Marvel has plenty of popular American characters, from Iron Man, to Captain America. But the Marvel Universe is full of awesome characters from different countries as well. One of my favourites is Pete Wisdom, a mutant from England and the head of the British Intelligence Service M1-13. He has the ability to form ‘hot knives’ from his fingers and use them as weapons. Yet there’s a lot more to Wisdom than just his power set.
Wisdom was created by English comic writer Warren Ellis. He’s based on Jack Regan from The Sweeney and debuted in Excalibur 86 in 1995. Wisdom was born to a Scotland Yard detective-sergeant called Harold Wisdom. He went on to join M16 and was transferred to another intelligence agency called Black Air. Eventually, Wisdom joins Excalibur and goes on to form a strike team with M1-13 to deal with supernatural threats against the UK.
Wisdom’s leadership was crucial during England’s war with Dracula. Wisdom came up with a strategy of misinformation and staged defeat in order to trick Dracula. The vampire ruler didn’t realise the UK had a magical spell around it that required vampires to be invited across its borders. Through Wisdom’s tactics, the vampire army is destroyed.
The core of Wisdom’s personality is that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to protect England. He loves his country and isn’t above cheating or getting dirty. He’s cynical, sarcastic and brutally honest. This has rubbed many people the wrong way, but as far as Wisdom is concerned, the ends justify the means.
His powers are based on him absorbing solar radiation and releasing the energy through his fingers. He refers to the energy as ‘hot knives’ and they’re said to be as hot as the sun. In addition to his abilities, Wisdom has years of espionage experience, making him a capable leader.
I’d best describe Wisdom as a crankier version of James Bond. For anyone who is looking to learn more about British comic characters then I’d recommend picking up issues of Excalibur and New Excalibur.