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Captain Britain: Birth of a Legend v. 1 Paperback – 2 Feb 2007

3.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Paperback, 2 Feb 2007
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Product details

  • Paperback: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Panini Books (2 Feb. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905239300
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905239306
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 1.4 x 26 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 113,090 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Marvel U.K.'s first original super hero made his explosive debut in 1976. Now, on his 35th anniversary, Captain Britain's earliest adventures are collected in the United States for the first time! Witness the legend's beginning as British student Brian Braddock makes a fateful choice between might and right, and becomes Merlin's champion! Experience Captain Britain's first battles as he faces fearsome foes like the Reaver, Hurricane, Dr. Synne, the Mastermind computer, Lord Hawk, Nykonn and the Manipulator. And thrill to his dynamic team-up with U.S. counterpart Captain America as they join forces to battle the Red Skull! Plus: the debut of Brian's sister, Betsy Braddock - better known today as the X-Men's Psylocke! Never before seen on our shores, these early tales of Marvel U.K.'s original hero are classic British action, presented in the Mighty Marvel Manner! Collecting Captain Britain (1976) #1 to 39 and Super Spider-Man And Captain Britain #231 and 232, written by Chris Claremont, Gary Griedrich, Larry Lieber, Bob Budiansky, Len Wein & Jim Lawrence, pencilled by Herb Trimpe, John Buscema, Ron Wilson & Bob Budiansky.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

This book, long overdue, contains the first 23 issues of Captain Britain's UK weekly series. It's all on high-quality paper, with nice forewords from Chris Claremont and Herb Trimpe, and even a replica of the mask given away with CB #1 (though whether you feel like cutting this out and ruining your book is down to personal taste...). The art benefits from being suqashed down to US-format sized pages too, looking much more detailed than it does in the original comics, and the cover for each issue is faithfully reproduced.

The stories themselves... aren't too bad. At least not while Claremont's in charge, having a nice Silver Age colourfulness to them (thanks to Trimpe's big, clunky Kirby-esque pencils). Brian's well-defined, especially the ongoing theme of him learning new aspects of his powers all the time, and he can /just about/ write convincing British dialogue, though his usual exposition trouble keeps it bogged down. The basic set-up is a bit of a copy from Peter Parker's school/college years, with Courney Ross as Mary Jane, Jacko Tanner as Flash Thompson and CID officer Dai Davies serving as a surrogate J. Jonah Jameson (and his female sidekick, such a memorable character I can't remember her name, functions as Robbie Robertson I suppose). The Hurricane is a decent stab at a villain too, meaning some nice big technicolour fight sequences, though Dr. Syn is a bit more of a failure, with the scripts not really explaining what he is or what he does...

It all really hits the wall later on when Gary Friedrich takes over writing duties... Friedrich just has no feel for the UK whatsoever - practically the first thing done is bringing in Captain America, the Red Skull and Nick Fury, and the comic gradually loses any sense of individuality thanks to his inept scripting.
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AS an American COmic Book writer, I can still remember the day I saw Marvel Team-Up #65 on the racks and was introduced to Captain Britain. This character affected and inspired me in many ways. There's a reason why Captain Britain played such a giant supporting role in the Earth X trilogy. This is a collection of works that predated Alan Moore's amazing run by a great number of years. I love this stuff. It has the feel of old Marvel. Which means it may not be literary, but it's a lot of fun.

Trimpe is a master storyteller. And while these stories are not up to Claremont's early X-Men standards, they are still fun in a sort of "How do I recreate Spider-Man as a Captain AMerica from England" kind of way.

So for those who adore the Moore run on the book, these are the stories he was taking from and re-imagining.

I love it. And love Panini for making this (and Knights Of Pendragon soon) available.
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It was in the week ending October 13th 1976 that Marvel UK told the bold step in printing a unique and original strip for the UK only and to give the UK its own hero with Captain Britain

Back then the strip was fraught with problems as the material was produced in the USA and shipped over to the UK for reprinting on a weekly basis and limited the amount of pages that Chris Claremont and Herbe Trimpe could produce

But despite this the enthusiasm and dynamics of the comics produced shine through with the combination of Herbe Trimpe and the legendary Fred Kida providing a Kirby-like quality to the art and adding the shameless fun of the stories

These strips where done back in the days when how exciting or how much fun a strip was more important than the finer details so some of the stories don't bare analysis very well but are possibly all the better for it

The story starts as Brian Braddock, a university student from Thames university who is caught in the middle of a dramatic invasion, tries to escape and accidentally drives off a cliff on a motorbike - apparently still alive he "sees" Merlin (and Roma also though she is unnamed) who offers him the choice of the sword or the amulet Brian chooses the amulet and by wearing it is transformed into Captain Britain a strange combination of Arthurian Legend and 1970's modern day science who goes on to fight an array of bewildering foes all of who are ironically failures in life

There are many, many first appearances throughout Claremont's short run on the strip, the already mentioned Merlin, Roma, Captain Britain, Betsy Braddock (who much later on goes on to become physchlocke and join the x-men), Dai Thomas, Courtney Ross and many others

Now the story and the legacy of Captain Britain can be
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Captain Britain was Marvel UK's first foray into creating a unique British hero for the British market. It had one major factor over other Marvel weeklies at the time, given that it was published in colour (at least half of the comic was in colour), whereas all the others had colour covers and had black and white pages! It was backed up with other comic strips starring The Fantastic Four and Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (not included in the collection!).

The Captain Britain strip itself was in colour, but sometimes the strip would exceed the number of colour pages available, and they would print the last page of the story in black and white, and cheekily title it as something like: "SPECIAL BONUS: Captain Britain Do-It-Yourself Colour Page!"

As a 13 year old boy when the comic was first published I used to eagerly await each weekly instalment being delivered with the morning newspapers from our local newsagents. It was fun reading these stories again from an adult perspective some 34 years on!

One can now see that having an all-American team create essentially a cross between Spider-Man and Captain America for the UK market was probably not ideal. Some of the dialogue is extremely clunky, and comes across like Dick Van-Dyke in Mary Poppins; in a way that NO English person has ever spoken in reality - apart from in American movies! Gawd luv-a-duck!

Herb Trimpe's art is sometimes Kirbyesque, sometimes simple, but is always easy on the eye.

The one thing that did strike me was the amount of exposition that was used via captions and thought balloons - something that comics these days rarely use anymore, allowing the reader to figure out whats going on from the visuals rather than being told in each panel.
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