That is hopefully a good sign.
I'm sure there are still copies available out there if you haven't grabbed one yet. The first issue is obviously also still available digitally, on ComiXology.
So, Revolutionary War: Alpha, eh? This one's been a long time coming. But bloody hell, did it deliver. Lanning Cowsill and Elson managed to deliver an opening issue which both pleases the long term fans but I also think is perfectly accessible to new readers.
Do a lot of characters appear in this issue? Sure. Is it important to know who all of them are at this stage? Not imperative, no. This was an issue about introducing concepts and setting a scene, for what is yet to come. Even for us long time readers there were new angles on show here. Things which have come to pass during our time away from these characters.
So, here are a few Thoughts & Theories over what we saw this week. Hopefully they'll serve as a convenient catch up for the following issue also.
1) Psychowraiths. Yes. Psychowraiths.
Or should that be 'Psycho-wraithes'?
Who knows? Does it matter? Not in the slightest. Stop being a pedant.
Along with Psycho-Warriors these guys formed the private armies of the Mys-Tech Corporation. Tank-bred foot-soldiers, who would do exactly as their masters ordered.
Somebody had to do the heavy lifting for the bad guys. And so much more reliable to just breed them rather than rely on real people, with lives and opinions.
Mys-Tech had a number of facilities breeding these things for combat, back in the day. Well, it seems like in the Marvel Universe Crossrail's continuing expansions to the London Underground don't merely irritate commuters. They also uncover lost caches of these nasties...
But is this purely an unfortunate disturbing of a long forgotten scientific relic, or did something else trigger these tanks into action?
Yes. Mys-Tech. When was the last time we heard from Mys-Tech?
Well, they got a mention back in 2010's Spitfire one-shot, by Paul Cornell and Elena Casagrande. But otherwise we've pretty much heard nothing from them since the end of the Marvel UK imprint. But as anybody who has read this issue will know it certainly looks like they're going to play an important role in this story.
So, in way of reminder, who are the Mys-Tech Board?
The Mys-Tech Board, as they became, started life as a group of men and women who dabbled in the occult. In the year 987 AD they conjured up the demon Mephisto, and entered into a contract with him. A contract in which Mephisto would bestow upon them the gift of immortality, on the proviso that they delivered a prescribed quota of human souls to him.
A quota which, this being Mephisto, kept on rising. Every year.
To meet the constantly rising numbers they had to get creative...
In the modern age the group formed a company, by the name of the Mys-Tech Corporation, which had a finger in many, many different multinational pies, and owned many many subsidiary companies, research centers and other projects. They orchestrated regional famines, wars, supplied Arms to others, all so that when people died, even indirectly, it was by their hand.
And thus their soul was claimed by Mephisto, and the quota met.
It's all a little bit messed up, when you think about it. But also pretty disturbingly clever. :)
Anyway that's the short version. Observe the picture above. To put names to faces (from left to right) the Board members are Eadmund Porlock, Brendan Rathcoole, Bronwen Gryffn, Gudrun Tyburn, Algernon Crowe and Ormond Wychwood. We did actually see them in flashback form in this issue (in that double page spread).
And I have a feeling we'll be seeing them again.
Crowe is the nominal head of this organisation. It also had a 7th member originally. He was Ranulph Haldane. Father of Shevaun Haldane - Dark Angel. Ranulph was killed by Mephisto some years ago, for trying to find ways out of their Contract, but still maintaining their immortality.
Yeah. Dark Angel's Dad. It's all that closely interconnected. :)
And speaking of that double page spread...
3) Lanning and Cowsill give Marvel UK the conclusion it never got.
The Marvel UK imprint didn't ever get to conclude. When Marvel US pulled the plug the output just... stopped. Warheads, Death's Head Gold, Dark Guard Gold and others just stopped where they fell in the schedule. No conclusion. Many loose ends.
Well, Andy Lanning and Alan Cowsill have retroactively created one.
