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Captain Britain

Marvel Legends
by yo go re

Who says every Marvel hero lives and works in New York?

Brian Braddock was selected by the god-wizard Merlin to be Earth's representative in the reality-spanning Captain Briatin Corps. Captain Britain Already an established hero in Britain, Brian first met Spider-Man during a student-exchange program when he roomed with Peter Parker. The two became fast friends while fighting Arcade. Captain Britain co-founded the super-team Excalibur, and he and Spider-Man have encountered one another occasionally since then. Brian has subsequently become ruler of Otherworld, a glorious kingdom positioned at the nexus of reality, where science and sorcery exist as one.

Captain Britain was created by Chris Claremont and Herb Trimpe to help fill space in the Marvel UK books, which mixed reprints of existing Marvel material with all-new features created especially for the market. He was intended to be a sort of cultural analogue to Steve Rogers. His origin was slightly mystical instead of scientific, but otherwise he fit the bill.

For a long time, his adventures were fairly mundane superhero stuff, but under the hand of Alan Moore, he truly blossomed, becoming one of the most impressive heroes Marvel has to offer. He's single-handedly faced more omni-versal crises than most of the other Marvel heroes combined, and been party to deep personal tragedies. He's been lost in time, depowered, used as a pawn and even been killed a few times because of his role, but he still fights the good fight with a stiff upper lip.

Captain Britain has had a figure once before, but it was a pretty terrible repaint in an unpopular, comicstore-exclusive line - he's a good character, and definitely deserves better. This figure may still be a store exclusive, but at least we've finally got a good one.

The figure is built on the Black Panther body, which seems to be the new standard "big" body: that's why it's also been used for Wonder Man and Sentry. The downside of this is that all the characters end up with the same nubbly texture as BP's costume, no matter what their suit (or skin) is made of. To help set him apart, Cap gets new gloves and boots, complete with the big flared bits on his knees.

what IS that? In the comics, it was never really clear whether Captain Britain was wearing a mask or a helmet - it was often getting torn or shredded, but it also had more of a distinctive shape than cloth stretched over his head would display. It was more like a faceplate than a hood. Whatever it is, it's been sculpted perfectly here - the brow slopes down in an arc, while the little bit under his chin juts out just slightly.

Captain Britain has worn a few different costumes over the years. The first is particularly goofy these days, so it's good that ToyBiz went with his second. Through some unknown means, the amulet that gave Brian his powers was transformed into a costume that resembled a Union Jack. The paint is done really well - even the blue wash that ToyBiz loves to use on its white figures is subtler than usual. The costume features a big red X on the chest, with a thin white border between it and the rich blue of his armpits and neck. The pattern continues down his arms, before giving way to white gloves and pants. Everything is quite nice.

Soon after the formation of Excalibur, Brian got a new costume from Captain Marshall, one of his cross-time counterparts. The costume had the same cut and colorscheme, but the Union Jack was replaced with stripes and blocks of color. He spent more time in that suit, and was still wearing it up until a few months ago. It would have made for a simple variant, so it's sort of a shame that we didn't get one - it's not like the edges are sculpted in or anything. That's even the version shown in the press photos and on the back of the card. And the one that leaked out early! Oh well - custom!

his knee's got a prolapse Captain Britain comes with Giant-Man's right leg, which is the Tomax to the left leg's Xamot. These things look normal enough from the front, but view the leg in profile, and you'll see a real problem: namely, if your kneecap sticks that far out from the rest of your leg, you need to see a doctor. In real life, a human couldn't grow more than, say, 15 feet before their bones broke with every step - that's because tensile strength increases as a square of the original, while mass increases as a cube. It's linear growth versus exponential growth, and one overtakes the other pretty quickly. Who says you never use anything you learn in math class after you graduate? Anyway, maybe that's what popped Giant Man's patella out of place. Ewww!

Cap's reprint comic is Excalibur #1, which makes sense. It's a good read, but there are a few problems. First of all, it's continued from another comic. There was a special one-shot that led into the new series, so you're sort of dropped into the middle of things, with a lot of character relationships already defined. Secondly, Brian doesn't really do much in the first issue - the guest-starring X-Men are the ones who save the day and drive the story.

There's a hole in Captain Britain's back, a holdover from Widget the mold's use as Wonder Man. It's the slot that allowed Yellowjacket to "fly" over the Avenger's shoulder, but if you pop the little tab out, you can use it for a Doop stand. However, reading the included comic, you can't help but think of an accessory they could have included that wasn't: Widget, the little silver football that served as the team's interdimensional transportation. Put the little guy on a clear swoosh similar to Yellowjacket's and he could have floated behind Cap wonderfully.

-- 06/28/06

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