Captain Britain, Thor: The Mighty Avenger and a dodgy curry.

Sometimes it seems Captain Britain just can’t catch a break, take for example his simple wish in Thor: The Mighty Avenger issue 4 to enjoy a quiet drink and catch-up with some friends. This being comics we know even if Cap doesn’t that the chances of said drink going quietly are few and far between, and when it’s interrupted by Thor and The Warriors Three then a comic book brawl is sure to follow.

So what’s so special about the previous statement, surely it’s a template for a lot of superhero misunderstandings and fights? Well this brawl/cross-over is different as it never happened. Confused? Read on to find out why Captain Britain and Thor’s finest hour never really took place, and just where does that curry fit in?

Don’t forget to click to enlarge any picture below if you want to see the action in all it’s glory!

Captain Britain and Thor step outside

The reason behind the confusion is that this Captain Britain cross-over occurred within the pages of Thor: The Mighty Avenger issue 4, a comic which occupied a very odd place in Marvel continuity. In 2010 coasting on the back of the successful Thor movie Marvel surprised nobody when they announced a slew of new Thor comics; one of which was Thor: The Mighty Avenger or TTMA for short. TTMA was unique in that writer Roger Langridge and artist Chris Samnee set their series in its very own universe with no ties to Marvel continuity. Fandom was vocal in its praise for the series but this wan’t enough and it was cancelled after a few issues without any real reason except some Marvel prevarication. Anyway because of this the parallel Captain Britain who featured in issue 4 is often overlooked by Cap fans.

So today I’m going to look at this alternate Captain Britain and his missing cross-over with Thor, and that elusive curry.

The story starts with a depressed Thor being taken out for a drink or ten by his friends/gods The Warriors Three. Problems begin when they roll up to the bar where Captain Britain is and Cap thinks he’s stopping some Viking tomfoolery, so a punch up ensues.

Captain Britain and Thor fight 1a

The whole issue then becomes a frantic kinetic brawl marvelously illustrated by Samnee who brings the mayhem to life superbly.

Captain Britain and Thor fight

Cap then does his best Churchill impression trying to bring the voice of reason to the fight.

Captain Britain and Thor patriotic speech

 

And the whole misunderstanding is cleared up with a pint.

Captain Britain and Thor enjoy a drink

Oh and the curry, it’s the excuse Captain Britain uses to execute a stage left for a costume change.

Captain Britain and Thor curry and pork scratchings

Note in the above picture Thor makes one of the biggest mistakes of his life when he rejects a bag of pork scratchings.

TTMA and Captain Britain have a lot in common both being great titles with strong characters cancelled before their time. Luckily for Thor he has many other books to adventure in while fans of Captain Britain know once he vanishes it can be some years before he again graces a comic book. Saying that Cap can be found in the current Avengers event Time Runs Out which I covered here and here.

If you’ve got a spare few quid I would recommend you pick up TTMA, it’s unique intelligent interpretation of Thor is one I’m sure will appeal to Captain Britain fans or folks who like good well written and beautifully drawn comics.

It’s Captain Britain vs. Hitler as Weird War 3 is declared.

What sort of comic do you get if you cross an alternate dimension where the Nazis won the war, with a Professor X who seeks to advance the world to the next stage of evolutionary development by psychically executing mutants, where the X-Men are known as the Reichsmen and Captain Britain has to thwart Hitler’s plans to exterminate all mutants.

The answer is you get Excalibur: Weird War 3, which I rate as one of the best if most depressing Captain Britain adventures I’ve probably ever read from his early Excalibur career. But before we delve into the book itself let’s have a look at who was on its creative team.

excalibur_weird_war_3

Excalibur: Weird War Three was a one shot graphic novel that came out around December 1990 and was written by Michael Higgins, a man who is no stranger to Excalibur having written for the ongoing series and its spin-off adventures in Marvel Comic Presents. Art chores were handled by Tom Morgan and Justin Thyme. Now if you think that last name sounds odd it’s because Marvel on their website inform us its a pseudonym that includes the artist Chris Wozniak. I also believe the pseudonym includes Joe Rubenstein because he is credited along with Wozniak with a sketch at the book’s end. I have no idea why this was done, but one thing’s certain is that the book’s art does not suffer for this.