They're calling it 'The Battle of London Bridge'. S.H.I.E.L.D. apparently covered it up from the general public, but as you can see pretty much every last damn Marvel UK character was involved. See if you can name them all! Even Black Axe and Digitek are in there.
Oh, and the 'Union Juggernaut'. As the messageboards have come to term that period, best left forgotten, in the life of Union Jack. :)
The details are not fully fleshed out yet, but the battle appears to have ended by forcing Mys-Tech through a portal and trapping them in another dimension.
This was not without it's casualties...
4) Wait, did you say S.H.I.E.L.D. ?
Yes. And that's another big reveal.
Yes. Apparently S.H.I.E.L.D. has a European division. It's been monitoring the situation since Mys-Tech fell, and Captain Britain has apparently been working with them, in secret.
Now this has, it has to be said, put a few fans' noses out of joint. The idea that MI13 are swept aside by what most perceive to be a US Government Organisation has irritated some. The notion that Captain Britain could, and would, have kept this a secret from everybody seems either at odds with the character or something they simply could believe.
But let me say two things on this...
Firstly, though Marvel often confuse this, in the way that S.H.I.E.L.D. are used or portrayed, they ARE an international organisation. Much like the United Nations. Just with access to flying battlestations, superheroes and other technology. Their remit is Global. MI13's is National. MI13 aren't being done away with, It's just that here they're kind of the smaller operation.
It's also worth noting that S.H.I.E.L.D. have featured frequently across the history of Marvel UK, from early Captain Britain right through to several appearances during the Imprint Years. This is not the first time they've come in to oversee threats of this kind.
So please calm down.
They are also used here somewhat as a metaphor. This US based organisation which swept in, chose the guys they wanted to work with and left the others in a state of limbo, either retired or simply unused...
When you think about what happened when Marvel closed down Marvel UK? Well, there are some parallels one could easily draw, there.
You know. Should they wish to.
And yes, Captain Britain was probably still with Excalibur at point Mys-Tech fell. Would he have told Pete Wisdom about his involvement with S.H.I.E.L.D.? Then, or later? Possibly. Possibly not.
I mean when I read this...
I start to get the feeling that Brian himself is only involved with this whole thing because he has to be. Because something stinks about it. Because S.H.I.E.L.D. can't be 100% trusted. Because somebody has to watch over them.
Brian is often noble to a fault. Could he have kept all of this to himself in order to do that? It's not impossible in my book. Either way there's clearly more too this than is currently being revealed.
5) It's not just the Imprint characters making a Comeback.
No, Sir. Bet you never thought you'd see this guy again.
Yes. That's Commander Lance Hunter. Formerly of S.T.R.I.K.E.
During Captain Britain & MI13 it was mentioned that Lance Hunter was now Joint Intelligence Chair, for MI5, MI6 and MI13. We never actually got to see him in panel during the course of that run, but as you can see he's alive and well. And now working with S.H.I.E.L.D.
Oh, and yes. That's Marcus Johnson. Nick Fury's illegitimate son, who just happens to look like Samuel L Jackson in the Marvel movies. And now calls himself 'Nick Fury'.
Yeah. I'm pretty sure it's a edict somewhere that EVERY Marvel book must use this guy at some point, right now. In the hope that some day readers will accept him.
Though I wouldn't wait up for that...
6) Meet Agent Keller.
While we know very little about Agent Keller we do know that he's attached S.H.I.E.L.D.'s European division, and he appears to be along for the ride. Do we trust him? Only time can tell...
As far as I can tell Keller's new. No currently obvious or revealed connections to previous characters.
7) So, Col Tigon Liger is a Drunk...
Following the theme of the characters Marvel US left behind (Wait, S.H.I.E.L.D., surely ;) ), Colonel Tigon Liger of The Warheads really hasn't fared so well. When Agent Keller and Pete Wisdom go to retrieve him we find him living rough. Homeless, and also kind of a Drunk.
What is particularly messed up about this, though, is that S.H.I.E.L.D. have been monitoring him all this time. Ever since the fall of Mys-Tech. All of it. They've known exactly where he's been, and what he's been doing. And they just... let it all happen to him.
Think about that for a moment. A guy descends into vagrancy and potential alcoholism, and S.H.I.E.L.D. do nothing.
S.H.I.E.L.D. are kind of... dicks, aren't they?
Liger is a Drunk for a slightly more understandable reason though, it seems. As we find out this issue he was the only surviving Warhead from the Battle of London Bridge. When it came to the crunch they had to close that portal and trap Mys-Tech on the other side. Close it down with Stacy, Misha and the rest of Kether Troop all still on the other side. Trapped in another dimension with them.
Liger lost his Troop. And it has justly hit him hard.
8) Wait a second... did we see Killpower get trapped, too!? But wasn't he in Captain Britain & MI13???
Yeah. There is some debate on this one.
Here is the image in question, from the issue itself.
Killpower charging towards the mass of tentacles which are coming out of that other-dimensional portal, the fading text of Motormouth's words perhaps suggesting that Julius has crossed over into that other dimension.
So did he get trapped too? Surely not. Because those of you pointing out that both Motormouth AND Killpower appeared in the 'Vampire State' arc of Captain Britain & MI13 are absolutely correct. Harley and Julius went to protect Faiza 'Excalibur' Hussain's father when Dracula began his invasion plan.
They failed. Harley ended up hospitalised, and Julius ended up captured by the vampires, seemingly turned into a vampire himself. And just to make sure there can be no room for doubt here, he was even name-checked by Spitfire, introducing him to Dracula himself!
Well, we all know why. Mys-Tech is why. Everything is interconnected in this crazy little corner of the Marvel Universe. You should know this by now.
He wasn't actually vampirised, of course. And I'll let Killpower explain that to you for himself.
Killpower was MI13's mole within Dracula's ranks. His mystically tweaked genetics meant that he couldn't be taken under Dracula's thrall, and therefore he was there intentionally to look out for Faiza's dad. It was actually a pivotal role to play in the plot of the story. Killpower effectively saved the day here, and led those who had previously been captured to freedom.
So, how could he have been around to do all that if he had spent the past X number of years trapped in another dimension?
Well, I'm hoping that this is just a bit of an art error, rather than somebody forgetting about the story. Given that it was the last big Marvel UK storyline people do remember it pretty well. A continuity glitch like that would certainly not pass undetected under the radar.
I guess we'll find out in time.
9) The Museum of Pagan Antiquities is now under S.H.I.E.L.D. control
Which, given the contents within is probably for the best.
10) The Un-Earth is activating...
You remember the Un-Earth, right? Big mystic crystalline computer system attached to a scale replica of the real Earth?
It played a very important part in the events of the Marvel UK crossover event 'Mys-Tech Wars'.
Think of it effectively as a kind of Voodoo Doll for planet Earth. Whatever designs the Mys-Tech board's members placed on the Un-Earth, whatever changes they made to it, were then enacted upon the real world. It was an insanely powerful, wish fulfilling, Doom Engine!
Which is why when this happens...
That is definitely NOT good news.
And leaves us with several important questions. What is controlling it? Who activated it? And from where? From how far?
11) Hold on... several 'Metres' below the museum? That cavern is much further down than that, surely!?
Well, yes. But let me no-prize this for a moment. That line comes from S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Keller. Agent Keller is presumably American. Surely we can forgive him a misunderstanding of the Metric System... :)
12) What does the Un-Earth show us?
I've got a feeling that this image is going to be pretty important. You may want to open this picture in a new Tab for scrutiny.
So, clockwise from top left I see:
Captain Britain in flight - This one seems fairly straightforward, as he is en route to meet up with Dark Angel at Darkmoor castle.
