I grew up reading Marvel comics in the USA during the 1970’s and have enjoyed staying in touch with the Earth 616 ever since. My attention did drift during the 1990’s a bit. It turns out that while I blinked, the UK enjoyed a far-too-brief era of successful Marvel UK characters and adventures across the pond. Despite their popularity, Marvel’s economic hardships shut them down, or did they? This is the world of comic books we’re talking about! So it should come as no surprise that they were due for a comeback!
Obviously, I knew nothing about these characters going into this comic. I wondered whether the whole book might get bogged down by back-story? Would I be utterly confused, or even worse (gasp) disinterested?
My worries were totally unfounded. This book was written with readers like me in mind. Background was quickly, and often humorously, sprinkled throughout without slowing down the storyline. Better yet, not only does it keep a brisk pace, this book successfully walks a delicate tightrope, managing to make fun of itself and its entire genre without undermining its ability to carry the reader through a genuine adventure.
The characters are worth caring about...
Dai Thomas is a Welsh cop and ex-knight of Pendragon. (He sometimes rents his body out to the noble knight Sir Gaiwan.)
Kate Mclellan is a journalist who also used to be a knight of Pendragaon. Oh, she also used to be Dai's girlfriend. They get along surprisingly well. What pulled them apart in the first place? Now that they're back in action as a team fighting the forces of evil, might that translate into rekindled romance on the personal front as well? Hmm...
Union Jack rides a Triumph motorbike through a portal to Avalon as mutant tough-guy (and spy) Pete Wisdom wisecracks. (For what it’s worth, I must admit that this flag bearing cyclist’s levitation is somehow more believable to me than the thought of Steve Rogers jumping a motorcycle from rooftop to rooftop in a crowded USA city without the aid of anything more than super-serum enhanced reflexes...)
Uh-oh. Something is wrong… very wrong in the realm of the “Green Knight”.
A mystical covert organization (Mis-tech) wants to violently enhance their fortune by sucking the life out of innocent civilians everywhere. What better "cover" than for them to masquerade as Omni-Corp, an overt, boring organization seeking to slowly sap the life out of us and our planet for the sake of personal gain. That's right! Omni-Corp isn't just frackin' the foundation of the continent in search of oil. There freakin' blastin' the ground underneath our feet in order to unleash the unyielding appetite of an evil zombie army!
But it isn't just ANY old evil zombie army. This is “Zombie King Arthur” along with his “Zombie Round Table”!
Everything gets really zany! When Zombie Arthur threatens to “feast on the lazy children of this land and make a dark Briton the world shall fear!”, Kate McClellan replies “It's like a tory party political broadcast!”
Gaiwan emerges to fight nobly. (Could he fight any other way?) Zombie Arthur takes him down and passionate anger ensues...
Pete Wisdom manages to overcome his cynicism long enough to pull Excalibur out of a stone (I kid thee not...) and to then request help from Avalon. Hey, that's pretty significant from a guy who doesn't even like prog-rock.
His request is answered in modern fashion in the form of a giant basketball player who saves the day in a style befitting the 21st Century.
Kate is horrified by what appears to be a mortal wound to Gai. In the end, not only does Gai not die, Dai is a "lucky guy" indeed! Lying on the ground, he gets a passionate extended kiss from Kate on our comic's next-to-last panel.
Even our cynical pal Pete Wisdom can't help but offer a wry smile and comment “Hope for the future, eh?”