Fictional AOS spin-off idea: “Captain Britain and the Agents of MI-13″
Basically, the show is both a Captain Britain series as well as focusing on the UK’s SHIELD equivalent. You can say it’s a British AOS.
For my fancast:
1) David Morrissey OR Kevin McKidd as Brian Braddock / Captain Britain, the main protagonist of the series.
2) Sophie Wu as Betsy Braddock, Brian’s younger half-sister and the deuteragonist of the series. For legal reasons, she does not turn into Psylocke in the show (Psylocke is still owned by Fox).
NOTE: Brian and Betsy share the same dad but have different moms, Betsy’s mom obviously being Asian.
3) Natalie Dormer as Meggan Puceanu, an Inhuman who joins the MI-13 and the tritagonist of the series. She is Brian’s main love interest.
4) David Oyelowo as Joseph Chapman / Union Jack, a SAS veteran-turned-MI 13 agent and Brian’s main rival. He is the anti-hero of the show, contrasting Brian’s straight-laced hero.
NOTE: So the Daryl Dixon to Brian’s Rick Grimes
NOTE 2: Yes, I know I racebent the original character. Needed more POC in the main cast, okay.
5) Richard Madden as Dane Whitman / Black Knight, A rookie MI-13 agent who is later revealed to be the latest in a long line of people destined to become the Black Knight. So…the “Skye” of MI-13, and the Black Knight identity is Daisy Johnson / Quake.
6) Gwendoline Christie as Kelsey Leigh / Lionheart, the main antagonist of season one. She is a former MI-13 agent and the former holder of the Captain Britain title. She has since gone rogue and the reason why she despises Brian and the rest of MI-13 will be revealed at the end of season one.
7) Andrew Scott as Rory Simmons, Jemma’s brother who works as a Roxxon executive and ambassador for MI-13. Unlike his sister, he’s very vain, arrogant, and embraces the lifestyle of the 1%. But he changes over time, becoming more humble and compassionate.
8) Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Chloe Fitz, Alistair’s daughter from his mistress and Leo Fitz’s half-sister. She ran away from home when she was 10 and grew up to be a MI-13 agent. Among the agents, she forms a close friendship to Rory Simmons.
NOTE: Yes, the joke is that MI-13 has their own “Fitz and Simmons”.
What it means to be British, from Captain Britain and MI-13 #5 (2008)
Faiza Hussainis a British-born Pakistani medical doctor whose powers were triggered by an alien weapon while she was working triage during the Skrull Invasion of Great Britain. Later, she became the wielder of the sword Excalibur and joined MI-13 as the steward of the Black Knight, Dane Whitman.
Blessed as it is with mythical properties, Excalibur is capable of slaying even immortal beings such as spirits, gods, and vampires, but Faiza takes her Hippocratic Oath very seriously, and even uses her powers in a non-offensive capability to neutralise her foes. She can disassemble anything- including people- into their component parts, manipulate them on an atomic level, and reassemble them, restoring them to their original condition and repairing any damage. She can also immobilise groups of foes, and has even demonstrated the ability to resurrect herself and others from death by falling from great height by restoring any damage sustained at the precise moment of impact, effectively healing herself as the impact forces kill her.
Faiza lists her three main fandoms as cricket, British superheroes, and the S.A.S. In the Age of Ultron continuity (Earth-61112), she was chosen by Brian Braddock to succeed him as Captain Britain before he sacrificed his life to try and repel Ultron’s takeover of the United Kingdom. Although this version of her hasn’t been seen since the Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders limited series published during Secret Wars, Faiza’s creator Paul Cornell has expressed an interest in the possibility of having her take on the mantle in the 616 continuity.
1) Kamar-Taj: Fitz and Simmons take a break from SHIELD and head to Scotland to reconnect with Fitz’s mom. While there, Fitz reconnects with his childhood best friend, who has since become an adventurer explorer with a double PhD in anthropology and archaeology. She recruits Fitz and Simmons to her team to find the lost city of Kamar-Taj.
While this is happening, monks ordered by Wong and Doctor Strange head to SHIELD to reclaim the Darkhold (it’s revealed the Darkhold was once part of Wong’s library).
(The reason why I mentioned Fitz’s friend having two PhDs is she’s supposed to be a “missing link” type character. Like, she has the same mannerisms, she’s able to finish their sentences and is a bit of a nerd herself, although I pictured her as being an adrenaline junkie to contrast Fitz and Simmons)
2) 2099: When a mission goes wrong, Coulson and May are accidentally transported to the year 2099. Stuck in the future, they must find a way back to their own time while also learning about what happened to their team. Helping them are two SHIELD agents, who are later revealed to be Fitz and Simmons’ granddaughter and Mack and Yoyo’s grandson.
