December 12, 2009

Captain Britain Omnibus

by Alan Moore & Alan Davis

This is my 24th review! Virtual champaign all around!

This is again the Finnish edition. The US edition has Marvel Super-Heroes (UK) #377-388, The Daredevils (UK) #1-11, Captain America #305-306, Mighty World of Marvel (UK) #7-16, Captain Britain (UK) #1-14, New Mutants Annual #2, and Uncanny X-Men Annual #11.
The Finnish one has Marvel Super-Heroes (UK) #387-388, The Daredevils (UK) #1-11, Mighty World of Marvel (UK) #7-13. However, the New Mutants and the X-Men Annual have been published here years ago in the X-Men comic.

I’ve been a fan of Alan Davis for longer than I care to remember. Here, his style is yet a bit less streamlined than in say, the Authority or the Fantastic Four, but it’s definitely recognizable and enjoyable.

I like most of what I’ve read from Moore. For example V for Vendetta and the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen which are all excellent.

Captain Britain, Brian Braddock, is a man of science who, nevertheless, accepts magical powers from a man he believes to be Merlin from the Arthurian tales. He’s loyal and brave but not to foolishness. Here he finds himself in alternate realities, seeing other versions of himself (some of them female), and trying to stay sane. He doesn’t quite succeed. In another reality, he has to fight a mutant who can alter reality with his mind and the superhero killing machine that the mutant has created. The machine kills Brian.

Merlyn and his daughter Roma are playing a deadly game, and their playing field is the whole of omniverse. Merlyn needs a champion and when Brian dies, Merlyn builds him up again and places him back to his own reality.

There Brian has to face the chance that what happened in that alternate reality might happen in his home as well: one well-placed and selfish mutant might manage to rally the whole Britain against super beings and put them into concentration camps.

This story has many classic cosmic superhero elements: alternate universes and histories, and nearly invincible villains. The stories are quite cosmic although there is time for a one more mundane villain beating.

Some of the classic Captain Britain and X-men characters are met for the first time: Betsy Braddock who later becomes Psylocke, Opal Luna Saturnyne and her Avant Guard, and of course Merlyn and Roma the Omniversal Majestrix.

I like the first run of Excalibur where Brian was a member along with Meggan, Shadowcat, Nightcrawler and Phoenix, and which featured almost as much dimension-hopping as this one. Even though the stories are quite old (the first one came out in 1982), they hold up admirably and are quite enjoyable.

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