Excalibur: Weird War 3 opens with the psychic execution of a bunch of mutants in an alternate dimension; the shock of which it seems is enough to transfer Excalibur across the multiverse to the source. Here we learn the Nazi version of Professor Xavier is trying to advance mutant kind to their next evolutionary phase by executing mutants in their thousands, all to no avail.

Captain Britain Weird War 3 executed Mutants

Behind the scenes lurks an aged Hitler supported by the Red Skull, both aware of Xavier’s plans, and about to use them for their own dastardly advantage.

Excalibur mistaken for their Nazi counterparts Lightning Squad are sent to see the Reichminister of genetics Doktor MacTaggert to see if they are fit to serve the Fuhrer or should they face extermination. A brawl ensues between Excalibur and the Nazi version of the X-Men known as the Reichsmen, in which I’m happy to say the Reichsmen well and truly get their arses handed to them by Excalibur.

Captain Britain Weird War 3 The Reichsmen

As the fisticuffs calm down Doktor MacTaggart comes clean.It seems she is possessed by the real doctor from Excalibur’s own dimension, and disguises the team as Lightning Squad before sending them to end Xavier’s experiments.

In a short aside Xavier and the Red Skull show us exactly what happens to mutants who fail to live up to the Nazi’s standards, as we witness the gruesome fates of their dimensions versions of Cyclops, Angel, Beast, Iceman and others.

Captain Britain Weird War 3 The fate of the X-Men 1

Captain Britain Weird War 3 The fate of the X-Men 2

Excalibur face off against Xavier just as Hitler seeks to use the power of some recently executed mutants to complete his cunning plan of turning back time and making himself young again. I’m not sure if this plan also includes cutting Xavier’s marvelous eyebrows – I hope not.

Captain Britain Weird War 3 Excalibur vs Professor X

At first it seems as if the bad guys will win, but then other worldly forces intervene. The result is that Xavier and the Red Skull are slain, and Hitler is regressed to an extremely young stage.

Captain Britain Weird War 3 The fate of Hitler

Excalibur are transported home and it seems that Professor X ‘s experiments turned him into the ultimate mutant he was searching for all along, and he now acts as guardian of the Nazi dimension .

Confused? Here’s Phoenix with the science bit.

Captain Britain Weird War 3 Pheonix explains it all

After all the anguish luckily all is forgotten in a  Scooby-Doo type ending, with obligatory forced laughter

Captain Britain Weird War 3 bizzare comedy ending

As I said earlier just because this story depressed me doesn’t mean it’s not a good story, let me explain. I feel it takes skill to take an often funny comic book team and place them in a believable scenario where humor cannot save them, and they have to rely on each other and their powers. The fact the story depressed me really means the writer has done an effective job, I shouldn’t come away from a story that stars Hitler and that also has holocaust parallels feeling happy.

I like that Weird War 3’s pace and tone change our usual perception of Captain Britain and Excalibur, then when you add in the art which is nicely grim with washed out colours you get the perfect horrific undertones for the book. Yes the story is the complete opposite of what the team often face but it’s not any less for this, comics shouldn’t be afraid to shy away from real world horrors as long as the source material isn’t an excuse for bad jokes and inaccuracies.

On a different note it’s nice in Weird War 3 to see Captain Britain and his team make a very good show in all the fights they get into, as Higgins writes a group that works well together; while the great art makes for some frantic action. Perhaps the only fault I can find with the book apart from the overly jolly ending is that I wish there had been more room to explore Cap and the Nazi version of his sister Betsy. However, these are minor faults in a book I enjoyed reading when it first came out, and again on my return to it many years later.

Have you read Excalibur: Weird War 3? What did you think of it? Should it have been a mature readers book?  If you haven’t read it would it make your pull list ?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below

Captain Britain enjoys a nice cup of tea.

Inspired by The Mighty World of Marvel issue 15, here is a gallery of Captain Britain indulging in that most British of pastimes, drinking tea.

Captain Britian Mighty World of marvel 15 Tea and Sympathy

The cover that inspired todays post.