The big twist is that Daisy is still alive but is super old. So we get a role reversal; Daisy is now the “parent” to Coulson and May.
In the present day, the team searches for a way to get Phil and Melinda back. Unbeknownst to them, a criminal from 2099 has crossed over and is determined to stay in the past.
3) Captain Britain and MI-13: With Jeffrey Mace dead, Daisy becomes the new Director of SHIELD, with Mack as her second-in-command. In her first day as director, Daisy is contacted by SHIELD’s United Kingdom counterpart, MI-13, about a situation brewing in Europe.
While this is happening, Coulson is contacted by one of his former flames, Lola, who he learns has a connection to MI-13 and the problems in Europe.
Similar to Robbie Reyes/Ghost Rider, this part of the season also acts as an origin story to Brian Braddock/Captain Britain
When Marvel first mentioned the new female Thor, I had a feeling that I had seen that storyline before, meaning that a powerful mystical item that only “he who is worthy” can wield was given to a woman.
Meet Dr. Faiza Hussain, a Muslim woman of Pakistani descent who practices medicine in London, England. Introduced all the way back in 2008, she first appeared in the Marvel comic Captain Britain & MI-13 #1, during the company wide Secret Invasion crossover. She was created by writer Paul Cornell and Leonard Kirk, as well as Mona Bayoumi, Safiya Sayed Baharun, Farida Patel, and Sohere Roked. The latter four aren’t comic book writers, but rather important members of the British Islamic community that Cornell consulted with and he credits them heavily with her creation.
Faiza herself is an intelligent, upbeat young woman, whose parents also live in London (her father is also a doctor). She also happens to be a huge fan of all of Marvel’s superheroes, especially the British ones.
A muslim woman, of Pakistani heritage, who is a superhero fangirl, and becomes a superhero in the Marvel Universe herself…
During the Secret Invasion event, an army of Skrulls invade the UK, in hopes of gaining some Earth’s most powerful magic to take for themselves. During the battle, Faiza is hit with a rogue Skrull weapon and given superpowers as a result. Her powers are described as such:
She can safely open up a body, see what’s wrong with it, and sort it out on a subatomic level. This has the incidental effect of halting shape-changers like Skrulls in their tracks (and anyone else who knows what’s good for them)
In short, that means she can do this:
That’s the Black Knight (a former Avenger and a descendant of a Crusader) that she’s taking apart at the molecular level. Thankfully, she can put him back together again.
To stop the Skrulls, several other British heroes (the MI-13 part) enter Avalon and try to get the best weapon they can find to fight the Skrulls, the mystical sword of Excalibur. Only…
None of them are worthy!
-For the record, that’s John the Skrull (a Skrull who has been living on earth as a John Lennon imposter since 1962), Pete Wisdom (Mutant, British super-spy, and kind of an asshole) and Spitfire (Vampire with enhanced superspeed).
With the Skrulls on the cusp of victory and all hope seeming lost, who else would come and grab Excalibur in the nick of time other than…
…A white guy.
That guy is Captain Britain, who is nothing like Captain America in the slightest. Explaining all the differences would be a whole ‘nother mile long post in and of itself.
So Captain Britain, with the help of Faiza and the Black Knight, fight off the Skrulls while team MI-13 make a deal with some evil spirits on Avalon. In exchange for freeing them, Pete Wisdom is given one wish, and he wishes for the Skrulls to be gone. Just like that, all the Skrulls in and around the UK were killed, but not everywhere else in the world because the magic used didn’t extend that far.
With the fight over, Captain Britain returns Excalibur to the stone.
After that Captain Britain and MI-13 all head off into the sunset, leaving Faiza behind. She’s not sure if she belong with them, since she’s new to the whole superhero thing, and when trying to decide if she should call after them or not, Merlin gives her a small piece of advice.
And with that, Faiza becomes the first woman in the Marvel Universe worthy of the sword Excalibur. She also joins MI-13, as does Blade (yes, Blade ended up on the same team with a vampire; their first meeting went much like what you’d expect).
And I’ll stop here for now, but next post will be how Faiza’s parents react to her having superpowers, joining MI-13, hanging out with a crusader, and being worthy of Excalibur.
I've never read Excalibur, but I know both you and Rachel Edidin are fans. What makes it good, and what's a good place to start with it?
