Captain Britain and MI13 #8

Issue Date: 
February 2009
Story Title: 
Hell Comes to Birmingham – part three

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

Bryan Hitch & Brian Reber (cover artists)

Brief Description: 

Pete reminds the Black Knight that he isn’t holding the original Ebony Blade and they wonder what this mysterious powerful weapon is that it could make Dane forget that. Still, Captain Midlands presses them onwards, telling them they need to reach Plokta’s headquarters. Badly injured, Spitfire is tempted by Plokta, but refuses him. Blade comes to the rescue and makes her realize that with her vampire abilities she can heal her injuries. They then sue the elevator to find the others. In another dimension, urged on by his unconsciousness which appears as Jamie, Captain Britain realizes that he is in an illusion that gives him his heart’s desire. With that realization, Meggan, who pleads she is, real fades away. Now he is left with the quandary of how to escape, as that is now his heart’s desire. Outside, Alistair Stuart and the military capture a Mindless One. Blade and Spitfire join up with Pete’s group and Spitfire vouches for Blade. Captain Midlands gets them to enter a room, where they find Captain Midland’s heart’s desire – his resurrected wife, Nancy. They are now trapped in the Dream Corridor, as power sourced for Plokta… forever.

Full Summary: 

In the middle of their fight against the Mindless Ones, Pete Wisdom just dropped a bombshell on the increasingly unstable Black Knight – namely that the weapon he is carrying is not the Ebony Blade. The Knight lowers the weapon confused and falls into Faiza’s arms, asking for help. Captain Midlands carries him, pressing onwards while Pete Wisdom barricades the stairs, using his hotknives to keep the Mindless Ones at bay.

Elsewhere, a badly injured and broken Spitfire lies at the bottom of an elevator shaft. Plokta contacts her and opens the dream corridor for her. She sees her desires made manifest: her son Kenneth living a happy, healthy life instead of being a vampire who’s probably undead again now, Plokta continues heartlessly, in vampire torment. Hurting people. He asks her to step inside and save Kenneth from all that.

Spitfire struggles to speak, about to make a rude suggestion. She is interrupted by Blade. Such language, he admonishes her, while actually managing to hurt the surprised Plokta who promises he will be back for Blade’s soul. Unimpressed, Blade tells him he better run.

He kneels down at Jaqueline’s side, showing her his special weapon. A paper sword. Papier-mâché. Made of pages from magickal books. Good against demons, not so good in the rain. How is she doing? She can’t move, Spitfire moans. Probably bought it. How terribly dull. One way of putting it, Blade replies and stretched out his hand. Now stop whining and get up! he orders her. He has such a sense of humour, she replies weakly. She thinks her back is broken and several ribs Yeah, so decide they aren’t, he tells her. It’ll be the worst pain she ever felt. But she can fix this. And her hand. She’s a frigging vampire, so accept the benefits.

Only pain? she asks, well then… She concentrates and screams and heals. In disbelief, she stares at her previously withered hand. Oh God, oh God! she exclaims. Getting back to business, Blade explains he’s sensed two sources of magic. One’s him (referring to Plokta). One stayed upstairs. Now the Mindless Ones have gone, let’s go see the easy way. He presses the elevator button.

Outside the building, the armed forces find that nothing they’ve got hurts the Mindless Ones. Stuart suggests the device he brought. A moment later, a pentagram tesseract is activated, as Stuart explains, an intrusion of magical fields into another dimension. Ailstaire asks Captain Colton to tell his men to stop firing. Let’s see if they can catch themselves a Mindless One…

On the stairway Dane awakes, the others crouched around him. He thanks them and hesitatingly asks, didn’t he… already know that about the Ebony Blade?

Well, he thought, yeah, Pete replies. Which is why it was a bit bloody surprising when Dane started talking about it again. Pete takes up the sword. The real Ebony Blade is in Wakanda. A situation he was planning on doing something about. Whatever this is, it was good enough to fool the magical powers of Camelot. And he thinks it’s been doing its best to convince Dane too. He thinks it’s been trying a little too hard, Dane mutters.

Great, Faiza announces. So now he can just chuck it, can’t he? Go on, drop it down the rubbish chute! Whatever this is, it’s hungry for blood, Dane replies. He can’t let someone else… he’s just about handling it. He what? she exclaims. He was going to kill her! How could he let it go that far?! He apologizes awkwardly.

Pete orders them to get moving. One false move from Dane and Pete will melt the damn sword. Sid tells them to better be quick. He can hear them things moving about downstairs…

Outside, Alistair Stuart and the soldiers activate the pentagram tesseract.

Somewhere inside, Captain Britain screams as he realizes that he didn’t die. What does this mean he asks, addressing Jamie. He’s still seeing him as his brother? “Jamie” asks. Right, whatever they are stuck in is powerful. He reminds Brian that as far as he knows his brother is dead. When Merlin reforged him, he made him very strong. He made his unconscious mind very strong. He takes off Jamie’s face, like a mask, and reveals Brian’s own face underneath. That’s what he is. He’s been trying to shock his conscious self, to get him to wake up and smell the &%$*%!

He tears off the background like paper revealing a strange dimension. This was Brian’s heart’s desire… and very nice it was too. But this is what really is still inside… Plokta’s dream corridor, Brian finishes.

What is this? Meggan asks, fearfully holding on to him. What’s going on? Brian turns away. Plokta tricked him, he announces. He knew him. Adding Meggan to this… He didn’t think! He reacted!

Meggan begins to cry as she assures him she is real. He refuses to look at her. People always see this as his weakness, that he wants a real married life. For some reasons all of them, “heroes” and “villains”… they think that’s strange!

