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By Marc Strom
Britain's premier super team has found themselves trapped in Birmingham, and in CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI13 #8 on December 10 they must fight off their own hearts' desires if they hope to stop the supernatural Plokta.
Series writer Paul Cornell set out to give MI13 a somewhat unconventional villain for their first mission following the Secret Invasion, one with a distinctively different motivation than your average super baddie.
"As we reveal in issue #9, [Plokta] wants the Earth for Hell, rather than letting it fall to any of the other sorts of demon Pete [Wisdom] released [in issue #3]," reveals Cornell. "The easiest way to do that, as he's done with many other worlds, is to expand his hellfire field and create many, many Mindless Ones, ruining the place as real estate for anyone else."
Plokta's genesis came from a desire on Cornell's part to show readers what types of menaces Wisdom has mistakenly unleashed on an unwitting world.
"I wanted to create an original demon, the sort of thing Pete might have released," he notes. "Some of the image comes from No Face in the anime movie 'Spirited Away,' and he talks like British actor Leslie Phillips."
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Cornell gives credit where credit's due in regards to Plokta's unusual appearance, which came about as the result of his collaboration with series artist Leonard Kirk.
"I came up with the mask in front of a mass of stuff bit, and Leonard took that and added his usual vast staggering poundage of beauty and detail," Cornell shares. "Since [Plokta] makes Mindless Ones, I asked for [something Steve] Ditko-esque, and I think Leonard provided that in his own unique style."
But those Mindless Ones don't come from nowhere, which leads Plokta to the town of Birmingham where he has started to grant the towns' citizens their hearts' desires—but with a considerable price.
"[In return] he gains their psychic energy to make Mindless Ones," Cornell explains. "It's dangerous because, of course, a lot of people say yes."
MI13's battle with Plokta has thus far seen them fighting a war on two fronts, with the Mindless Ones attacking their bodies and the demon going after their souls. Cornell tells us that this dynamic provided him the perfect opportunity to give readers a healthy dose of character introspection with their high octane action.
"That's what I was after, the chance to get into the characters while giving us a running battle in a tower block that's a bit like the 'Towering Inferno,'" Cornell reasons. "Our guys think it's a tough but
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straightforward problem initially, and then, as it becomes clear that Plokta was ready for them, they get more and more sucked in until something terrible happens and Pete and Brian [Braddock, aka Captain Britain] have to do some enormous, and terrible, things to get them out."
Once the team does get out, however, they'll find a slew of new problems facing each and every team member.
"Pete's conscience isn't going to get any better after the end of the arc," Cornell regretfully remarks. "Spitfire's going to feel better in one way, worse in another, but she's going to know what she has to do and wants Blade's help to do it. Brian's going to work out he was mistaken, and gain a new quest.
"Dane [Whitman, the Black Knight, is] going to get a chance to move on too," the writer adds. "And we only saw Faiza's heart's desire in the form of a cover, but that's there for her now, and she has some thinking to do.
"And after that: Dracula and David Cameron have a chat on the moon, magical assassins come after our heroes, Dane goes to Wakanda; and British Intelligence agree that the SAS raid on Dracula is on in 'Vampire State.'"
CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI13 #8 spirits into stores on December 10. For more adventures featuring the Black Knight, check out Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.
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