Your highness, my lord Dracula-- you have WON.
Again, don't fret, I simply haven't reviewed Captain Britain and MI:13 #11-12 because I don't have much to say besides "it's good, read it". The Vampire State storyline advances to a whole new level in this issue which sees Dracula's plans commence and... oh, who am I kidding, the title of the review gives it away... Dracula wins!
Basically what has happened so far is MI:13 have been fighting off an invasion of Dracula's vampires. They've failed every step of the way. And I mean every step of the way. The last two issues have saw the team trying to prevent Dracula's vampire invasion and this issue starts the next chapter; the heroes having to fight off Dracula's invasion. It doesn't go well. They can't get any help from the U.S. when Norman Osborn refuses to send his Avengers and despite Hank Pym and the real Avengers' attempts to help out they are prevented from entering Britain by Dracula's magic. It's really all up to MI:13 who are in the unenviable position of basically fighting an army of vampires under-manned and unprepared. And it doesn't help that Spitfire has been captured by the vampires and her will subverted and is now full-on embracing her sexy vampiric side. Spits leads the heroes into an obvious trap (they knew it was a trap but as they always do they go into it thinking "hey, we know it's a trap so we can't be trapped). Pretty much the minute the heroes get there it's doomed.
Okay, now for the major spoilers. As the heroes fight Spitfire and an army of vampires, Excalibur dies in a blaze of glory. Black Knight goes nuts and gives into his Ebony Blade's curse and goes into a rage and goes missing. Captain Britain and Blade are hit by a magical blast and sent flying away into the outskirts of the battle. Pete Wisdom is left alone and dies. The issue ends with Dracula succeeding and taking control of the British government and Blade and Captain Britain (and possibly Union Jack?) the only ones who can stop him.
Yeah, this is a comic that had Captain Britain die in the first issue. I don't think it's necessary to point out the doubt that these three deaths are permanent. A series so entrenched with magic, I don't think it's believable that Excalibur, Pete Wisdom and possibly the Black Knight will stay dead in this story (I already know Black Knight and Excalibur return in an Age of Ultron tie-in to die again). But, you know what, their deaths came as a real shock. One could argue that these are cheap and meaningless "shock" deaths but on the other hand these deaths were nothing at all like Thor's death in Fear Itself or Professor X's death in Avengers vs. X-Men. These deaths don't pretend to be character work, these are deaths that are built on character which is ironic with how abrupt and "shocking" they are. Excalibur goes out in a blaze of glory accepting her role and mortality as a hero, Pete Wisdom dies by taking the responsibility of ordering Captain Britain to save Blade and Black Knight goes into a frenzy seeing another of his loved ones perish and once again giving into his curse. How did Wasp die again? Oh, yeah, she popped up in a panel of a story she wasn't involved in prior and suddenly blew up.
This issue really hits the right tone for showing us the pure direness of the situation and I look forward to seeing how Blade and Captain Britain will turn this around. I'm a bit apprehensive about how they undo these deaths, the series has included magic enough so they can be justified, but I just am dreading some sort of "It was all a dream" or "it was all a set-up" type of reveal. With only two issues and an annual left to go, I really am looking forward to seeing how this plays out and taking the time out to write this review is almost killing me with anticipation.