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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captain Britain lives, 7 April 2011
By 
Michael Finn (Blackburn, Lancashire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Captain Britain Vol.3: The Lion and the Spider (Paperback)
In 1976 to be exact - I fell in love with Marvel UK's new hero: Captain Britain was born. Unfortunately, most of the other kids were more impressed with The Beano, TV Comic, Look-in or all those war comics. Captain Britain was dead. After 39 weekly issues Marvel UK's British experiment was laid to rest. The UK just wasn't in tune with America's love of the super-hero comic genre. At this time Marvel had got used to canceling comics after the shine had worn off the launch glitz. These titles usually ended with just a small loyal following which the publishers would try to tempt over to another title by merging the defunct title with one of the more viable titles. In this case Captain Britain's loyal die-hards would have to start collecting Marvel's flagship unsinkable British reprint title: Super Spider-man. The 11 year old me was a big fan of both. This archive volume begins with those post cancellation stories.The Captain Britain series was already deeply flawed even before the merger. It inhabited a Britain that only existed in the lampoon influenced American psyche. The first installment is pretty eye-watering as the writer tries to fit every perceived Brit cliche and mannerism into that first 5 page segment. I'm guessing there were some editorial memos on the fly following this as they did attempt to tone it down a bit in following installments. Two arcs of fairly lacklustre story-telling followed, getting wackier by the week, which seemed to have more in common with vintage titles like Batman from a decade or two earlier. The entirety of Claremont's Captain Britain/Spider-man Team-Up with the original splash pages (included here) would complete the phase-out for our hero. This team-up is quite decent, even considering it features Marvel's 'filler' villain - Arcade.
Captain Britain was dead. Or was he? In 1978 the new Hulk Weekly, designed to cash-in on the popular tv-series but without the use of Marvel's Hulk back catalogue, was looking for British produced back-up titles. One of these was the Steve Parkhouse written Black Knight series that would feature a mysterious stranger who would turn out to be an amnesiac Brian Braddock. The brief was to write a Tolkienesque quest, while drawing on British mythology. It would be packed with mythical creature and magic,most notably the diminutive feral looking elves commanded by master archer Moondog. At this stage there is no sign of Jackdaw (Captain Britain's future fated side-kick) though I guess we should assume he is one of Moondog's troop. Paul Neary would provide the startling and distinctive black and white art, ably assisted in inks by John Stokes. Sometimes something astounding just comes together by people coming together at just the right moment in time. It was destiny I suppose. For the first time since his launch Captain Britain gained an identity that wasn't just an amalgam of successful American comic book characters. The first 29 installments are included here for the first time in over 30 years. It's a shame the series has been split up with the concluding parts kicking off the next volume. Early concept art closes the book as well as some memos from Stan Lee and bizarrely Neil Tennant (the then Marvel UK London editor of latterly Pet Shop Boys fame).
For British comic book nostalgists this book is a dream and for those who know Captain Britain's history they'll know this was to be the stepping stone that would bring our hero under the triumphant pen of the master himself - Alan Moore. The Best was yet to come.
Captain Britain was alive.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The start of a new era, 28 Nov 2010
By 
I. R. Kerr (Lancashire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Captain Britain Vol.3: The Lion and the Spider (Paperback)
In my eyes, the original Captain Britain series suffered from its original format, the first batch of stories being printed in chunks of 7 pages which meant the characters had less time to develop as each issue needed closure or a cliffhanger.
The first tale sees Cap and a odd group of British celebs taken to an island and hunted by the deformed Doctor Claw, yet again the Captain succumbing far too easy to enemy attack (yet more hawks) and, to be honest, the Star Sceptre he carried was pretty naff.
The second tale introduces Slaymaster and is an improvement but the series was reaching its use-by date and thankfully ended on a high with the introduction of Arcade as Cap and Spider-Man join forces in Murder World. We have the colour version of the tale from Marvel Team-Up with the original splash pages included.
There followed a gap of a year or so before Captain Britain was re-introduced at first as a minor character as part of the Black Knight "Otherworld" saga which was even more maddeningly printed at just 3 pages per week, although the art work is pretty good. Collecting them together here makes it so much easier to follow. As has been said it is a Tolkeinesque tale that mixes sword and sorcery, Arthurian legends alongside elves, trolls and goblins not forgetting Merlyn (sic). This volume ends fittingly part-way through the saga as Merlyn ia sbout to reveal the Captain's "true" origin.
As a bonus, there's some nice colour pin-up style images inside as well as some sketches showing the designs for Captain Britain's costume.
Although I have always been a Marvel fanatic I never really took to Captain Britain at that time, 1977-1979, but have now started to collect these volumes to catch up.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another Rebirth?, 27 Sep 2009
This review is from: Captain Britain Vol.3: The Lion and the Spider (Paperback)
A collection of contrasts here- varying from dull and dire to joyously inspired. I find it ironic that Captain Britain's first appearences in Mainstream American Marvel in the two MTU issues here, marked the end of his initial career and not the beginning.
It is the second part of this collection that shines. Capatin Britain's understated appearances in the long-running quintisentially british Black Knight series from Hulk Comic - never before collected and a cult classic.
The next edition will move into the greatest change for Capatin Britain and the charachter's real 'rebirth' - but this is a gem of a book. - Am I the only one who liked the original costume?
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Captain Britain Vol 3, 23 May 2009
By 
Steve Overton (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Captain Britain Vol.3: The Lion and the Spider (Paperback)
Captain Britain Vol 3

