Sunday, 11 July 2010

Captain Britain/Avengers Update and more Marvel UK Cameos...

So... As a Comics Reader of over a quarter of a Century (Man, has it really been that long?) I have learnt long ago to know the difference between the 'Hope' for a storyline (based on logical plausibility, and other stories in other titles) and what we actually receive in print.

Back when Captain Britain accepted Avengers membership in Age of Heroes #1, this just so happened to coincide with a story in the new 'Avengers #1' relaunch, which was based very much on the need for a character to be brought in with an intimate knowledge of Time Travel, Inter-dimensional Travel, and the technology required to achieve either or both. I speculated in a blog post back in May over the logical inclusion of the newly invited Captain Britain being that final Avengers member. A logical inclusion because Captain Britain is probably the most expert individual in the Marvel Universe in each of these fields...

But, as all us long term readers of comics genre know, you don't always get what you want...

When Avengers #2 went on sale a couple of weeks back it turned out that the final member, the guy who the Avengers decided to go to, was in fact Noh-Var. Better know to many as Marvel Boy...

To be fair, some of you probably don't know who he is (He is a little obscure). So for the unaware amongst you, read up Here.

Put basically he's an alien warrior from another dimension, who got marooned in the Marvel Universe, in a limited series written by Grant Morrison in 2000. He was also, briefly, a Dark Avenger.

So yes, he does come from another dimension, and his long dead crew did once have the technology required to jump dimensions. The slight flaw in his inclusion in this story, however, is that the entire point of Noh-Var is that he is trapped in the Marvel Universe. He doesn't have the technology (or knowledge of it) required to jump dimensions. Otherwise he would have gone home, back to his native dimension.

He hasn't done this to date. Because he can't.

So a slight flaw in this story, that all of a sudden he is able to offer both tech and knowledge to the Avengers, at a moment's notice. Don't you think?

Anyway, a few people have mailed me about this. And I'm not really that narked. Slightly disappointed, in as much as this was the perfect story for Captain Britain to make his Avengers début. But I am actually a bit of a Noh-Var fan. So seeing him as an Avenger is still kinda cool. If a little bit nonsensical, sure. But I'll try to overlook that.

And the blow was somewhat softened, also, by another Marvel UK cameo in that very same issue.

Basically, and I think we're past Spoiler territory by now, in Avengers #2 Noh-Var constructs a machine which allows the Avengers to take a glimpse into the Futures. That's right. Futures. Plural. Because at this point in time things could go a number of different ways. No one path is the certain future.

But what was really great was to see so many possible future timelines from Marvel's back catalogue, all on  show in the same place. Not forgotten.

( Click to Enlarge Further)

In amongst there I can see Marvel 2099, the MC2 universe from the late 90s, the original Guardians of the Galaxy, Days of Future Past and The Age of Apocalypse from the X-Men franchise, and several more too.

But perhaps the one figure to interest me the most is there on the right hand page.

Spotted him yet?

Hello, Minion!

That's right, none other than Death's Head II. An unexpected, and pleasant surprise.

After all, the timeline in which he was created (and absorbed the original Death's Head) has not exactly come to pass yet. We've seen hints threaded in Abnett and Lanning's Nova, in more recent times, but still...

Good to see that he is at least on the Radar. Be that Bendis' or JR Jr's.

For those more pedantic amongst you, of course, you may recall that this is NOT the first time John Romita Jr has drawn Death's Head II. Where was that, you may ask? Well, on none other than the cover for Marvel UK's Black Axe #1, which has formally been a Cover of the Week on this very site.

Not bad, eh?

Of course there's no guarantee that this means we'll see more of DH2 in Avengers, and I certainly won't get my hopes up. But I'd certainly welcome the idea.

Now, this actually wasn't the only British Marvel cameo of recent times. I wonder how many of you picked up this week's Steve Rogers: Super Soldier #1 by Ed Brubaker and Dale Eaglesham?

And frankly, if you didn't, why not? If there were ever two creators out there I would pick up a book because of...

If you had then you would have been treated to a much larger (and much more an important part of the story) cameo:

(Click to Enlarge)

Yes, indeed. That is Steve Rogers talking espionage, over a coffee, with none other than Pete Wisdom himself. Now, granted this exchange may only take up 6 pages of the issue, but it's the six pages which set up the entire limited series. An exchange of intel which Wisdom appears to have gone over the heads of the JIC to pass to Rogers. Steve even refers to Wisdom as the 'British Spy Master,' which is pretty much what he is these days.

I also really like the way Eaglesham draws Wisdom, in this issue. The front on pose below being a prime example:

Definite nods to Leonard kirk's styling in Captain Britain & MI13, but very much with his own style in place, to. Great work! I hope we see him again in this story.

But perhaps more importantly, again, is that this shows that Wisdom is on Brubaker's radar. Too often, with regards to these characters (And Captain Britain in particular) I hear people saying 'Yeah, but the big guys at Marvel haven't even heard of these characters'.

Well, here we have Death's Head II spotted in what is arguably Marvel Comics' flagship title, and Pete Wisdom being deliberately chosen by Ed Brubaker. Ed, of course, also writes Secret Avengers. You never know. Maybe it's still possible we might see Captain Britain turn up there. Who knows? But the idea that these characters are simply not known about is a claim which I would definitely refute.

