Captain Britain and MI13 #10

Issue Date: 
April 2009
Story Title: 
Vampire State - prologue

Paul Cornell (writer), Leonard Kirk (penciler), Jay Leisten (inker), Brian Reber (colorist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Daniel Ketchum (assistant editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Dracula has a meeting on the moon with Dr. Doom, bargaining for a non-aggression pact with Doom and his allies, for when Dracula commences his plan to conquer England. Afterwards, Dracula has his scientists send magical vampire assassins at the various members of MI13. Captain Britain and Pete Wisdom are having a good time in a pub with two backpackers. They share a cab with the two ladies when they are hit by the vampire “bullet.” In Wakanda, the Black Knight and Faiza Hussain are given back the Ebony Blade by Storm. However, on the way back, during which they manage not to discuss their feelings, their plane is fired upon by missiles. Meanwhile, Blade and Spitfire spend an evening at an SAS club and talk. Later, Jaqueline offers herself to Blade, who tells her he wants to wait, because he is still scared of relationships. Later, when Jaqueline is alone, her vampire son Kenneth calls her, pleading to be let in. At the Hussains’ home, Dracula tricks Faiza’s parents into letting them in and then attacks them.

Full Summary: 

The moon. An American flag waves in the background as two men of power meet. The Latverian leader Dr. Doom and the vampire prince ,Dracula who currently makes this his home. Arms akimbo, Doom muses that this is really an interest request, calling Dracula Tepes, a non-aggression treaty. What does Doom stand to gain?

Addressing Doom as “your majesty,” Dracula states that now that he has regained his kingdom… he would wish to see Dracula’s people policed, ruled, would he not? Kept away from Latveria’s borders. There is also the matter of Islam. It will close the gap with the West in term of science and super-powered individuals. Latveria stands on that border as did Dracula’s own land. The realm he would crate would do well without it, serve as a bulwark against it.

Doom derogatively orders him to spare him his racism. He finds it ridiculous in human leaders, because it is an assumption. But in an artefact, a mystical viral package such as him, it’s almost funny. Dracula’s probably thinking of attacking him, Doom continues. It is his nature. His armour contains splinters of the “True Cross” and other such defenses. He studied under one of Dracula’s greatest enemies. He always anticipated war between them. Why does he want Britain?

Dracula smirks, showing his fangs. It’s the home of magic. The peasantry have a sensible knowledge of their past. An inclination to follow their betters. And there is the matter of the door opened by Wisdom. If he gains his new kingdom, will Doom then address him by his proper title?

Heh, Doom replies, of course. He’ll be a proper ruler then. He’ll call him the little prince. He is a prince only for his people, Dracula reminds him. The vampire diaspora who will finally have a homeland. The agreement is this: Doom and his “new allies” he has hinted at will allow Dracula Britain. Without interference and he shall be Doom’s ally and resource. He points at Doom threateningly. And Doom will never find out who would win that war.

A more relaxed ambience, the pub “the Torch and Horses” in London’s Soho where Captain Britain and Pete Wisdom are kicking back a few beers with two backpackers they’ve just met. So what does Captain Britain’s agent actually do? one of the two women, Tara, asks Pete. It’s work, work, work, Pete tells her. He’s in charge of Brian’s hair. It must be hard to keep her hair that gorgeous when she’s backpacking, he continues smoothly. Sorry. Shouldn’t have said that. He means, he likes her, He doesn’t mean to be… It’s okay, Tara tells him, thanks.

Between him and her, he confides conspiratorially, he’s thinking about getting out of the business. Too many betrayals and that’s just his own contribution. Does she reckon he could get a railpass and come with her?

Brian and the other backpacker, Liz, watch the spectacle in a mix of amusement and disgust. Is he really his agent? Liz asks. He’s really an agent, Brian amends. Good, because she feared for him, she quips.

Turning more serious, she asks, he said he saw his wife, but she turned out to be a… hallucination? Spot on, he replies. That’s terrible, Liz replies. The things superheroes have to deal with… He’s all right, he tells her. It’s Meggan who’s lost somewhere. All that happened to him was that he was reminded… of everything left unsaid. Everything he wishes he’d have done. He was such a useless husband. If he knew she’d died… he hates to say it even… He could mourn, Liz continues. And she very much doubts he was a useless husband.

Could he give her superpowers? Tara, asks Pete. She’s already there, he assures her. That’s so corny, she knows he can do better, she pouts.

Liz and Brian look embarrassed. They’ll probably call for a taxi soon, Brian sighs. She just hopes it’s not back to the hostel, Liz remarks.

At the S.A.S social club near Hyde Park the solders are cheering “Lady J” on as she empties a huge glass of beer in one go. They carry her to the bar as she asks whose turn it is. Blade, who’s been standing in the corner, lifts her down. The sweetheart of the regiment, he mocks gently. Abso-bloody-lutely she agrees.