Mighty World of Marvel 15 Captain Britian drinks tea 1

Cap and a cuppa by Alan Davis from The Mighty World of Marvel 15 – titled Tea and Sympathy.

Captain Britain drinks tea

From Handmadefamily, part of their superhero alphabet.

captain Britain by stuartmcghee

From Stuartmcghee comes a Cap pic so cool I bought it as a print.

avengers_7

No details available sadly for this great pic of a dunking Cap.

Stephen Fry as Captain Britain drinks tea

Paul Garner draws Stephen Fry as Captain Britain.

Some great art here, if you are a fan artist with some Cap pics to share or know where some great fan art can be found, then please just post in the comments.

 

 

Captain Britain sends greetings from Essex

While browsing the internet looking for interesting nuggets of Captain Britain info my eyes were drawn to an infographic from estate agents Movoto, because it stated it would tell me where Captain Britain actualy lived.

marvel-map-world

As you can see despite the pleasant retro design Cap’s actual address is a bit vague but that’s understandable, and there is the pleasant surprise of an American company referencing Captain Britain in the first place. As often happens when I look at things like this the result was to get my brain going, as I began to wonder, where exactly does Captain Britain live?

The answer was remarkably straightforward according to Wikipedia it’s Maldon in Essex, which can be seen on the map below, as can my home town.

Captain Britains home town of Maldon

It’s here that Captain Britain’s ancestral home Braddock Manor has stood for generations.

Braddock Manor location 2

Braddock Manor is now known as Braddock Academy, as the benevolent Cap has recently turned it into his version of the X-Men’s academy. As a quick aside it turns out that in the USA there is an actual place called Braddock Manor, as you can see on the following map.

Braddock-Manor-West.

Not satisfied with this minor detective work my thoughts turned to Captain Britain’s other domicile, the Excalibur/Braddock lighthouse. I started to ponder could I trace an exact UK location for it, as easily as I had found Braddock Manor?

The answer came from the Excalibur one-shot, The Sword is Drawn.

excalibur lighthouse

Choosing to place the lighthouse in Scotland was I believe done so it  would be conveniently close to the X-Men’s Scottish hangout ,Muir Island.

Sadly Braddock Lighthouse no longer exists as it was destroyed in Excalibur issue 50, when the team thwarts another of Merlyn’s nefarious schemes.

Excalibur lighthouse destroyed

So if Captain Britain’s lighthouse has been destroyed and his ancestral home turned into a school where does he go now for some peace and quiet? I like to imagine he has a static caravan on the coast not far from Maldon where he can fly to quickly for long weekends, a well deserved rest and an incognito ice cream and stroll along the sea front.

Do you have any ideas as to where Captain Britain might take his holidays? Should he rebuild his lighthouse for a weekend vacation home or have I just gone mad ?

Let me know in the comments below.

Captain Britain meets Dr Who. Is Russell T Davies a secret Captain Britain fan?

Now updated – see last paragraph and comments.

Next to my love for Captain Britain I also have an unhealthy obsession with the classic BBC sci-fi series Dr Who. So imagine my delight when I found on the tumblr of Brian Michael Bendis the Alan Davis’ sketch below, which combines my two favourite characters.

Captain Britain and Dr Who

The good Doctor (shown here in his first regeneration when William Hartnell played him,) really does look quite unimpressed that he’s joining forces with a superhero to battle the Daleks and Cap’s nemesis The Fury.

In fact as I view the sketch I can almost imagine Hartnell harumphing and tutting in his fantastic irascible style, while Cap tries not to aggravate him and remain deferential.

As I viewed the sketch the whole idea of Captain Britain and Dr Who began to swirl round in my head, I was sure there was another connection between the two programs, but what was it?

Luckily a visit to the TVtropes website answered the question. Take a look below at the Excalibur supporting character of Alistaire Stewart, brother of Brigadier Alysande Stuart. ( Picture courtesy of Tvtropes.)

Dr Who In Excalibur

That’s quite a resemblance to David Tennant’s Doctor you will have to agree, and don’t get me started on the Stewart’s names and the fact that they work for W.H.O. (Weird Happenings Organisation.)