That said of course, we still have no indication of when, or if, Captain Britain WILL be making his Avengers début. Well, let it never be said that I leave any stone unturned. And so a couple of weeks ago I decided to try bother Joe Quesada himself, through Comic Book Resources' Cup O' Joe column (where readers can ask questions to the man himself). Backed up by a few CB&MI13 reading CBR regular posters we finally got our question posed last week.

Although not to Joe Q, himself. But to Marvel's Vice President Executive Editors Tom Brevoort and Axel Alonso - which, to be frank (though not wishing to be disrespectful to Joe Quesada) is every bit as good in my book.

CBR: The Sword Is Drawn was one of a few people asking after Captain Britain's future status, saying "When can we expect to see Brian Braddock's Avengers début? And any idea which book it might occur in?"

Brevoort: Paul Cornell – one of the last few jobs he did before signing his exclusive with DC – was a little two-page "Captain Britain and MI-13" story that ran in "Age of Heroes" in which Steve Rogers extended the invitation to Captain Britain to become part of an Avengers team, massaging the difficulty that might have caused with Pete Wisdom and MI-13. I would think that it's an almost absolute certainty that that's an element that will be followed up on in some tangible way very soon. But again, I don't want to tell you too much.

So, there you go. Not exactly the answer I was after, but it at least seems that there is the intention to take this further, one way or another. Somewhere soon on the horizon, by the sound of it. So don't give up hope, Cap Fans. Keep your eyes peeled.

Who knows? I mean if what I've been reading from Fred Van Lente, on Twitter, is true he's going to be getting an Avengers book soon. I tried quizzing him, but he's not giving away any finite details, yet. There's been rumours flying around the Internet though - everything from a Gods and Magic Avengers, to Cosmic heroes, to a European or even just more International Avengers team. It'll be interesting to see if that one gets revealed at San Diego Comic Con.

Maybe Cap will turn up there? Let's be honest, there is no shortage of Avengers titles for him appear in.

Either way, Tom Brevoort's word is enough for me, for now...

So keep the faith. We've had MI13 turn up in Deadpool Team up, Spitfire is getting a one-shot, Blade is showing up in X-Men, Wisdom in Steve Rogers: Super Soldier. It's all good exposure. These guys certainly aren't being left to be forgotten...

Finally, my apologies for the lack of recent updates. I was struck down with glandular fever a couple of weeks back. It's taken a while to get fit enough to be up and about, let alone get back to blogging. I actually did put together some notes for Knights of Pendragon #1 whilst under the fever. I'm trying to decipher them...

Wish me luck.

Speak soon.



  1. Just out of curiousity is anybody else having dificulty posting comments to this form?

  2. I've had a couple of emails now from folks who can't post to this form, largely because there's no way of entering their username/password/word verification. I am looking into it. Not sure how this has disappeaed, but it only seems to have occured since the change in template. I'll keep you posted...

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Hi Mark,

    Just testing to see if this now works.


  5. To be fair, some of you probably don't know who he is

    In all fairness, neither does Bendis, if the character's recent appearances are anything to go by.

    Still, good point on the dimension-jumping. The whole point of the original Marvel Boy series was that he was upset at being stuck in an alien universe, so it doesn't make much sense if he could go home any time he liked. But Bendis has never been good at consistency with other writers.

    Thanks for scanning the DHII cameo too!

    I see the Iron Man of 2020 is in there, who has of course also met Death's Head.

  6. I'm really enjoying this little Marvel UK resurgence that is currently running through Marvel's line. Sure, they are crumbs, but tasty little crumbs none-the-less. They may come to nothing but at least they are there still. Thanks again for keeping us informed.

  7. A big thanks to Nathan and Kelvin for helping me to sort out the problem we had with the Word Verification field not rendering properly, yesterday. Fixed now, as you can see. But thanks for the help, both of you.

    Re: Marvel Boy - yes Kelvin. It makes very little sense, does it? As I said in the article, if he knew how to dimension hop he'd have gone home by now. I mean granted he has now settled in the 616 Marvel Universe, but only with great reluctance and a sense that he has NO choice in it. He was adamant he was going to leave ASAP for the longest time.

    So yes, not exactly that logical. However, I'm still interested in reading about him as a regular cast member. It's just this story which is flawed.

    Oh yes, that is Iron Man 2020, isn't it? Good call.

    Hi Commdesign.

    Yes. Crumbs they may be, but welcome. I've actually spotted two moreover the past 24 yrs. I'll be posting more about those later on...

  8. Regarding the Iron Man of 2020, I'm not sure who that is behind Doom 2099, but it looks like it might be Sunset Bain and Machine Man from the excellent Barry Windsor Smith miniseries which introduced that 2020 continuity.

    Killraven is in there too, and I assume the Starlord we see is the Sinjin Quarrell version.

    This is all reminding me a lot of Avengers Forever, and that was so good, I'm worried Bendis is going to trample all over it.

  9. Sinjin Quarrell is 616. Quill's own timeline is messy though, as his father is from the present day and travelled back in time to sire him, and he in turn has travelled into the future to meet his older father. As for the others, that does look to be the 2020 Sunset Bain and Machine Man.