Completing the British "Super Spider-Man & Captain Britain" Weekly stories with the classic Marvel Team Up tale by fan favourites John Byrne & Chris Claremont.
However - the real reason you need to buy this Tpb - is the Black Knight saga from Hulk comics Weekly. A tolkeinseque fantasy set within the Marvel Universe explores the true origins of the Captain. Never reprinted before!
With a foreword by former Marvel UK editor Dez Skinn, (& a little letter by Neil,(Pet Shop Boys), Tennant), rounds off this must have collection!
Steve O
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slaymaster, Arcade and the Black Knight, 26 Jun 2009
By 
S. Bentley "stuarthoratiobentley" (North Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Captain Britain Vol.3: The Lion and the Spider (Paperback)
The original Captain Britain comics were intended to be a Marvel hero based in the UK. It was mostly worked on by Americans so worked in the same tropes as American comics, Cap would go up against a supervillain. As such the stories that begin this collection, the final black and white issues of Captain Britain Weekly, are fairly average. Not hideously bad, but not fantastically inspiring.

They are followed by a team-up with Spider-man, as Brian travels to America as an exchange student to be shown how to be a real hero by Peter. (This rather patronising undercurrent, that Brian doesn't know how to be a hero despite all his acts of heroism, would carry over into most of Chris Claremont's work with the character.) The art is by John Byrne at the height of his powers so it looks great and the bad guy Arcade is quite fun and the story is muy enjoyable and reminds me that I wish someone would collect the Claremont and Byrne Marvel Team-ups as they were generally high quality stuff.

But the real evolution of Captain Britain begins as we move into the Black Knight strip, which again is black and white but with strongly rendered art by John Stokes and a semi-Tolkien script by Steve Parkhouse that blends an idiosyncratic take on Britain's local mythologies, such as trolls in armour, Mordred as a black wizard, mystic pathways and dog-faced elves, with two Marvel superheroes, Dane Whitman of the Avengers (though his civilian identity is not parsed, subsumed by his role as Merlin's champion) and a certain amnesiac whose identity is the reason for the story's inclusion in the TPB. In a way, it's the first time Captain Britain is truly British and paves the way for the Alan Moore makeover of the character due in the next volume. The volume ends on a dire note, with the Black Knight's quest half over and reminds us how verdant Marvel UK was.

If you all read this, maybe we can get some of the superlative Night Raven strips collected by Panini, or collections of the Nick Fury and Hulk strips by Steve Dillon from the Hulk comic! I'd pay for those!
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Captain Britain Vol.3: The Lion and the Spider
Captain Britain Vol.3: The Lion and the Spider by Jim Lawrence (Paperback - 26 Mar 2009)
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