging out with Steve Rogers, who after his rebirth became in charge of everything, well pretty much everything. Obviously Spitfire and Blade weren't invited to the big Marvel party.
The story itself centres around Spitfire, and Blade, and sort of explores their developing relationship, whilst Blade trains Spitfire to hone her vampire skills. They are in New York hunting a British vampire traitor called Ms. Bertram-Hayes, whilst the rest of the team are having fun elsewhere.
This whole hunt is a way for Blade to hone Spitfires ability, whilst sorting out that pesky aristocratic vampire problem. There's more dialogue, than action contained within this comic, but it is well scripted by Paul Cornell. A pretty much predictable storyline, Spitfire and Blade track her down, Blade is taken out pretty easily, and Spitfire faces her alone and wins by taking her head off.
Spitfire was portrayed as a typically British aristocrat, but not in a cheesy Dick Van-Dyke type of British way. You can tell a British writer held the reigns. I enjoyed it, but now I've read it I can see why it's come under a bit of fire, but it did leave me wanting more!
Friday, 10 May 2013
It collects all 12 issues of the original comic run, plus some nice extra's at the back of the book. The alternative covers, and black and white pencil sketches by Alex Ross are absolutely fantastic. Alex Ross provided all the covers for this comic run, and as you would expect from his art, it is pretty amazing.
For those of you that don't know, which I'm sure there aren't many of you, The Invaders were a team of Superheroes in World War 2, who battled Hitler's forces. The team was built around three main characters, Captain America, Namor, and The Original Human Torch (Jim Hammond), a supporting cast consisted of Bucky Barnes, Captain America's sidekick, Toro, Jim Hammond's human sidekick, who also burst in to flame, and the two British members, Spitfire and Union Jack.
Quite a lot happens in this Graphic Novel, so I'll try to keep it brief and skirt around the edges a little with what actually happened.
A lot of this story is taken from the journal created by Bucky Barnes, who believes in recording everything, and quite a bit of what happens revolves around Bucky. The story starts in 1943 and The Invaders, and some American soldiers are storming a monastery held by the Germans who have some type of Occult item that Hitler requires.
The Invaders and the American soldiers come under heavy fire, which results in heavy casualties for the soldiers and Union Jack also shot, and mortally wounded.
The Invaders race on on enter a green mist, which then deposits them into the future, New York 2008 to be precise. America is a very different America to the one they were used to.
This is 2008, the Civil War has just ended, Captain America has just been shot, and any heroes that will not register their identity are being hunted. The first thing they encounter is Spider-Man fighting for his life against the government sanctioned Thunderbolts. The Invaders think The Thunderbolts are Nazi's and fight them, and win, quite easily, then go to ground in this new world, which they think is ruled by Nazi's.
As I've already stated, a lot happens after this! The Avengers get involved, both factions, the one lead by Iron Man, who wants to capture them, knowing they shouldn't be in this time stream, and could upset the balance, and the rogue Avengers who are being directed by Doctor Strange, who also knows things are not right, and also wants to return them to their correct time.
A lot of fighting happens, Avenger Versus Avenger Versus Invader Versus a legion of Ultron controlled LMD's. The one thing that stood out for me from the middle section of this book, was how powerful Jim Hammond actually is. Not only was he responsible for defeating the LMD Ultron's, who had duped him in the first place, but he single handedly defeated The Sentry, very quickly.
So the big question is, Just how powerful is Jim Hammond/ He was the original Marvel hero, the very first Marvel creation, but is he more powerful than Johnny Storm?
Doctor Strange traces the anomaly that has caused the Invaders to be in this time, which turns out to be the cosmic cube, which is in the hands of D'Spayre, who in turn, turns out to be The Golden Age Vision, who says he is a caretaker of the Cosmic Cube, and is here to guide it towards it's calling!
The invaders, plus a sole surviving soldier, and various Avengers return to 1943, but at the time of travelling back the soldier takes the cube and trys to save his buddies, who were killed in the initial assault, along with Union Jack. He uses the cube to bring them back to life, and also Union Jack, but forgets to protect himself. He's shot, drops the cube, which is then collected by The Red Skull.
The Red Skull uses the cube to conquer the world, so The Invaders, and Avengers arrive back in a 1943 New York ruled by The Red Skull.
The heroes now have to fight their way to Germany to regain the Cosmic Cube, so they can once again correct history. The Avengers have to wear disguises so as not to let the Red Skull know they are from the future, and these disguise are those of heroes from that era, most of them I've never heard of. Heroes such as Captain Terror, The Black Avenger, and The Challenger, to name but three.
There's a nice bit where the Red Skull ponders the appearance of The Axis heroes, standing in front of a display cabinet, where every hero of that era is pinned, like a butterfly in a collectors display.
Invaders/Avengers fight The Red Skull and his own superhuman beings, Masterman, U-Man etc, the usual WW2 super villains, plus in this reality Thor is a member. Heroes die, both Spitfire, and Union Jack sacrifice themselves to destroy one of the Red Skulls creations, and the American soldier who caused this reality to happen, grabs the fallen cube, dropped by The Red Skull fighting Captain America, grabs the cube brings all the old heroes back to life, and returns time to it's rightful place.
One thing this book explored was the feelings and emotions felt by Bucky and Toro. In the course of their jaunt in to the future Toro discovers that he's dead, this disturbs him greatly, and he has a hard time coming to terms with his death, questioning where was Jim Hammond, and the other Invaders, why had they let him die?
One of the final pages of this tale shows the Golden Age Vision resurrecting Toro, which now makes sense why he was brought back to life. He features in the other Invaders tale written by Alex Ross, 'Invaders Now'.
I really enjoyed this graphic novel, it's far better than the Invaders Now story by Alex Ross. It has lots of action, a huge cast of characters, and some real emotion.