Saturday, 28 March 2015

A Captain Britain title will be part of Secret Wars. But not the Captain you might expect...

So, I've been keeping tabs on all things Secret Wars, as they've been developing, over the past month. Mostly because I've been living in hope of some kind of evidence that Captain Britain, or any other UK connected character, would be making an appearance amongst the maelstrom of Marvel properties being smashed together, at the this: the End of the Marvel Universe.

And hyperbole aside, it really does still look like that is genuinely what is occurring. No feint. No fakery. A full reboot is still very much on the cards.

Up until this week however, things weren't really looking up in that regard.

As most of you are probably aware now Marvel will be cancelling almost the entirety of their publishing line before Secret Wars begins (33 books in total). Some titles will be getting a "Last Days" storyline as they prepare for the end.

Which certainly, at this point, leaves Brian Braddock's status as a bit of an unknown quantity. I mean, for most of the last year he has been an Avenger, part of the new Illuminati on Hickman's New Avengers, alongside Iron Man, Reed Richards, The Beast, Doctor Strange, Namor, Black Bolt and the Black Panther, as they have tried desperately to work out a way of stopping the multiverse disintegrating. We now know much more of what has been causing that to happen, too.

Last month we also discovered what had befallen Brian, in losing his eye, and seemingly the rest of the Captain Britain Corps.

In New Avengers #30 it was revealed that this group called the 'Ivory Kings' (who are apparently tied to The Beyonders, the race responsible for the original 1980s 'Secret Wars') who have at least in part been responsible for some of what has damaged the structure of the Multiverse, were being investigated by the Captain Britain Corps.

Largely because they had started killing other Captains.

It was explained that after capturing one of them Saturnyne attempted to draw them out for a confrontation, by turning one of their own into a beacon.

It did not go well.

Now bear in mind that Captain Britain Corps are more or less legion. Sure Marvel have done a good job at wiping them out every 2-3 years over this past decade, so maybe the numbers are not quite as infinite as once they were. 

But as of right now? They're all dead. 

No matter how many Captains there were, there were far more Ivory Kings who turned up in Otherworld to take them on. It was a massacre.

The Corps, it's Captains, its structure. All dead.

All bar Brian.

Well, okay. That's not entirely true.

Spider UK has also survived it seems. If your reading the Spidey books right now, you'll know this.

But that is exactly what has happened. Brian was cast away by Saturnyne, before her own presumed demise, and has with him the secrets of the Starlight Citadel (and presumably how to recreate it, after the reboot). 

As far as he knows is the last Captain alive. 

And he lost an eye in the process.

It really sucks to Brian, right now.

A lot.

But as we know, New Avengers is getting cancelled when Secret Wars starts, alongside Jonathan Hickman's other Avengers title - 'Avengers'. 

Marvel have teased this image, which I believe will be the final cover for both books divided across their covers:

Excellent artwork from the always marvelous Jim Cheung, there.

It pictures the final lineups for both titles in the foreground, and the first lineups for each title ghosted in the background.

Yes. Lovely artwork, but a real sense of finality.

Beyond this? We just don't know what will happen. And that is also part of the fun, of course. But I know that it's been niggling a few people that we haven't seen any direct evidence of Brian in Secret Wars teaser material.

You would presume that as part of the Illuminati Brian will appear in the main Secret Wars series (also being penned by Hickman). But nothing is a given. I'll patiently wait and see.

Many of the tie-in limited series for the Secret Wars event have now been unveiled. Marvel are separating these out into two unique brands:

Battleworld and War Zones.

Please do check those two checklists out. Some of the books listed do genuinely sound like pretty good fun. Out of continuity, self-contained stories. But some interesting ideas and mash-ups going on.

They don't though, further the direct subject matter of this Blog. But it's oksy. This week, finally, something Secret Wars related did.

It's not what I expected, at all. But boy, do I think it will be a pleasant surprise for many long time followers of the blog.

Let me first say that it *isn't* the new All-New All-Different Avengers team (debuting through this year's Marvel Free Comic Book Day offering) which Marvel have been teasing for the past couple of months. They finally started to unveil the cast of that, this week and unfortunately no Marvel UK character is connected to it.

But don't get me wrong. I will be buying into this team. it's such a damned interesting lineup not to. Pretty much all of the major creative changes for older characters and some newly introduced characters of the past few years, all in one place.

