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Reviews and commentary by Tony Isabella
"America's Most Beloved Comic-Book Writer & Columnist"

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for Monday, July 20, 2009

Captain Britain

Two more Secret Invasion trades today. Both with different takes on the war and one of them pretty good.

The pretty good one is Captain Britain and MI13 Vol. 1: Secret Invasion [Marvel; $15.95], which reprints the first four issues of the title plus a two-part Spider-Man/Captain Britain tale from the first run of Marvel Team-Up. The newer material is by Paul Cornell and Leonard Kirk, the more vintage adventure is by Chris Claremont and John Byrne.

In the newer material, the invading Skrull seek to take the magic of England for their own green selves. Opposing them are Captain Britain, Pete Wisdom, the Black Knight, Spitfire, John the Skrull, and a brand-new and extremely interesting heroine. There's lots of wonderful daring-do, moments of peril and loss, and a most satisfying ending. Cornell's story is first-rate; Kirk's art and storytelling match it beat for beat. Despite my weariness over yet another big event that goes on too long, this adventure was a true delight.

In the earlier material, there's much fun to be had as Arcade tries to assassinate Captain Britain and Spider-Man gets caught up in the murderous game. It's not a classic, but it was entertaining back in the day (1978) and is still good today.

Captain Britain and MI13 Vol. 1 earns an impressive four Tonys. If you're only reading a Few Secret Invasion trades - unlike a certain crazed reviewer we could name - this should be one of the ones you read.

Tony Tony Tony Tony


The not-nearly-as-good SI trade is Deadpool Vol. 1: Secret Invasion [$14.99] by Daniel Way with artists Paco Medina and Carlo Barberi. It reprints the first five issues of the latest Deadpool series and "The Deadpool Saga," a profusely-illustrated biography of the "Merc With a Mouth."


The Secret Invasion part of the story runs three issue with lots of Deadpool action as he takes down dozens of Skrulls, a little bit of intrigue when he seems to switch sides, and an wholly unsatisfying ending wherein Nick Fury is outsmarted by Norman Osborn. You know, this whole "Fury in hiding so he can surprise his enemies" gambit would've been a lot more interesting if Fury were actually accomplishing anything of note after he came out of hiding.


There are several amusing moments scattered through the Secret Invasion issues and the more mundane two-issue tale that follows them, but not enough for me to recommend this trade paperback. Out of five possible Tonys, it earns but two.

Tony Tony



At Rick Veitch and Steve Conley's message boards, posters there ask me questions and I try to answer them, just as I do here and on my own message board. A poster who posts as "Bring Back Zot" asked:

If you were to write another comic book and could collaborate with any living comic artist, who would that be and why?

My response:

My immediate thought was Black Lightning with Trevor Von Eeden on the layouts and Eddy Newell on the finishes. However, reading your question a second time, I think you might just have been asking for one artist's name. Which is a much tougher question as there are so many artists I'd like to work with.

With the understanding there are many artists I would like to work with but you're only asking for one:

Alex Ross.

The man does incredible iconic representations of the greatest superheroes in comics and seems to really grasp the essentially heroic and optimistic natures of those characters.

What would really please me would be to create new characters with him.

Keep the questions coming, either at or by sending them to me at:

Thanks for spending a part of your day with me. Because Justin (our wondrous web-wizard) will be attending Comic-Con International in San Diego, TOT will be on a brief hiatus until his return. I'll be back on Wednesday, July 29, with more stuff.

Tony Isabella

<< 07/17/2009 | 07/20/2009 | 07/29/2009 >>

Discuss this column with me at my Message Board. Also, read Heroes and Villains: Real and Imagined and view my Amazon Wish List.

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Zero Tonys
ZERO: Burn your money before buying any comic receiving this rating. It doesn't *necessarily* mean there's absolutely nothing of value here - though it *could* - but whatever value it might possess shrinks into insignificance before its overall awfulness.

ONE: Buy something else. Maybe I found something which wasn't completely dreadful in the item, but not enough for me to recommend it when there are better comics available. I only want what's best for you, my children.

TWO: Basic judgment call. I found some value, but not enough to recommend it. My review should give you enough info to decide if you want to take a chance on it. Are you feeling lucky today, punk? Well, are you?

THREE: This denotes something I find perfectly respectable. There are better books out there, but I wouldn't regret buying this item. Based on my review, you should be able to determine if it's of interest to you. Let the Force guide you.

FOUR: I recommend anything earning this rating. Unless you don't like the genre, subject matter, or past work of the creators, I believe you'll enjoy this item. Isn't it uncanny how I can look right into your soul that way?

FIVE: Anything getting this rating is among the best comicdom has to offer. You should buy/read this, even if the genre/subject matter doesn't appeal to you. It's for your own good. Me, I live for comics and books this good...but not in a pathetic "Comic-Book Guy" sort of way.

Please send material you would like me to review to:

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