“Revolutionary War: Alpha” #1 attempts to bring readers familiar with the stateside Marvel Universe greater exposure to the collection of characters created under the Marvel UK imprint in a story written by Andy Lanning and Alan Cowsill. With art by Rich Elson, colors from Antonio Fabela and letters from Clayton Cowles, the story includes appearances from Captain Britain and Pete Wisdom, both of whom non-initiated readers are most likely familiar with from those characters’ connections throughout the Avengers and X-Men corners of the Marvel U.
Unfortunately, Elson’s art is a bit wooden and stiff, with murky action and painfully awkward posing, such as the final page where Captain Britain’s adversary has the good Captain in his clutches. In this panel, Elson has somehow manipulated Brian Braddock’s alter ego into a painfully twisted pose where readers are given a full view of Captain Britain’s back and his face. Elson provides a nice level of setting a surrounding detail and even crafts his figures carefully, but there are simply too many new faces for most readers to comfortably discern between the non-costumed characters. Additionally, the collaboration between Elson and colorist Fabela gets dingy in the opening scene where Captain Britain and Wisdom are fighting Psycho-Wraiths. I’m sure Britain is punching through them, but as drawn and colored it appears that Captain Britain has the ability to produce energy blasts from his fists. The art in general doesn’t even touch the splendor present on the standard-issue Mark Brooks’ cover.
Lanning and Cowsill’s story focuses on the resurfacing of Mys-Tech and stirs in a hodge-podge of characters and concepts, loosely connecting these British champions to S.H.I.E.L.D. in order to expedite the integration into the Marvel Universe. Their characterization is fine, but doesn’t strive to transcend fine. The biggest bit of plot twist payoff comes on the final splash page, where it should be, but the issue shuffles along until then, dipping into flashback and exposition along the way. Captain Britain, perhaps due to his uniform and notable power set is the showcase character of “Revolutionary War: Alpha” #1, but doesn’t do much to inspire further interest.
I admire the mission statement of this comic; but it needs to be more dedicated to the cause and approachable to the target audience. There is a text page at the end of the issue that declares the purpose of this issue to be a wider range of exposure to readers heretofore unfamiliar with Marvel UK characters, but “Revolutionary War: Alpha” #1 could use a little more pizzazz to keep the readers interested and returning. Perhaps “Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe” type text pieces would be of benefit. At that point, readers could quickly reference the characters in the issue rather than wondering who Tion Liger is, what his skills are and why they should care.