In the last post, I bemoaned the poor showing of Captain Britain in his 1978 Marvel Team-Up with Spider-Man. The Lion of London’s US launch saw him struggle to rescue romantic interest Courtney Ross (until Spider-Man lent a hand) and ignominiously kidnapped in a tricked-out garbage truck. This was the hero who faced the Red Skull, won Captain America’s respect and saved PM Jim Callaghan! What an injustice!
How then to redeem Cappy in the eyes of Marvelites on both sides of the pond? Just imagine an arc of adventures- an alternative MTU 67-69 by Claremont and Byrne. It would cost us the Tigra, Man-Thing and Havok stories but Tigra doesn’t come out of that Kraven rematch well and- it’s only an Imaginary Story. Aren’t they all…?
If Brian were studying abroad, surely he doesn’t just go home at the end of the Murderworld story, even if Courtney does? Let’s imagine his stay is intended to be a month long. But in Marvel style and emulating Peter Parker, too much super -heroing costs him his place on the program and he has to return early.
How to return Courtney safely home to London? Spidey’s pal Johnny Storm has access to long-range vehicles like the Pogo Plane. While he’s gallantly accompanying Courtney, Spidey and Cappy play a game of poker with the Thing and witness the return of the Frightful Four in “Cataracts and Hurricanoes!”
The Trapster had a breakdown after encountering Ghost Rider and Spidey in MTU 58 (1977), which gives him motivation for revenge. Maybe the wily Wizard finds a replacement member in Albert Potter, aka Hurricane. This mad meteorologist was, of course ,Cappy’s second costumed villain and his powers would be dangerous combined with Sandman; a powerful anatagonist defines a superhero. CB also gets to save both Spidey and Bashful Benjy!
Reed Richards, studying the Star Sceptre, notes that it can transform into the telescoping quarterstaff. Maybe it reverts to that form due to tampering by the Wizard? In any case, I don’t like the sceptre and prefer the pole-vaulting Captain.
Meanwhile…another shadowy figure is intrigued by Cappy’s mystical amulet: Dean Beatty aka the Maha Yogi/the Warlock /the Mad Merlin! It transpires that the amulet resonates on a similar magickal frequency to his “Jewel of Jeopardy” and he is eager to combine the two talismans.
During a Shakespeare in the Park performance, where Parker is a little jealous of MJ’s interest in “the Limey”, the Warlock makes his move in “Night’s Black Agents!” But while the villain’s mutant powers trigger Xavier’s Cerebro, it is Cappy’s amulet that attracts the attention of Dr. Strange.
Bringing the jewel and the amulet together opens a Sa’arpool to the dimension of the N’garai. Unfortunately for the Warlock, that gateway is his own body, which appears as a man-shaped tear in reality, through which the demons swarm.
In the final episode, “Hell is Empty and All the Devils are Here” by Claremont and guest-penciller Michael Golden, Strange and Spidey have to close the gateway and restore the Warlock. Meanwhile, Cappy rescues MJ from the demon horde with the assistance of his tarot-wielding relative, the ageless Lady Daemon.
The trilogy ends with Peter and Brian learning each other’s secret identity; a cameo by Storm, Colossus and Nightcrawler and an ominous card reading from Cappy’s great-aunt Megan Daemon…
So, that’s my plan to bolster CB’s reputation in the late 70s Marvel Universe. By apeing the story arcs in MTU 82-85 or MTIO 30-33, I get to restore his original weaponry; transplant his most recognisable foe; and raise his game generally, while dropping some Shakespearian references, for that authentic Claremont tone.
The character has no character to speak of, in the original two-parter. This is a young man who is a University student but also comes from a background of privilege. His sister is a model and his brother, a racing driver. His family probably has an acquaintance with other Marvel British aristos like the Plunders, the Garretts, the Phyffes and the Falsworths.
For the nebbish Parker, this would be like having Prince William as a roommate. Also, while Braddock has affected a pipe, we also know he likes a drink. I can see the pair escorting Mary Jane Watson to Greenwich Village and the Marvel equivalent of Chumley’s ( now sadly closed in reality but I visited it in the mid-90s). Parker might be a little envious of his glamorous English guest- and Brian might be a little uncool about his inherited wealth.
I think the two super-heroes would also be wild for a tour round the lab facilities of the Baxter Building, from which the Thing would find it difficult to distract them:
I wanted to tie Cappy to the magickal fringes of the MU so he contrasts more with other “street level” heroes like Spidey and DD. In doing so, by establishing family ties with Lady Daemon, I’ve cheated somewhat. She won’t actually appear until Bizarre Adventures in 1981, but…it’s an Imaginary Story. Aren’t they all?
Coming soon: Green Lantern, the Avenger and Worms of the Earth
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