Welcome to part two of the Captain Britain Blog’s guide to the very first series of Cap comics from the Seventies. Full details of how the review system works can be found here, then please enjoy….
From the holocaust..a hero.
Captain Britain issue 2. Published October 20th 1976.
Writer:- Chris Claremont.
Artists: Fred Kida and Herb Trimpe.
You have been watching:- No new faces this week.
The story so far:- Forced to make a choice between being the bearer of a mystical amulet or sword Brian Braddock quickly chooses the former as the villainous Joshua Stragg chooses the latter. Brian is transformed into Captain Britain whereas Stragg becomes an evil-looking knight in armour.
Stragg’s minions attempt to tackle Captain Britain but are easily beaten as our new hero then moves to face off with the Reaver. After a tense battle Cap triumphs and his mysterious benefactor -Roma – tells him he has passed the test and can now fulfil his destiny as a champion of good. Captain Britain agrees and so a legend is born.
Continuity:- Though it debuted in issue 1 it’s only in this issue that Cap’s quarterstaff is named, and its power to extend and become by doing so an extension of his heroic abilities is better demonstrated. It is also noted Captain Britain carries this staff on his back.
Captain Britain describes his new super powers as making him bigger,faster and stronger, he feels he is literally bursting with power.
We see Brian Braddock change into Captain Britain when he touches his amulet which was to become the common way he adopted his secret identity, or returned to his civilian alias.
Stragg meets his demise in this issue and is never seen again in Captain Britain or the rest of the Marvel Universe.
The comic is labelled as being in colour but to cut costs Marvel printed the last page in black and white and covered it up by saying it’s a coloring page.
Well said old chap:- I love how even as he makes a life changing choice Brian still has time to nicely philosophize on his actions.
Stand out art:- Captain Britain’s first transformation is shown in this great kinetic panel, with the beautiful ZARRG sound effect perfectly illustrating the other worldly change.
Final thoughts:- After last weeks interesting start Captain Britain’s origin heads into standard super hero territory as newly powered he confronts and defeats a super villain. This doesn’t mean to say the tale’s not any good as each panel and page is packed with action and detail, and what’s interesting about the showdown is that Cap uses his fists and his head to defeat the Reaver, who sadly is never seen again. Whilst the Reaver might be seen as a very two-dimensional baddie; this I feel was only down to the lack of space in the strip, fleshed out and returned from the dead for revenge we might have seen him in a new light.
I also feel Captain Britain’s quarterstaff needs some scrutiny, we know Cap has super strength so why he needs a “super stick” to aid him is not really explained, unless it’s just because he needs a foil to Stragg’s sword. To me the staff is inspired by the legend of Robin Hood and while it’s interesting and makes Cap stand out among the super hero crowd just how useful it actually is isn’t really demonstrated in this issue. However keep your eye on the continuity box in forthcoming reviews where I will show you how suddenly the quarterstaff came into its own and had as nearly as many uses as a swiss army knife.
All said Captain Britain’s origin is fun, fast and full of UK flavor, you are left feeling Britain has a hero comparable to the over the pond super types. However my thoughts on finishing the story was just where would Cap go next? Would the Britain of his title be lip service only or would the comic continue to be about a UK hero? I’m pleased to say I was pleasantly surprised but that’s for future final thoughts.
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