It takes a certain type of hero to defend the realm, especially in a world where myth and legend come to life. Luckily, as we discussed in episode 7, Captain Britain was up for the job.
Here is a brief teaser, just some of what we learned, to whet your appetite.
Brian Braddock was one of three siblings along with Betsy, his twin sister, and his elder brother, James. Their parents, Lord James and Lady Elizabeth, were both scientists who died in an apparent lab accident. Following in their footsteps, Brian was studying Physics at Thames University and had taken a job at Darkmoor Nuclear Research Centre. Working through the holidays, Brian was there when a group of mercenaries, led by Reaver, attacked the facility. Managing to escape on his motorcycle, Reavers craft forces him off the road, and he tumbles down a cliff.
Surviving the wreckage, but badly injured, he sees a vision of the great wizard, Merlin and his daughter, Roma. They command him to make a choice, the Sword of Might, or the Amulet of Right. With Reaver and his men surrounding him, he takes the scholars choice, the Amulet of Right. As he takes it, a bolt of energy flashes across the universe and strikes him.
Appearing from the haze is a transformed Brian; he is stronger, faster and more athletic. He now wears his costume and holds a quarterstaff that is able to create a force barrier. Reaver, seeing the transformation then grabs the Sword of Might. A bolt of dark energy strikes him, giving him equal powers to Brian. Despite this, Brian quickly realises his mental strength and will are greater, using this advantage he quickly defeats Reaver. Merlin declares he has passed the test, he is now the champion, Captain Britain.
At first, Captain Britain spends his time fighting criminals and traditional threats. He stops bank robbers, fights criminal enterprise, and works with Nick Fury and Captain America to stop Neo-Nazis. Merlin, however, begins to set him more supernatural challenges. Aliens lurking beneath Loch Ness, masters of black magic, werewolves and demons. He was being prepared, but did not know what for.
Ultimately he travels to America to study, putting the supernatural trials of Britain behind him. Joining Marvel Team-up, he finds himself sharing a room with Spider-man. His exploits with Spider-man keep him busy, but as his studies come to an end, homesickness leads to mistakes, and he heads back to Britain.
The journey was not as easy as he had hoped, however. Demonic powers begin to assault his mind, and he leaps from the plane. Washing up on the shores of Cornwall, he lives as a hermit, his memory failing him.
A New Chapter
It was here, in Cornwall, the Black Knight discovered a confused Brain Braddock. Once again tasked by Merlin, the two join forces to fight the demon that had affected Brian’s mind. Merlin sends them to another dimension, where they battle Mordred, fight alongside King Arthur, and defeat the demon Necromon.
On completion of the quest, Merlin restores Brians missing memories and upgrades his hero. Captain Britain gains his new Union Flag costume and its powers are combined with the amulet and staff.
Merlin then transports our hero back from the alternate dimension. Travel, however, does not seem to work well for Brian.
On their return to Earth, they realise it is not the Earth they know. Rather than Earth-616 (normality), they are in an alternate reality, Earth-238. After more strange and supernatural encounters, he encounters Mad Jim Jaspers for the first time. A being with the ability to alter reality itself, he has rid his reality of all superheroes. To aid in this he has created the ultimate killing machine, The Fury.
Returning our hero to his correct reality, we learn Merlin had planned this all along. The Fury has managed to travel between realities and Jim Jasper of Earth-616 was on a path to becoming Prime Minister. All Superheroes in Earth-616 were in danger. Captain Britain, trained by Merlins supernatural challenges, was the only one who could fight Jaspers reality-warping creations.
I’ve only given a small amount of even my limited knowledge. The stories I’ve detailed here only bring us up to the mid-1980s and publications continue off and on up till now. Whether it’s his exploits with MI:13 or the Captain Britain Corps; multiple deaths and resurrections; his twin sister taking his place; fights with his brother; working with the Avengers or the X-Men. Captain Britains stories are complex and plentiful and I hope I’ve given you a reason to read more.
Steve‘s Suggested Reading:
The Birth Of A Legend
A Hero Reborn
The Lion And The Spider
The Siege Of Camelot