I’m fairly certain Alistaire made his comic book debut in 1989 a long time before Tennant took over the role of the good Doctor, and that no mention of the Excalibur character was ever quoted as an influence on Tennant’s costume by the BBC or Russell T Davies. Could all this speculation be just a coincidence, I think not!

Do you think a Dr Who and Captain Britain cross over would be any good ? Do you think the look of Tennant’s Time Lord costume is just a coincidence or is Russell T Davies a closet Captain Britain fan ?

Let me know in the comments below.

UPDATED – cheers to Ads who in the comments below points out another Dr Who and Captain Britain link, this time via the supporting character of Merlyn.

Captain Britain meets Bruce Forsyth and Judge Dredd. Was Alan Moore responsible?

In 1991, comic publishers Fleetway licensed Captain Britain, along with other UK comic book characters to appear in their one-off Comic Relief charity comic. For the good Captain his appearance here rates perhaps as his most surreal cross-over ever. Read on to find out why.

Before we look at Captain Britain’s charity appearance it’s worth noting what an extraordinary comic the Comic Relief book was; one of the reasons for this comes from the massive amount of talented funny book people involved in the project. On board were Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, Garth Ennis, Grant Morrison, Mark Millar and more. ( The full list if you are interested can be found here. )

Captain Britain’s appearance is reprinted below – click to enlarge.

Captain Britain and Judge Dredd

 

So, Captain Britain faces off against some distinguished competition in what can only be described as a ” chin off.” From left to right his rivals are….

2000AD’s legendary lawman, Judge Dredd.

From The Eagle, hard travelling space hero, Dan Dare.

From the now sadly cancelled kids comic The Dandy, Desperate Dan.

Last but by no means least comic book collector and writer, Jonathan Ross.

Despite the propensity of their chins all the entrants have no chance against UK entertainer Bruce Forsyth, but to be fair he really does have a big chin, there is little exaggeration in the comic book panel he appears in.

Despite a lot of searching I’m still not sure who wrote Captain Britain’s Comic Relief appearance. However, I would like to imagine with the subversive humour on display and his past history with the character that Alan Moore was to blame. Who knows?

As you can see from Cap’s appearance Comic Relief is celebrated with all involved donning a comedy red nose, and his charity appearance wasn’t the last time he wore one. Years later on the cover to Excalibur 54 ( pictured below) Alan Davis was to draw Cap with exactly the same nasal appendage.

excalibur-54

So there you have one of Captain Britain’s weirdest cross-overs, but as it was all in a good cause, I’m sure you will join me in forgiving Fleetway for this odd Cap appearance.

Before I sign off while researching this article I found this interesting snippet from Neil Gaiman on his input to this comic here.

Do you remember the Comic Relief comic? Do you think Captain Britain should have won the ” chin off, ” or are you just left confused?

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

Bonus Post. Captain Britain trash talks the internet in Avengers Arena 13.

Out today Avengers Arena issue 13 written by Christos Gage and drawn by Karl Moline has a Captain Britain appearance in which although small is quite funny.

The Avengers Arena comic is similar to the films Battle Royale or The Hunger Games in that a load of ” kid,” super heroes have been kidnapped by the evil genius Arcade and made to fight each other to the death in an unknown but inescapable location.

Captain Britain’s connection to this is that Kid Briton who was a student at the Braddock Academy is one of Arcade’s victims and in Avengers Arena 13 Hank Pym has started an investigation to try to trace the abductees.

Captain Britain with his Kid Briton connection gets a call and there follows this wonderful exchange with some great images as Cap firstly snarkily comments on social media and the internet.

Captain Britain in Avengers Arena 13 panel 1

Fritter and Wastebook are great mickey taking names, hats off to Christos Gage the writer for coming up with them but it gets better, look at what that rascal Kid Briton has supposedly been up to.

Captain Britain in Avengers Arena 13 panel 2

Yes that’s him in Cap’s old costume the scamp. In the last panel to feature Cap we also learn that MI-13 work hard but play harder as he comments on Pete Wisdom and Union Jack.

Captain Britain in Avengers Arena 13 panel 3

A week-long pub crawl that ended in the Savage Land, my mind and liver boggles !