They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Unless the imitator is a super-hero murdering multidimensional robot that is. As Betsy Braddock tries to deal with the machinations of Morgan Le Fey, she must also deal once more with questions about her legitimacy as Captain Britain when one of the murderous Fury comes calling wearing the colors of Captain Britain with a claim on the name.
Right off the bat one of the things that I love about this run so far, beyond the great character interactions, chiefly the perfect Betsy/Rachel romance, is how easy it is to get into. What do I mean by that? Well as I’ve noted before this series is a continuation of the 26 issues of Excalibur that launched in 2019 and the 2022 five-issue Knights Of X series. So, one would expect this series to feel heavy and reference tons of stuff, and be hard to navigate if you hadn’t read those stories, but looking at it as someone who did read (and review) all of those, I think it’s definitely the opposite.
There are references to things that came before but, in a way, that tells you enough without really pulling things down or leaving one scratching their head, similar in feeling to how people in general drop references to past things in life. Give your audience just enough to intrigue/inform and then continue forward. Tini Howard does that so well here as the characters, their situations, what Morgan has done, and the threats Betsy and company face are all very clearly laid out without needing to have tons of dialogue, captions, or pages dedicated to explanation. Murderous robots already introduced in previous issues are now painted like Betsy’s costume trying to kill her brother to become Captain Britain themselves. Pretty darn simple yet packed with detail.
Something else that is packed with detail and quite beautiful would be the visuals that we get from Vasco Georgiev and Erick Arciniega are bringing us in this series. As I noted above, this issue and series as a whole are big on character moments and to make those land even better, one needs an artist that can really give life to the characters to mimic what the story tells us they should be feeling/doing, and Georgiev does that so easily. These characters are stunning to behold, right in that sweet spot of realistic but also fantastical, brimming with emotional energy that is clearly depicted upon their very being always.
I’ve spoken in the previous reviews about how fluid the action scenes are here, but I’m going to really point at the layout choices with the panels in this regard. How Georgiev chooses to place the elements on the page really helps with that feeling because the panels move so quickly and on each page are so different. One page might have more standard sorts of panel layout, but others will have panels that are a variety of shapes, sizes, and directions that make the eyes bounce around in a logically planned way to enhance the action. Also, the black space borders between and around all the panels is a solid choice because it not only breaks the panels up from each other but brings an element of the darkness that is part of the series’ tone into play visually.
Speaking of color items, I’ve loved everything that Arciniega has been bringing to Betsy’s adventures for the past couple of series. On one page we can have more sort of toned-down colors that give a space, such as a scene in a bar later, a more comfortable and realistic quality to them that we can relate to. Jumping to another with battles and some of the supernatural elements will have so many far more vibrant color tones popping all over the place as they should.
On top of that one of the major things he does that stands out is how each space that the characters inhabit has its own inherent feeling/look to it through colors. If I were to walk outside my house right now and walk for a couple of miles there would be some wild color changes when it comes to things like houses and cars and such, but the overall ‘coloring’ of the world outside would remain relatively the same. Yet, if I traveled to some other cities, states, or countries the color palette of life would be considerably different and that’s what Arciniega does wonderfully with the different spaces and realms in this book.
Giving things a different look and feel is also something that Ariana Maher does super well with the lettering not just in this series but any time she’s doing a job. Maher lays out the dialogue, captions, and more in a really logical way that flows through the page matching the artwork and keeping our eyes where they should be going through the panels. Each of those words though pops with the emotion and personality of the character that they are coming from, allowing us to really hear them completely. It’s the so-called little things that Maher does that make it work so well too from the little emphasizers thrown in at the right time to the use of sentence case (truly a great way to set a base level ‘volume’ for dialogue) to all the things such as different colored font bubbles for different characters.
Betsy Braddock: Captain Britain #3 is now available from Marvel Comics.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Unless the imitator is a super-hero murdering multidimensional robot that is.COMICONRead More