Yo mate, one of the men addresses Blade. How about joining in? He doesn’t drink… beer, comes the reply. He doesn’t have to, the soldier rejoins. Not all of them are. Some of them are flying out tomorrow… to sort the messes out Blade’s lot left them with. His lot? Blade asks, arms crossed. Their American friends, the soldier clarifies. Blade snorts amused. The soldier state Blade stands in the corner, arms folded, sunglasses on, not saying a word, ooh, tough guy. All he’s saying… they don’t appreciate the &%%$§ pose.

For a moment, there is silence. Then Blade takes the sunglasses off to reveal unusually pale eyes. With a smile he admits they are right. He guesses he’s been around superheroes too long.

Later… Jaqueline and Blade sit at the counter. He keeps surprising her, she admits. And himself, he states. These last couple of weeks, she and he… he realizes he’s not used to talking gently to someone, just everyday to someone. Somewhere along the line, he got real melodramatic.

Vampirism will do that, she remarks smiling. He was meant to be someone responsible: a businessman, a good dad. Instead, he is a Hammer Horror. Someone with only their punchlines to lean on. Like her.

She turns away embarrassed. She didn’t mean to sound flippant. The help he’s provided her, the progress they’ve made concerning her family… she wouldn’t want to. Hey, he interrupts her. Shut up. He understands. He kisses her.

The royal palace of Wakanda, Queen Ororo, aka the X-Man Storm, sits on her throne, the other throne next to hers empty. Before the throne stands Faiza Hussain, dressed in armour and wearing the Essex coat of arms. Next to her kneels the Black Knight, asking Ororo for an audience. He only seeks what is his. And has come in humility and compassion His sword is at her feet.

Literally, Storm remarks wryly, as she’s sure he knows. She gestures toward a servant who brings the genuine Ebony Blade. Storm explains that her husband was waiting for the Black Knight to approach him for it. He suspected that, if others took it, they would try to save the Black Knight from it and he knows how those who shoulder great responsibilities must make such decisions themselves. She hands him the Blade.

Dane thanks her. May he ask how her husband came to have it? He moans quietly as he touches the blade. Storm explains that the Black Panther took it from the Vatican’s Black Knight who found it in a vampire nest in Iraq that had been flattened by Opus Dei. She knows he will use it well.

Later, on the flight back, there’s silence between Faiza and Dane until he finally breaks it. What? he asks. Is that it then, being his steward? she asks. Is that what it involves? Standing quietly behind him? She means, she was… she is a doctor… And that was Storm! And she didn’t get to say a word.

What did she want to say? Dane mocks. “I’m such a big fan?” H just took on the burden of the Ebony Blade again, if she didn’t notice. Faiza looks away. And he did that really quickly. Like he couldn’t wait. And he’s an injured man…

What? he exclaims. What does she mean “injured?” He’s carting around two evil weapons, she reminds him, the fake one which according to the guys in white coats has a fang inside it… so she’s pretty sure they know what sort of creature swapped those swords and he’s already suffering from some… magical ailment… A heart of stone. Which he still hasn’t told her about. How many curses does he want?

Dane has to laugh at this. Okay, he explains, the heart of stone isn’t exactly a… curse. It’s a… defence. Something an …ex of his…put in place… to help keep him above it all, uninvolved. With anything… or anybody.

She thought it might be something like that, Faiza replies in a small voice. So let’s not keep that steward thing going then, she suggests. She should find another niche somewhere else on the team.

Faiza, the steward becomes the knight, Dane tells her. There’ll be a moment. She’ll see it. Grab it, make it hers. She carries Excalibur. She’s worthy. He’ll knight her now, if she wants. But even better, be a knight at that one great moment, because she knows she’s worthy. Whichever, please stay at his side.

“Git,” she calls him. Stop making her cry. She can’t ask for… she wants to earn… he know she does. She thought being his steward might get in the way. Of stuff. They both look at each other awkwardly, silently.

Back on the moon, Dracula is in a fit of rage after his meeting with Doom and rants. “Baron of Hassan” “Baron of Krozi”… Hah! That man’s “nobility” is no older than he is! One day he will have that peasant as his body servant, he vows. Still, he gave them what he needed. He enters his lab. Vampire scientists are at work with strange tubes, computers and magical tomes. They can begin phase one, he announces. Prepare to launch attack squad. All ceremonial to full speed. All spells to full focus. Control to him in the conference room. And bring him another girl, he shouts.

Lilith says go. Fate says go, come the reports. Mutating the assassins for individual targets. Launch cannon to full magical power. Awaiting the count’s order. Forward! Dracula orders, standing over the corpse of another girl and the magical vampire assassins are sent forth from the missiles.

Dabbing his mouth, Dracula orders to prepare a skylaunch. Have a disciple in the British government invite him to Earth. Make it “Mayhew.” He says the words particularly well. They must watch every detail. He will lead phase two. Food be damned. Von Doom has put him in the mood for some torment.

In a cab, Wisdom is still flirting with Tara. Taking off his sunglasses, he assures her he wants to stop playing games. He wants to have a straightforward encounter. Just for once. She’s in complete agreement, comes the reply. All back to his townhouse? Brian asks. Are the walls soundproofed? Liz sighs. Yeah, from previous experience, comes the reply. And there’s a fine selection of malts. If she’d like to share a nightcap… before enjoying his guestroom, he hurries to add. That moment, their car is hit by one of the assassins.

