Sunday, 17 January 2016

Captain Britain And The Mighty Defenders #1 - Marvel Comics

Based upon the premise that “years ago” it was actually Doctor Ho Yinsen who donned Iron Man’s first suit of armour rather than the playboy industrialist Tony Stark, this theatrically titled “Secret Wars” tie-in comic unconvincingly bands together some of the lesser known heroes of the “Marvel Universe” into “a very small [super] team” and then, simply upon the whim of the “omnipotent ruler of Battleworld”, forcibly pits them against the formidable military power of their principality’s neighbour, “the fascist futuropolis of Mondo City”. Somewhat perturbingly however, any of this book’s 27,618 readers in July 2015 who thought so ludicrously contrived a narrative couldn’t become any more bizarre were in for a serious shock when towards the comic’s end Al Ewing introduces the blatant Judge Dredd and Cassandra Anderson wannabes Boss [Luke] Cage and Boss [Emma] Frost; “Wake up, Creep. We’ve got you down for resisting arrest, illegal border crossing, and extremist ideology.”

In fact the “shop thy neighbour” lawmen are so similar in look and dialogue to John Wagner’s “2000 A.D.” co-creation that any potential buyer simply flicking through the back pages of this publication must doubtless have quickly double-checked the cover to make sure they hadn’t inadvertently picked up an issue about the Mega-City One street judge. Certainly it is clear, what with their over-sized shoulder-pads, bullet-shaped helmets and reference to perps, just why “Marvel Worldwide” Editor Tom Brevoort chose a British comics writer with a proven track record of writing "Future Shocks" to pen so blatantly unoriginal a script.

Admittedly this cheesy concoction does still somehow manage to provide some modicum of entertainment, especially when it quite cleverly connects to former major story-arcs such as the Spider-Verse by having Hobie Brown replace his world’s dead spider-man as Spider Hero, or a dying Brian Braddock handing the mantle of Captain Britain over to Doctor Faiza Hussain during the Age of Ultron. But sadly Ewing’s reimagining of She-Hulk as “the Thor for this domain”, a green giantess who walks around with the decidedly tiny “Gavel of Thor” strapped to her hip, is infinitely less successful an idea... 

Fortunately all of this magazine’s disconcerting nonsense is wonderfully illustrated by “Excalibur” artist Alan Davis. Indeed for many, “Theirs Is A Land With A Wall Around It…” may well be worth the price simply for its dramatically dynamic cover depicting the “London-based Muslim medical doctor” stoically leading the Defenders against an unknown foe. Whilst for others the Englishman’s pacey panelling provides Mondo City’s invasion of Yinsen’s barony, and otherwise dialogue-heavy storyline, with some much needed spectacle and tension.
The variant cover art of "CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND THE MIGHTY DEFENDERS" No. 1 by Frazer Irving


  1. I like She-Hulk and I like Judge Dredd and Psi Judge Anderson but your review has put me right off this comic. She-Hulk with Thor's Gavel? Come on! Get real! And Luke Cage and Emma Frost impersonating Mega City One's most iconic heroes?! Old Stony Face would have them locked up in an iso-cube for a very long stretch. Although upon reflection, perhaps it should be the comic writer who ought to be locked up along with the editor for allowing this nonsense to be published in the first place! YUK!

    1. I didn't think you'd like this particular "Secret Wars" tie-in Bryan. It is rather dire imho. A shame too, as the idea of this under-used version of Captain Britain leading a new team sounded fun.