- Hardcover: 688 pages
- Publisher: Marvel Books; First Edition edition (August 12, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0785137602
- ISBN-13: 978-0785137603
- Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 7.6 x 1.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.7 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,076,454 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Captain Britain Omnibus Hardcover – August 12, 2009
Equal parts funny and melancholy. "Mooncop" is a graphic novel story of the past, present, and future, all in one. Learn more
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Top Customer Reviews
The Amazon site labels this the "Captain Britain by Alan Moore and Alan Davis Omnibus", which is a trifle misleading if one is not familiar with the content. Davis's name being used like that is accurate; he was involved, either as writer, artist, or both, in all but 44 of the collection's 601 pages of story. Moore, however, while the author of the most famous segment of this period (the bulk of the "Jaspers' Warp" epic), is only responsible for about a third of the collection. Anyone buying this expecting 600 pages of Alan Moore stories should know that this is not the case. That said, 200 pages of Moore is very much worth buying, and the remainder, by Davis and other creators, is also excellent (they are herein discussed, so some spoilers).
Unlike most of Marvel's Omnibuses, which focus on the work of a unified creative force (an author, generally, occasionally also a single artist; the "Wolverine Omnibus" is the other most recent notable exception), this one covers an entire era in the history of the Captain Britain mythos. What might be called the second volume, beginning publication in 1981 a few years after the first ended, and ending before the launch of the "Excalibur" team book featuring some of the characters in 1987. This era began with writer David Thorpe and artist Davis, launching Cap into a new era with a revitalized supporting cast and a new costume (one that he would keep until 2008). Thorpe was let go, according to Davis, because he used the initial parts of "Jaspers' Warp" as a platform for political subtext, which Marvel UK wanted nothing to do with. His replacement was, ironically, Alan Moore, now one of comics' most well-known writers for including adult themes, but who here restrained himself mostly to what Davis calls "high-concept weirdness". Moore finishes Thorpe's story (past collections, though, have included only Moore's part; here readers get the whole thing for the first time). Moore's departure eventually brought Jamie Delano on to co-write with Davis, though Davis says that Delano's taste for a non-superhero style made it a difficult collaboration. Filling out the collection are two Chris Claremont-written, Davis-illustrated X-Men stories that integrated Captain Britain's sister Psylocke into the team, and two Mike Carlin-written issues of "Captain America", where the title character teams up with Captain Britain. These issues are the only ones in the collection not drawn by Davis, which makes them stand out a bit. However, Paul Neary does have a connection to the property: he was working at Marvel and helped get the revival going.
Moore's stories are the big draw here, and indeed he delivers some of his best straight superhero work. He gives Captain Britain a vibrant supporting cast, with characters such as Merlyn coming across as particularly interesting. I would argue that Captain Britain himself may suffer a bit under this, as Moore never really makes him the most interesting person in the room. One gets the sense he finds people like Merlyn more interesting. Personally, the highlight of Moore's work was the final issue, Merlyn's funeral, which has all the best Moore touches. At the end of "Jaspers' Warp", Brian has defeated neither of the two main villains; his AU counterpart, Linda, is really the big hero in the end. Brian is served better in the subsequent Davis/Delano period, which put him in a variety of scenarios to illustrate his personality, while not losing sight of the other characters. For those who are familiar wtih Davis primarily as a light comedy artist, his potent handling of many grim and disturbing scenes will be a welcome display of breadth. Consider a jumble of images depicting Jamie Braddock's various misdeeds, among them two panels depicting a young female Red Cross worker being singled out to survive the slaughter of her co-workers and be sold as a slave in Tangier. The rendering of her face is powerful. Chris Claremont's Psylocke stories mark a fairly pronounced shift in the character's depictions (as acknowledged in-story), but build on her various ordeals in previous stories and set her on a path to eclipse her brother in popularity as a member of comics' biggest franchise.
Overall, a highly recommended collection of comics rather scarce on either side of the Atlantic.
The Captain Britain omnibus collects all the issues listed above and throws in New Mutants Annual #2, Uncanny X-Men Annual #11, Captain America #305-306, and some nice extras as well. This is the omnibus I have been waiting years for.
The omnibus does not include earlier stories of Captain Britain, such as those from Captain Britain Weekly (UK) (the first ten issues of which were written by Chris Claremont), Super Spider-Man and Captain Britain (UK), and the "Otherworld Saga" which ran in the Hulk (UK) Comic. For completion's sake, it would be great to see a second omnibus of this material.
Now the not so good... You know how after a really good meal you will sometimes have a really, really good dessert? Well, the end of this book is like the pineapple upside down cake of that great meal. I don't know what happened to Chris Claremont but at one time he was a very good writer. The early X-men years, of course, spring to mind. I think success went to his head because the X stories featuring Captain Britain that he wrote are hold-your-nose awful. Stop at chapter 47 because the rest is pure garbage. Not worth your time.
But as you saw I still give the book 5 stars.
Although it is entertaining to see Alan Moore play with some of his Marvel Man themes before that great epic.