In the air, the Black Knight shouts a warning before another vampire missile flies right through the plane.

Blade has accompanied Jaqueline to her home. She hesitates. Nervously, she stammers this is one of those things her lot never had to bother with in the old days. If he fancied… Oh, for goodness sake, does she really have to say something about “coffee?”

With a smile, he tells her he would very much like a cup or even two. But… not yet. He is more old-fashioned than she is, she realizes. He shushes her and explains. He just kind of feels it would be him making a commitment. It would be that. He wants it to be that. And that freaks him out. Makes him feel vulnerable. He needs to get used to that. He kisses her hand. When he has, he’ll want the whole damn percolator!

Within her home Jaqueline laughs. Percolator! She’ll perk him later she tells her cat. Suddenly a voice from outside calls mother. She turn around startled to see her dead son Kenneth. Don’t be scared, he tells her, it’s just him, Kenneth. Is she going to let him in?

The Hussain family home, Chelmsford. Dr. Hussain gets up annoyed in the night, having heard a noise. He calls for his wife, Farida, to hit the security button. Is that Faiza? He hears his daughter’s voice calling him, Please let her in? Can she come in?

He disables the security lock, telling her, of course, she can come in. Suddenly, Dracula rises before him, holding his wife whom he has already bitten. Grabbing Hussain’s throat, he laughs that the old enemy is in his hands again at last. Nobody is going to help him. Neither of them can escape. He is here to send a message to MI13. If any of them survive the night. So this is going to take a while. Which will be an absolute pleasure!

Characters Involved: 

Black Knight, Blade, Captain Britain, Faiza Hussain, Pete Wisdom, Spitfire (all MI-13)

Storm (X-Man and Queen of Wakanda)

Dr Hussain and Farida Hussain (Faiza’s parents)

SAS soldiers


Kenneth Falsworth / Baron Blood III


Dr. Doom

Liz, Tara (two backpackers)

Story Notes: 

The historical basis for Dracula was Wallachian ruler Vlad III (1431-1476): He also carried the names Tepes (the Impaler) for his favourite execution method and Draculea (son of the dragon), because his father was a member of the Order of the Drago. Due to his bloodthirstiness later legends turned him into a vampire. Marvel’s version of the vampire Dracula has always had him be identical to the historical Vlad.

Doom got back his kingdom thanks to Norman Osborn as told in Secret Invasion: Dark Reign #1.

Doom’s allies are the members of the Cabal as shown in Secret Invasion: Dark Reign #1.

When Doom refers to having studied under Dracula’s greatest enemy, he refers to “Cagliostro", as revealed in issue #14.

The historical Dracula spent many years fighting the spread of the Osman Empire. Indeed, as a youth he had been a hostage of the Turks – hence his dislike of Islam shown here.

Hammer Horror refers to Hammer Film Productions, a film production company based in the United Kingdom. First founded in 1934, the company is best known for a series of Gothic "Hammer Horror" films made from the mid-1950s until the 1970s.

Storm is holding the audience because the Black Panther is currently badly injured (as told in Black Panther (5th series) #1.

The Essex coat of arms can be seen here:

The Black Panther got the Ebony Blade in the early issues of the 4th series by a fake Black Knight.

Dracula scoffs about Doom’s “nobility,” probably referring to the fact that he is the son of gipsies.
Kenneth Falsworth and Baron Blood: The Falsworth family ahs long been beset by vampires. The Original Baron Blood was John Falsworth, Spitifre’s uncle. Embittered that his brother Montgomery had inherited the family fortune, shortly before the outbreak of WW I, John travelled to Romania where he sought Dracula. Dracula turned John into a vampire, and then commanded John to wreak havoc on England. John sided with Germany during World War I as an assassin (where he gained the code-name Baron Blood), and fought his brother (secretly Union Jack).
During World War II, John also sided with Germany. He fought the Invaders, crippling his brother, Union Jack I, and wounding Jacqueline Falsworth (who received the blood transfusion by the Human Torch that turned her into Spitfire). He was killed when he was impaled on silver-veined stalagmite, but has been resurrected several times.
Kenneth Crichton was supposed to take on the identity of Union Jack, but refused, stating that his friend Joey Chapman was better suited. Joey agreed and became Union Jack III. Suffering from anemia and feeling estranged from Joey as Union Jack and his recently rejuvenated mother, Lady Jacqueline Crichton, Kenneth became an easy target for Baroness Blood, who turned him into the new Baron Blood as a "cure" for his anemia. The Baroness used Kenneth and several other vampires to obtain the Holy Grail, which gave her immunity to sunlight and the other traditional weaknesses vampires had, but she didn't want to share this power with other vampires and destroyed the Grail. The sun rose and Kenneth and the other vampires all died, despite Union Jack's efforts to save Kenneth.

Issue Information: 

This Issue has been reprinted in:

Written By: