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Captain Britain and MI13 - Vol. 3: Vampire State Paperback – September 23, 2009
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The first two arcs of the series, "The Guns of Avalon" and "Hell Comes To Birmingham", while functioning as standalone stories, are also prologues to this climactic arc: due to a number of subplots and plot elements set up in previous stories (one fairly late-stage development makes little sense unless you've read "Hell Comes To Birmingham"). As revealed on the closing pages of the previous volume, the villain of this arc is none other than Dracula, the arch-villain of the famous 1970s Marvel series "Tomb of Dracula" (and, obviously, one of the most iconic figures in western literature). He is now planning an invasion of the United Kingdom, with an army of vampires at his command, and MI13 in his sights. Among his allies is the resurrected Baron Blood, son of MI13 member Spitfire.
Given how pervasive Dracula is in global pop culture, if one is planning to use him in a new story it really helps to have a reasonably unique take on him. While not completely new (there is precedent in, among other things, "Tomb of Dracula" itself, though that's been out of publication for decades), Cornell's version of Dracula, a brilliant strategist and general with a large army at his command, is quite different from most depictions, where he might have a handful of helpers and specialize in abducting individuals to feed on. The project at hand, the creation of a vampire homeland where he can rule and his people can be `free', is an ambition worthy of such a characterization (it also has a certain credible limitedness to it, unlike some of the more generic "take over the world" schemes).
Among the main cast, this arc represents the moment of truth for a number of characters: for Spitfire, for whom this story has
been in the works for a while, a trial of endurance; for Faiza Hussain, who finally gets a costume and a codename in this story and must live up to the responsibility of wielding Excalibur; and for Pete Wisdom, who will find his skills as a strategist tested to the full. The rest of the cast, such as Captain Britain and Blade, also have plenty to do (Back Knight probably gets shafted a bit, after an opening scene where he recovers his sword at last).
It's a shame that the series couldn't have lasted longer, but this is a superb climax.