Captain Britain and MI13 #15

Issue Date: 
August 2009
Story Title: 
Vampire State – conclusion

Paul Cornell (writer), Leonard Kirk (penciler), Jay Leisten (inker), Brian Reber (colorist), Mico Suayan & Frank D’Armata (cover), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Daniel Ketchum (assistant editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher)

Brief Description: 

Wisdom has invited Tara to a picnic and describes to her how the war will end, as it happens. Captain Britain joins his wife, Meggan, in fighting against Dracula and his cronies. Wisdom reveals to Tara that the real skull of Quincy Jones was never destroyed. When the vampires reach orbit, they begin to burn (save for the invited Yussuf Hussain). Dracula has Lilith teleport as many as she can back to the moon, where again they are attacked by Captain Britain and Meggan, as well as Spitfire, more British heroes and the SAS. Dracula tries to get to his escape craft but is already expected by the Black Knight and Excalibur. He manages to hurt the Knight but Faiza kills the vampire, then heals the Knight and they admit their love for each other. Baron Blood gives up to his old friend, Union Jack, but is killed by Blade, as his mother Spitfire asked him to, leaving Union Jack disgusted with both of them. The vampires are vanquished, Brian and Meggan are reunited, Eric and Jacqueline mourn together and Dane and Faiza and Pete and Pete and Tara respectively may have a future together.

Full Summary: 

Nighttime, a field in Kent:

Pete Wisdom and a young woman named Tara, whom he last saw under nightmarish circumstances, are having a picnic and a talk. So, Tara summarises, all that terrifying stuff… he’s just told her, that’s why they made her sign that secrecy document? Yeah, he replies. He wanted her to know. Before the fireworks start. Fireworks? He hasn’t said why they were here…

No, he agrees. Does she wants some cheese? He’s a big fan of Christopher Priest, she knows; the novelist? Didn’t he do The Prestige, Tara recalls. Yeah, he likes to read about stage magic. His kind of magic, considering what he does for a living. He takes off his sunglasses. There’s this big trick he’s in the middle of. Only it’s dead serious too. Like when Churchill feinted Hitler into fighting the Battle of Britain. The only battle Britain could win at that moment. Over these very fields.

He’s making no sense, he realizes. And he hasn’t even had any champagne yet. What he’s saying is: he’s here to see if his trick worked. She’s here because he wants her to see her mate Liz avenged. And because he wanted to see her again when he was sober. He looks up at the sky, the moon and a shining light, bigger than the stars. If he’s got it wrong… it’s all over for Britain. It all starts… right about now.

Dracula’s ship, the brig.

Dracula stands across a serenely smiling Meggan (or newly christened Gloriana). Why did Doom deliver her to him? he demands. She sounds… defiant. Does she? she retorts. She’s only here to serve him. So why is his lieutenant, referring to Baron Blood, more and more troubled, the closer he gets to her?

It’s Dracula’s control, Kenneth Crichton cries. Somehow she’s blocking it! Broadcasting rebellion! If he were not loyal… Easily fixed, Dracula decides and goes for Meggan’s throat. Doom has misjudged.

That moment, Captain Britain smashes the brig apart and flies in. Dracula, get your hands off my wife! Brian and Meggan share a brief tender moment before Lilith blasts Captain Britain with her magic.

Back in the field… Pete explains that everyone’s been treating this like it’s a game of chess. But you only play honourable games if you don’t care about the process. If lives and nations are at stake, one cheats. Does she remember what he told her about the head of Quincy Harker? Something he didn’t mention…

Pete’s story:

He got in touch with the witch Diana through her dreams, using one of O’s devices. Before MI13 arrived, he got her to tart up a spare skull she had hanging about. To make it obviously a thing of magically power. And to hide the original…


He means the original is still…? Right, he agrees. Everything since then has just been to stop Dracula from uncovering that fact. Plot to stop him launching scouts. The raid on the ship to neutralize one magic threat and make him thinks they’d tried their one chance.