Excalibur, at its best, is exactly what I want out of a superhero comic: it’s weird, it’s funny, it’s touching, it’s exciting, it’s suspenseful, it’s beautiful to look at, it makes the world seem like it might just be cooler than it seems. It’s not just a British X-Men; it’s really its own thing altogether, but, again, at its best, it has a very British tenor to it. I mean, I’m not British so maybe someone will correct me, but the really good stuff feels like classic Doctor Who or Hitchhiker’s Guide, but with Nightcrawler in it. Big ideas, big laughs, big action, and interesting, well-defined characters. Plus, when Alan Davis is drawing it, there’s no beating it for beauty.
(Sidenote: here’s something I don’t think Alan Davis gets enough credit for. Look at this cover:
Look at Kitty, Rachel and Meggan on this cover. Yes, all three are drawn as beautiful, superheroic women, but they have three very distinct body types. It’s maybe not as evident from just this cover, but if you read the book, you’ll see, you could identify the three female leads of this book from silhouette alone. Hell, this is true of the men, too.)
Here’s what I would recommend to get the most out of it:
Captain Britain by Alan Moore and Alan Davis: This is actually out of print, but Amazon has new and used copies for reasonable prices. This is very early Alan Moore, busting out big ideas early, with a few concepts that foreshadow some of his later work. There is some Cap stuff before this, but it’s a little harder to get (I don’t have it sadly), and I’m not 100% sure on how worth the effort or expense it would be. But this collection introduces ideas that will be paying off throughout many storylines later, such as the Captain Britain Corps, Saturnyne, the Technet, Mad Jim Jaspers, and the Fury, among others.
Captain Britain by Jamie Delano and Alan Davis:This is WAY out of print, but Amazon’s got some cheap copies in new condition, so I say snap it up. The stories aren’t quite as mind-twisting as in the previous volume, but this picks up where it left off and introduces some important ideas, such as Captain Britain’s brother, Jamie Braddock, and his sister, whom you might have heard of (she is on the X-Men [her name is Psylocke]).
Ugh, it looks like these are basically all out of print, but available for affordable prices, so, uh, still get them.
Excalbur Classic vol 1: This run of trades collects the original Excalbur series by Chris Claremont and Alan Davis. It picks up a lot of elements from the Captain Britain series, but also introduces some X-Men elements, like a hilarious Juggernaut encounter and some weird Inferno shit. This is good Claremont.
Excalbur Classic vol 3: This is the first part of the Cross-Time Caper, which is a story about Excalbur traveling through different dimensions on a train. It kind of goes off the rails (no pun), but kind of in a good way almost?
Excalbur Classic vol 4: This wraps up the Cross-Time Caper. There is another volume of Excalbur Classic after this. Do not get it. Instead, skip to…
~~~ALAN DAVIS EXCALIBUR~~~
Excalibur Visionaries Alan Davis vol 1: This, to me, is Excalbur at its Excaliburiest best. Alan Davis returns to the book on art AND takes over the writing. The book just boils over with charm and wit and swashbucklery in this era. Just so dear to my heart.
Excalibur Visionaries Warren Ellis vol 1: So there was a period of a couple of years where Excalibur got SUPER 90s X-Men-y, unfortunately. So we will skip those years to the point where a young(er) Warren Ellis took over the book. The feel is completely different from Davis’s stuff, but it is still cool and interesting. He introduces Pete Wisdom, who is Ellis’s typical chain-smoking self-insert, but he uses him to tell some pretty exciting sci-fi-tinged stories. This run came out when X-Files was hot, and it shows.
Excalbur Visionaries Warren Ellis vol 2: The art in Ellis’s run can be hit or miss (though there is cool Sienkiewicz stuff here and there throughout), but I think this is the point when Carlos Pacheco takes over as regular artist, and his stuff looks great.
Wisdom MAX mini-series by Paul Cornell and Trevor Hairsine: This fun little series is not Excalibur per se, but it stars Pete Wisdom and does some work to expand the universe of Marvel’s Britain. At times it reads like the first comics work of a person coming from other media (which it is), but the highs outweigh the lows, in my opinion. Also, this series leads in a roundabout way to…
Captain Britain and MI:13 vol 1 by Cornell and Leonard Kirk: This is the spiritual successor to Excalibur, though many of the characters and elements that made that series great are replaced with characters and elements that are cool in different ways. This is probably one of the three or four best stories to come out of Secret Invasion, for what that’s worth.
Captain Britain and MI:13 vol 3: And this one wraps up the series, taken from us too soon. Yes, this is the famous “Dracula on the moon” story. Even though Dr McNinja wore it better, this is still a creative team going, “Fuck you, this is comics, we’re going to have some goddamn fun.”
Anyway, check those out and I guarantee you will have a cool fun time, pip pip cheerio.