She is whatever people think she is, Meggan pleads. That’s her nature! If he thinks she’s not real…

Please, he begs. Brian! she shout and begins to fade out. No more, he states.

Elsewhere, Plokta notices that the power is fluctuating wildly. It’s like nothing he’s seen before, as if the corridor’s magic was being… interfered with. Merlin’s champion is strong… and strange. If only he could go inside and see.

Mrs. Dursely warns him the others are approaching. He needn’t worry. They haven’t realized. With their power he might be able to subdue Braddock, Plokta muses. Then they’ll have this world as a factory for Mindless Ones, like they’ve had so many others. Quickly now, he orders, let’s get ready for the trap. And they disappear with a lightshow.

Outside, under Stuart’s leadership, the military manages to drag one Mindless One into the tesseract for them to study. Looking around, they see the other Mindless Ones still surround them. Shall they see about that withdrawal now? Stuart suggests to Captain Colton.

Inside the dream corridor, Captain Britain and his unconscious double fly, looking for a way out. Suddenly, they see a window to what seems to be Birmingham. A bit… his unconscious begins…

Too convenient, Brian finishes the sentence. He can go now. His unconscious fades away, while Brian thinks. That’s his heart’s desire now: to escape. So he’s going to keep being offered it. But taking it would just lead to another illusion. Dammit! How does he get out of this?

Outside, the soldiers shoot Mindless Ones while Alistaire is busy working his laptop A Mindless One is an expression of magical energy. A particular vibration of the intersection between the membranes of magical dimensions. Obviously, Colton agrees. But this means, Alistaire decides, he can try something rather risky. Colton knows that since that … unfortunate dinner with Morgan le Fey Alistaire’s been somewhat… mutable in form? Plays merry hell with I.D. card. But it gives one… certain opportunities. He opens the tesseract gate and jumps inside over Colton’s shout of protest.

Elsewhere in the building, Captain Midlands tells the others it’s on this level. Faiza announces that Excalibur is telling her the whole of this corridor it a source of magic. There’s power behind every door except… The blade points at one door. Room 102. Because that’s Plokta’s HQ, Sid explains. It’s not part of the dream corridor. But before the sword was sensing him, Faiza points out. Then he’s somewhere else, Sid decides. They get to smash his magical control wotsits. Faiza doesn’t get it, he exclaims, these people were under his protection!

Pete calms him; it’s okay, but they do this slowly. If Plokta is setting them up for something.

The elevator door at the end of the corridor opens. Blade addresses them. Wisdom automatically fires hotknives at him. Spitfire orders him not to. Blade is on their side, at least for now. Please stop trying to kill him!

She’ll notice he missed, Pete replies coolly. Give him a reason to do that again! Cuz of what they are up against, Blade replies. He’s met him. He says he’s a duke of Hell. Which means big trouble…

He explains that each duke of Hell is responsible for one of the magical principle of the universe. In this case, the Mindless Ones. They are pure chaos. A political force in the dark dimension. In other dimensions, too. You want to leave a major player impotent, just cleaning house for the rest of his days? You set up a factory to make those things and let it run wild. This isn’t a random first attack. This is an attempt to knock Earth out of the game. Claim it for hell. And nobody else. Make the other dark powers Pete released leave it alone. Finally absorb it into the Inferno.

All powered by human need, Pete realizes, so, of course, it’s working. This is why he wanted Blade onside, he explains and calls him a duplicitous @&$#. Now, when they are done he’s going to have Blade exported back to the United States of #&@%!

Spitfire jumps between them, reminding Pete she is the injured party. And she notes, that Pete’s first thought wasn’t “glad to see you got your hand back.” She orders him to stop it.

Sid interrupts, announcing he heard “summat” from behind the door. It sounded like they’ve got a kid in there. He storms inside. The others follow.

Instead of the expected horror, they find a nice, cozy living room and a woman dressed in old-fashioned clothes. She loos like someone from when she was young, Spitfire muses, or actually she thinks they’ve…

Met, yes in 1942 the woman agrees. She’s so sorry.

Sid! Spitfire shouts. So she’s worked it out, Captain Midlands says as he closes the door. He’s sorry too, so sorry, they wouldn’t believe it. But that won’t stop him. This is his wife, Nancy Ridley. She died in 1966. Originally. He drops his helmet and walks over to Nancy. He was given her back in return for doing this. He took what was offered straight away. He was only following orders. To get them in here if they didn’t walk in themselves. They can’t escape. Not now that door’s closed. Welcome to the dream corridor.

The others are caught, floating in an energy prison. Sid looks at his wife. They’ re just power sources for Plokta now. And they are here forever.

Characters Involved: 

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


Alistaire Stuart

Captain Colton


Mindless Ones

Mrs Dunley
in Captain Britain’s dream corridor room:


Jamie Braddock / Brian’s unconscious

in Captain Midland’s dream corridor room:

Nancy Ridley (Captain Midlands’ wife)

In Blade’s explanation:


Mindless ones



Story Notes: 

Colton mistakenly calls Stuart “Stewart.” (At least it’s pronounced the same way)

Stuart’s offhand remark about dinner with Morgan le Fey (and the consequences) solves the conundrum of his age. Originally in the first Excalibur series, he was depicted as a young man in his mid-twenties to early thirties (After all, he was a love interest both for Kitty and Rachel). Later appearances, e.g. in X-Force depicted him as somewhat older with greying hair, and finally in the Wisdom series he was shown as an elderly man.

Spitfire’s hand withered only after she left the team in issue #6. So, it’s a bit mean of her to expect Pete to know that.

Issue Information: 
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