Above Dracula’s ship, Cap and Meggan fight Lilith. Shielding herself, the sorceress claims he can’t beat her. She was imprisoned with the wizard. She knows how he was made. Guess again, Lilith Kiskilla, he tells her as he breaks through her shield.

Dracula senses something approaching.

They are reaching the atmosphere over Britain’s airspace and begin to burn.

Pete asks Tara if she sees the light just there? Those are the first vampires arriving at orbital velocity and realizing that, unlike Dr Yusuf Hussain, who he now declares is welcome to come home, they haven’t been invited.

Abandon ship! he orders. Seeing that sunrise is nearby, he addresses Lilith and tells her to break combat. They cannot risk losing her magical shield. They are so few now; she can just transport the army back to prepared positions. Lilith complies.

On Earth, Pete and Tara see a big explosion in the sky. There goes the ship, Pete remarks. He calls all units. The enemy has disengaged and the remainder will be heading for the locations Spitfire pinpointed. Panther dominion. All reserves to commit. All units to engage. Everyone in!

He remarks that the innocent conscripts will have fled. Anyone on Dracula’s army now chose to be there. Kill them all!

He turns back to Tara. That vengeance he mentioned, it’s nearly done. Best of all: she didn’t have to take it on herself. This is what he does for a living. Cheers, he raises his glass. Tara recoils.

Dracula and his army have fled to the moon through Lilith’s doorway. Wisdom was ready for him! Dracula rants. What do they still have? The fortifications - they must prepare for a counter attach. And his army, they are the most loyal…

Behind Lilith, Captain Britain and Meggan show up. A lady should close the door behind her, Brian announces as he attacks. Dracula orders his troops to defend her. They need her magic shield against the sun. The Merlinson depends on confidence. They must show him fear!

He thinks he is scary? Spitfire asks. Has he met the SAS? She is joined by SAS soldiers in special fighting suits as well as several British superheroes, Tangerine, Dark Angel, Digitek and Death’s Head.

Elsewhere in the castle, a teleportation gate transports Union Jack and Blade to the room, where Dracula and his inner retinue’s coffins are kept. Several vampires race towards them to attack. Shortly before they reach them, they burst into flames. Guards check, Union Jack announces and Blade calls back to stop pushing the Holy Water mist through the gate.

The two of them treat the coffins with garlic and Holy Water. Union Jack informs Blade that control says they have a target closing on the building. Let them come, Blade shrugs. Let them see there’s no home left for them.

No, the hidden Baron Blood mutters. He walks toward them, addressing Union Jack. Joe? That’s him, isn’t it? It’s Ken. He takes off his mask and offers to surrender. He’d like to be a prisoner of war, please. He only did this so Mum and he could be together again.

It’s all right, Joe assures him with a smile, also taking off his mask. Ken’ll come with them. It’s what Jac would want. Even if there’s no cure now, maybe one day… That moment, Blade stakes Kenneth. “No!” Joe protests. He’s her son!

Blade ignores him, instead informing Spitfire over his wristcom that it’s done. Exactly like she asked. He thinks he was wrong about Blade and Jac, Union Jack finally decides. They are bloody made for each other. He strides back through the gate.

Elsewhere in the castle, Spitfire bows her head in grief.

Captain Britain and Meggan have Lilith on the ropes; she can barely hold up her shield. It doesn’t help that Meggan is transmitting hope to Cap and despair to Lilith. She remarks that Doom gave her an environment shield, so she can breathe and stuff. He was going to ask, Brian replies. Sure he was.

Elsewhere, Dracula stands before the ashes of his dream. He also senses his coffin destroyed, then should he throw himself in battle, die for… No, he decides suddenly. It’s not just him. He must survive for his people. He races to the hangar where his escape craft is stored. He has to get to…

His way to it is cut off by the Black Knight and Excalibur. They were sent to delay him, the Knight states, but they all know its going to happen too fast for that. The end. By the sword. Either way. Right now. Let’s not ruin the moment with wit.