The Falcon as Captain America, the mystery woman who is currently Thor, the new Ms Marvel. A revived Vision.

Even despite the mild irritation of the new Nova being on board cannot sour the transition of Miles 'Ultimate Spider-man' Morales from the Ultimate Universe to mainstream Marvel. I want to see Miles succeed. I've read the guy since his debut, I've no intention of stopping now.

It is however, admittedly, another potential avenue closed for the purposes of this blog.

So it's a good job marvel announced a Secret Wars Captain Britain series isn't it?

Introducing Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders, by 2000 AD stalwart Al Ewing, and with art from definitive Captain Britain artist (and Marvel UK legend, frankly) Alan Davis.

A two issue limited series which pretty much came out of nowhere.

And yes, that is Faiza Hussain, wielding Excalibur, in the middle of that cover.

The book is, effectively, a gestalt title which merges Al Ewing's Mighty Avengers cast with elements of Captain Britain. Faiza will be joined by She-Hulk, Kid Rescue, White Tiger and Hobie Brown, as Ewing explores two of his past projects in one.

But where is Captain Britain, I hear you ask?

That's where it gets a bit complicated. Because as with many of these Secret Wars titles this one has come about purely by universes smashing together and merging.

How many of you read Al Ewing's Age of Ultron issue of Avengers Assemble?

I know it was almost 2 years ago now, but if you didn't (and can find a copy) you absolutely should. This issue, set in London, featured Brian, Faiza and the some new students from the Braddock Academy facing the hordes of Ultron alongside Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers).

Reading this story back in 2013 I'd genuinely hoped that Marvel would let Al Ewing have a proper crack at writing a Captain Britain or Marvel UK team book. Because the tone and general vibe of this book gave me that level of confidence that he could deliver.

And given that he actually killed Brian and Carol off, fighting Ultron back, and I still had plenty time for it, that should go some way to indicating the level of praise allocated here.

It was an Age of Ultron book, though. As with most of the tie-in stories, the tale was set in one of the many timelines which were then overwritten, through multiple attempts at time travel, in trying to stop Ultron taking control of Earth. Not, however, before Brian (knowing that he was going off to die) passed the title and role of 'Captain Britain' on to Faiza Hussain, to carry on in his stead, after his passing.


It's rare for somebody to actually write Brian in a way I find convincing, too. 

So yes, for the briefest of time, Faiza *was* Captain Britain. And god knows if Excalibur chose her, no man can really question her of being worthy of that title! But, ultimately, it is considered only to have happened in what became an alternate Universe.

But this is Secret Wars. And if all those alternate universe are crashing into each other, and merging together, all bets are off.

Captain Faiza gets to be, once more.

So yes, sorry, if you were looking for Brian Braddock as Captain Britain here... your probably out of luck. The title Captain here is Faiza.

But if you enjoyed that story, and if you were a fan of Captain Britain & MI13, this book looks well worth some of your time. And with a creative team of Ewing and Davis? Come on. This book just screams to be a must-read for all fans of British Marvel.

Going forward of course?

Brian Braddock
Captain Faiza
Spider UK

If you're going to restart the Captain Britain Corps once All-New Marvel kicks off? That's not a bad place to start...

Until the next time.

Mark (Sword)


  1. I'm glad Faiza is still around and is coming back into prominence. She seemed to get forgotten and it was frustrating to see all the fuss over the Muslim Ms Marvel when that ground had already been broken with Faiza. It's good to see her back.

    1. Hi Kelvin. It really is. We've had Faiza make the odd appearance, alongside Dane, in issues of Gambit and X-Force over the past year or so. Which has been a bonus.

      No sign of Whitman in Secret Wars quite yet, though. I shall be keeping an eye out. Always felt there was so much left unexplored between the two of them, it's practically criminal.

  2. I don't know if it means anything but the Esad Ribic variant for Secret War #2 has Captain Britain on it wielding a very epic looking sword, also the interior preview for the same issues has a panel that may be Brian fighting a horde of monsters but its to hard to tell if it is

    1. I spotted this on the Avengers UK feed a couple of hours ago. Cheers for the heads up, Zak. I think that's pretty much a confirmation, then. Great to see. I think I'll be putting that up as a separate Post. Thank you.

  3. We can also follow the further adventures of Spider-UK in the Secret Wars SPIDER-VERSE mini.