Peter Hunter (Albion) looking at a glow of energy around his hand - Now we have no idea what Hunter has been up to since Dark Guard. He's certainly not in costume. Hunter was previously a Teacher, and in that kind of attire maybe he has gone back to that life. Maybe the Green Knight took his power away, after the threat of Mys-Tech faded. and this is a vision of Pendragon fire returning to him?
A downtrodden Motormouth, in sweater and baggy trousers, carrying some shopping - This is very much Harley in civvies. And she looks pretty depressed. The solicit for her own one-shot kind of gives away what's changed for her since Mys-Tech fell. But you can seek that out yourself. I'm not going to spoil. :)
Joseph 'Invincible' Hauer, toting pistols - Although I'm pretty sure Image Comics hold the trademark for 'Invincible' now. He looks like he's waiting to open fire on somebody. Guess we'll find out who in the Super Soldiers one-shot.
Dark Angel accessing multiple computer terminals - Presumably before what we see of her at the end of the issue.
And in the centre, Death's Head II with a fist extended.
Make of these images what you will. But remember, where the Un-Earth is concerned anything seen on Un-Earth can have a very REAL effect upon what is happening on the ACTUAL Earth.
Yeah. This could get very interesting. :)
13) What the heck happened to Dark Angel???
As Captain Britain arrives at Darkmoor Castle Shevaun appears to be in the process of either being electrocuted or fading out of existence. Brian tries to grab hold of her, but then somebody else intervenes.
It's a little unclear as the what has actually happened here as the punch up kinda brushes Shevaun aside.
At the start of her one-shot (which should be your next port of call this Wednesday 15th January) we see Dark Angel waking up on the floor of Darkmoor Castle, with a hole in its exterior wall.
My current personal theories as to what may have happened there are:
a) Shevaun has been unconscious since passing out. Captain Britain and his attacker have both left. Most likely straight through the exterior wall.
b) Shevaun may think she's just woken up on the floor of the Castle, and in a manner of thinking she has. Only she's not quite where she thinks she is. It all looks the same, but she's actually been transported to the same point on the Un-Earth. Hence her semi transparent state in the first issue.
The last time we saw Shevaun was in the form of a brief cameo in the final issue of Captain Britain & MI13, fighting Dracula's forces alongside Tangerine, Digitek and at least one other notable Marvel UK Alumni. I am definitely glad to see her back in her original costume here (love Salvador Larroca's art, but I was never a huge fan of his redesign) even if it is as she is seemingly taken down. :)
I guess we'll have to wait and see how this plays out. But thankfully the wait isn't too long...
14) Bet you didn't see THAT coming. Yes?
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what we call a cliffhanger.
Death's Head II. The backstabbing cyborg turncoat. :)
Clever DH2. Throw Cap off balance with an image inducer show of his greatest foes, before taking him down.
The last time we saw 'Minion' was in that self-same final issue of Captain Britain & MI13. The Marvel factfile handbook 'The Heroic Age: Superheroes' expanded a little upon how he came to be working for MI13.
Purely for Profit. As it turned out.
I guess somebody has made him a better offer...
We have been promised a Death's Head vs Death's Head II face-off in the upcoming Revolutionary War: Death's Head one-shot. Is that going to be related to this? Is the other DH going to try and teach his later self a lesson for ruining his good name? Is he going to cut into the Deal?
And will we finally find out where Tuck is these days?
All questions yet to be answered... :)
I hope this article has been of interest to you. I intend to do a similar one next week for Revolutionary War: Dark Angel. But in the meantime allow me to reiterate that this series really does need your support if we are to see more from the characters of Marvel UK in the future.
You can find a full list of upcoming issues here. And if you want to make sure you can get a physical copy ask your local comic book store to put a copy by for you. Let them know you're interested.
You can also pick up Revolutionary War digitally, through ComiXology on iOS and Android. So if you can get a physical hand on it, or you just prefer reading on a tablet or PC screen, you can grab it there, too.
In the meantime I am curious to know what you thought of this issue. Feel free to add your opinions in the Comments section.
Until next time.