Dracula draws his own sword. The crusader and the Muslim allied, he scoffs. The result of his actions. He shares the Knight’s feeling for this moment. But he sees no cause for wit. Now let them be done. He attacks the Black Knight and proves to be a superior swordsman, slashing deeply through the Black Knight’s chest. Dane falls.

Dracula turns to Faiza, warning her that the Knight was one of the greatest swordsmen of all times. But still only human. Of course, that’s Excalibur that she has there. But tell him, he addresses her as dog, does she think she could land a single blow? He’ll make her an offer, let him pass and he’ll let her live.

Angrily she holds up her sword: After what he did to her dad, to Dane, to her country… he dares say that to her? This is Excalibur she has here. And she is worthy of it. And since his nobility doesn’t extend to her, she knows, he wouldn’t make that offer if he weren’t afraid.

Shut up! Faiza orders as she hurries to his side. He continues that’s the moment they talked about. She found what she needed to… No, really, she orders: Shut up! she needs to concentrate. She uses her healing powers and is startled to find that his heart is no longer made of stone. Then it’s time for him too to take things more seriously, he admits weakly. To not be afraid to… they kiss.

Cap beats Lilith. Back to hell, he orders her.

Captain Colton informs Wisdom that, without Lilith, solar radiation levels are at lunar norm. And they got all the vampires in the sun protection suits.

Brian turns towards Megan. Lilith though she knew him, but she didn’t know what he was made of. She didn’t know modern Britain. If now she’s back… she’s changed so much. If she needs time, he understands… With a smile, she interrupts him and tells him all she ever needed of him, her hope in hell, was that he’d stay the same. They kiss.

A little later, Captain Britain reaches Dr. Yussuf Hussain, the sole surviving vampire, in orbit and lets him know that his wife is all right. Hussain thanks him but, he admits, he is an academic not a superhero. Even though he says they’ll be fine, he views orbital re-entry with considerable unease. Which is why he’s come to take him home the pretty way, Brian explains.

Is there a home for him though? Dr. Hussain asks. He doesn’t want his wife and daughter to see him like this, to have to deal with this. But what’s the alternative? Brian asks. Give up? he thinks Dr. Hussain’s life from now is going to be a very British compromise, living with something terrible, dealing with it in domestic terms. Tragedy right up against sitcom, in a way other cultures don’t really get. He thinks if anyone is going to understand all this, is going to want him to stay around and get through it day by day, with all sorts of awkward conversations, it’s his daughter.

And the others deal with those issues too. Blade comforts Spitfire over her loss. Peter and Tara hash matters out and Faiza supports Dane as he slowly gets up.

He’s right Dr. Hussain admits with a smile. So he shall. He could murder a cup of tea.

And Peter and Tara drive back, Blade and Spitfire kiss, Faiza and Dane watch the Earthrise and Brian and Meggan fly home, hand in hand.

Characters Involved: 

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

Meggan / Gloriana
O (MI13’s scientist)

Alistaire Stuart
Killpower / Julius Mullarkey

Union Jack

Dark Angel


Death’s Head

Dr Yussuf Hussain

Kenneth Falsworth / Baron Blood III



Story Notes: 

This is the last issue of Captain Britain and MI13.

Wisdom last saw Tara in issue #11.

Christopher Priest is an English science fiction writer (not to be mixed up with the former writer of “Black Panther”)
The Prestige, one of his novels adapted into a movie with Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale and Scarlett Johansson, is about the feud of two stage magicians at the turn of last century.

Dark Angel, Digitek and Death’s Head are all British heroes from the long defunct Marvel UK titles from the early 90ies.

Tangerine is interesting insofar as she has been seen in two potential futures in the pages of Excalibur (1st series), but this is her first appearance in the present.

Union Jack and Kenneth Crichton were best friends originally.

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