It’s a shame to be talking about the final issue of “Captain Britain” so soon after the first. The series has been subject to constant critical praise, but a recent cancellation scare told readers all we needed to know — things were unlikely to turn around. Still, let’s look on the bright side: it frees up Paul Cornell to do more work on higher-profile titles, so the same writing we’ve enjoyed on “Captain Britain” will be available elsewhere.
The series ends with the conclusion of “Vampire State,” the title’s third arc. Sadly, this was the one that really brought together all the elements of the series and saw it firing on all cylinders for the first time ever, so even as the plot winds up, we get a glimpse of what the series could’ve really been. Although that meant an occasionally crowded and complicated cast (did we really need to see four forgotten superheroes turn up, replete with descriptions of where they’d been since their last appearance?) it also meant some brilliant moments and a plot that twisted and turned in surprising and exciting ways.
Although it’s good to have Leonard Kirk around to finish off the arc, the sheen and enthusiasm of the series’ opening issues seems largely absent. It’s still good — the closing pages feature some great images — but it’s not really up to Kirk’s best, and the crowded pages full of explosions do little to play to Kirk’s strengths overall.
Still, there are worse ways to finish off a series that with a story like this one, and the closing sequence is a fantastic way for it to end on a high. There’s no dismantling of the team, nor any attempt to put the toys back in the box — The team’s story doesn’t end, it just reaches the end of an act — MI-13 is here to stay, we just won’t be following their adventures any more. The door open for a follow-up, and if there’s any justice in the world, this isn’t going to be the last we see of the team.