|“Captain Britain & The MI:13” #2
Is that King Arthur’s legendary sword, Excalibur?
With the help of writer Paul Cornell, CBR News has profiled Captain Britain, John the Skrull, Spitfire and Pete Wisdom, each one a cast member in Marvel Comics’ newest ongoing series “Captain Britain and MI-13,” formed to protect the United Kingdom from supernatural and superpowered threats – including a not-so-secret invasion by certain green-skinned, shape shifting aliens. SUPER SPY WEEKEND continues now with a look another teammate, Faisa Hussain.
If you’re longtime Marvel fan but can’t seem to remember Faisa Hussain on the British superhero scene, don’t worry, you’re memory isn’t failing you. “She was one of a few new characters I pitched to my editor Nick Lowe early on, some others of whom might show up as we go,” Paul Cornell told CBR News. “She’s our Kitty Pryde, our way in as an audience. She’s new to the group, and to being a superhero, and we stumble along with her.
“She’s a highly competent young doctor who’ll raise an eyebrow and make a joke as she’s taking your appendix out,” Cornell continued. “She’s very into mainstream British young woman culture. She’s on Facebook, she reads celebrity gossip magazines, but her biggest fan rush is for British superheroes, who also pop up in those magazines. She knows about them all, she had Knights of Pendragon wallpaper when she was a kid (Or insert apt reference for Marvel time). When she meets [teammate] The Black Knight, she keeps doing her job as a doctor, doing battlefield triage, while simultaneously freaking out. And ends up ordering him around. She pulls made up words out of the air to describe stuff, because she often talks at a million miles an hour.”
Faisa is the only daughter of a family of Pakistani heritage who live in Chelmsford in Essex. “They’re thoroughly middle class Britons and they’re incredibly proud of their daughter,” Cornell said. “We’ll meet them all after the first arc.”
A Muslim, Faisa’s faith is very important to her. “I have two aims here: to make her a real person and not someone who has to represent the entire British Muslim world all the time — I think superheroes are too prone to being standard bearers for whole communities — and to make her an everyday religious person who you won’t hear anything religious from until it would naturally come up. Which is hardly ever. She’s not going to be letting anyone down, though. She’s the young hero who will win through. And we’ll play out some of these pressures and fault lines in the comic itself. I want people to adore her, not to be pleased she’s there as part of a quota system.”
When readers first meet Faisa in “Captain Britain and MI-13” #1, she’s a normal human doctor who treats wounded during a Skrull attack on London. “She gains her superhuman abilities in the first couple of issues, a new power which she doesn’t initially see much of a heroic use for, but quickly turns into something vital,” Cornell explained. “She’s bowled over so much at the idea she could be a hero, too, that she can’t quite grab the chance with both hands, and gets all humble about it at the last minute. If only she could come up with a codename for herself. That would really make it work. But she can’t! Her family are going to be freaked out by the whole thing too, until it becomes clear just how brave she was, how much she impressed a certain hero her Mum is impressed by. Then they get right behind her and cheer her on.”
She may be a relatively inexperienced superhero, but Faisa’s personality and determination will earn her an important role in MI-13. “She’s so obviously what this team is about that she’s very quickly given a huge responsibility by someone who knows what he’s talking about. And that responsibility is something she takes very seriously in turn. She’s the heart and soul. Actually, they all are, in their different ways, but after the others all fall, she’d still be the last one on the battlements, fighting to the end for what this lot stand for. And she will.”
SUPER SPY WEEKEND concludes tomorrow with Paul Cornell and a profile of Captain Britain’s only American teammate, The Black Knight.