MI13 #10 cover
By Tim Stevens
Evil comes to England in CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI13 #10 on February 11, and the United Kingdom's heroes need look no farther than themselves for someone to blame. Between Blade's role in the return of vampires to the Earth and Pete Wisdom releasing the creatures of evil magic back into the United Kingdom to defeat the Skrulls, the team has set the table for the return of the most dangerous of supernatural beings: Dracula.
As briefly seen at the conclusion of issue #9, Dracula that has been watching and waiting to strike reflects the classic interpretation of the character. According to writer Paul Cornell, the reasons for that lie with his love for Marv Wolfman's portrayal of the character in TOMB OF DRACULA.
"I adore TOMB," he admits. "As drawn by the great Gene Colan, [Dracula] was both nobleman and beast at once. [And] as drawn by the great Leonard Kirk, he's that and the great general too.
"In TOMB OF DRACULA, he never gave his prey an even break—despite it, and the readers, being charmed into thinking he might— and he still doesn't," continues Cornell on the vampire lord. "He still values his nobility, but one of the things I want to
MI13 #11 cover
show is that nobility on its own is morally bankrupt. He's a racist—and again, his racism was there in TOMB— who, as he did when he lived, resents the Muslim presence in the west. He's very, very clever, having had centuries of strategic experience, and if you play chess against him, as Pete Wisdom's going to have to, you'd better be ready for several layers of misdirection."
Cornell tips his hat to Chris Claremont's depiction of Dracula in UNCANNY X-MEN #159 and X-MEN VS DRACULA, acknowledging it as a source of inspiration as well.
"I love how Chris takes him [Dracula] seriously as a threat, and makes a game of him versus Storm," the writer reflects. "He was the first person to look back to Marv's [work] and say, 'here's a phenomenal Marvel villain who hasn't had a big enough profile lately.'"
The phenomenal vampire will not be foolhardy enough to attempt to take on England alone. In addition to the minions already glimpsed in #9, Dracula has recruited some strong allies for the battle to come.
"He's got two allies with him, from Marvel's history of magical characters, who escaped when Pete Wisdom let all the demons out," Cornell reveals. "One of them's pretty mainstream, the other really rather obscure. But good fun. The three of them together have a plan that needs their
Dracula has also crafted a relationship with the Marvel Universe's most famous despotic ruler, Dr. Doom. Their cooperation, however, may prove more complicated than the vampire expects.
"Dracula wants one thing from Doom: permission to play through," explains Cornell. "He thinks he has something to offer Doom in return, but Doom isn't keen on the idea of this being an equitable contract. Indeed, there are quite a few things he doesn't like about Dracula, and we discover exactly how he's always been prepared for conflict between them."
Dracula has made considerable preparation of his own for two particular members of the MI13 team: the vampiric duo of Spitfire and Blade. While both might share his thirst for blood, readers should not expect his machinations to be pleasant for either character.
"He has very specific plans for both of them," Cornell acknowledges. "One of those plans is just vicious, the other is a long journey of pain and betrayal."
Overall, Cornell promises that MI13 faces the fight of their life against an enemy stronger and better prepared than any they
MI13 #12 cover
have yet faced.
"You know what would be a good slogan for the cover of this title? 'MI13: Don't get too attached.'"
Readers can behold the ancient evil of Dracula beginning on February 10 with the release of CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI13, written by Paul Cornell with art by Leonard Kirk. For past Dracula appearances, head over to Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.
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