This article reminded me a lot of Faiza Hussain, wielder of Excaliber, steward of the Black Knight, member of MI-13, and also, yes, in one timeline, Captain Britain. Let me tell you about that moment.
Dr. Faiza Hussain was first introduced in the first issue of Captain Britain and MI-13, written by Paul Cornell with art by Leonard Kirk. The series was one of those which started off as a tie-in to a crossover (and a good tie-in at that), Secret Invasion. Britain was being invaded by the Skrulls and Faiza was an NHS doctor caught in the middle. After being zapped with one of their weapons, she ended up with the power to disassemble and reassemble biological things, which was a great help as a doctor.
Oh, and at the end of the story, she pulled Excalibur from the stone.
Now wielding Excalibur, she became a member of MI-13 (Britain’s secret superhero agency) and a steward to the Black Knight (wielder of the Ebony Blade).
Captain Britain and MI-13 went on for a glorious fifteen issues (it was too good to last) and then Faiza went into limbo with the rest of them, only making sporadic appearances whenever MI-13 was needed.
That is, until Al Ewing came around and was asked to write several tie-ins to the crossover Age of Ultron. As previously pointed out, in a lot of crossovers, the tie-ins are where writers can really shine and tell a great story. Especially Age of Ultron, where the main book ended up becoming a bit of a mess, involving Wolverine and the Invisible Woman breaking the timeline.
Ewing was tasked with writing Avengers Assemble 14.AU and Avengers Assemble 15.AU (yes, they added the .AU on the end for some reason). The first was a story about what Black Widow did during the Age of Ultron. The second was about Captain Marvel and Captain Britain and how England survived the Age of Ultron. It was a story drenched in Britishness and that includes Faiza Hussain herself:
The plot of Age of Ultron is actually pretty simple at first (before delving into the entire time travel thing): Ultron finally attacks the entire world at once. Most of the tie-ins dealt with the characters fighting back against Ultron’s invasion. And yes, in this issue about Captain Britain, there are jokes about Doctor Who:
In fact, there’s even a Cybermen homage:
The plot of Avengers Assemble 15.AU, written by Al Ewing with art by Butch Guice, is simple: Captain Marvel (who was on vacation in London when Ultron attacked) and Captain Britain team up to bring former ‘80s superhero “Computer Graham” to the giant Ultron inside St. Paul’s Cathedral to defeat him (Computer Graham’s powers in the ‘80s involved being able to enter video games to fight off monsters).
Since Captain Britain doesn’t know if he’ll survive the battle with Ultron, though, he does one last thing before he leaves:
It’s a powerful moment, especially because it’s the magic of Britain itself passing from a white man to a Muslim woman.
And then Captain Brian and Captain Marvel leave with Computer Graham, along with another really British superhero, Magic Books Mel. Mel has a pair of, well, magic soccer boots that give various soccer related powers. She is, frankly, awesome.
While Brian, Carol, Graham, and Mel do manage to defeat the main giant Ultron, it comes at the cost of their lives.
All in all, the issue is pretty outstanding and ends with a bittersweet note, confirming that Faiza will go on as Captain Britain and fight Ultron for, perhaps, years to come. This entire timeline was erased, however, due to Wolverine and Invisible Woman messing around with a time machine (Wolverine killed Hank Pym, which caused magic to rule over science, so then they had to fix that, it’s a whole big long mess).
However, Faiza as Captain Britain still lived on in the Secret Wars mini-series Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders, written by Al Ewing, with art by Alan Davis. This took place on Battleworld and, well, if you thought the Avengers Assemble issue was super British, wait until you see
Mega-City Mondo-City One, where Boss Cage is the Law.
Yes, I swear.
I recommend reading both this issue of Avengers Assemble and the two issue mini-series Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders (which I wish was longer). Faiza, either as Excalibur or as Captain Britain, is a great character and is one of the few all-loving heroes, who never hates or kills and yet is completely and utterly awesome.