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When my son starting asking for Captain America books - my first thought was "Wait - what about Captain Britain?" His first Captain America book was quite a disappointment, so I started looking for Captain Britain. My son did prefer this version, with the Union Jack costume, but was a bit disappointed that he doesn't have a shield like his American counterpart. Two other factors influenced our decision to try this book. The first was the price. I believe I picked this up around the £4 mark, used, but new copies only cost £5.29 delivered from Amazon. The second factor was the fact that I was aware that Secret Invasion was a huge Marvel storyline which would tie into other books and other characters. The idea of an alien invasion promised plenty of action and fights, as well as some rather creepy monsters, and this did deliver on these fronts.
This book collects Marvel Comics Captain Britain and MI-13 Secret Invasion #1 - #4. The main plot centers on the Skrull Invasion in Britain, where most of the Secret Invasion books take place in the USA. The batlefields will iclude the streets of Britain and the magical realm of Avalon, which will prove crucial to teh survival of teh everyday realm as well. We read this book as newcomers to the Marvel Universe. I do feel that the reader would benefit greatly from having further background information on the characters. I'm sure having read the American Secret Invasion books would help as well, but the biggest issue was simply that, not having read any previous Captain Britain books, I had no idea who the characters were, what their powers were, and in many case - just what was going on. I'm still not at all sure if John the Skrull who mentions the Skrull Beatles is actually meant to be John Lennon or just a look a like.
I don't think it s spoiler to mention that Captain Britain dies in this book, as it happens quite early on, and it is of course obvious that he will not stay dead. The method of his resurrection was very good though, and one of the high points of the book. Other characters that feature heavily are the Black Knight. Captain Peter Wisdom of MI-13 ( a new organisation of superheroes drafted in for the defense of the country, headed by an intelligence agent, presumably MI-5 or MI-6 before this) Oberon, Merlyn and Spitfire. There is also a rather goth looking fairy whose name I never did figure out. The main character however, appears not be Captain Britain, but Dr. Faiza Hussain, who will later be known as Excalibur. In the first pages of this book she develops powers after being hit by a Skrull laser while attempting to help the wounded on the streets of London. There are plenty of fight scenes and this book is almost non stop action.
The graphics are very good in this book, and the overall story isn't bad. At age 7, my son enjoyed this, but it has never become one of his favourites and I do feel the complex plot is better suited to an adult reader. The story moves very quickly and does jump about frequently so that I often found myself turning back a few pages and rereading sections to try to get a grasp of what is going on. Even so - I did find the book confusing at times, and I know my son did as well. That isn't to say I didn't enjoy it, but I do think I would have enjoyed this more with more background on the story and the characters. This is an acceptable book for a new Marvel Reader, but certainly not one of the best, and I feel this book would best suit readers with more experience of the Marvel Universe, and I also feel that this book best suits older readers ages 12+. This is not because of any objectionable material, but simply because the plot is very difficult to follow.
I have only given this 4 stars, because I did find this confusing at times, and I think more could have been done to allow for a smoother flow of the plot. I think this would be better for more experienced Marvel readers, but really I can only rate this based on our experience of it. At the price, I'm glad I bought it, I might very well buy another at similar price and we did enjoy this. I do recommend this - but preferably for older readers with some previous experience of the charaters involved.