X-Lapsed Origins – Marvel Super-Heroes (UK) #379 (1981)

Marvel Super-Heroes (UK) #379 (November, 1981)
“The Junkheap That Walked Like A Man”
Writer – Dave Thorpe
Art – Alan Davis
Letters – Jenny O’Connor
Colors – Helen Nally
Edits – Paul Neary
Cover Price: 63p

In case it’s not clear from the covers I’m including here in the pre-ramble section of these posts, Captain Britain isn’t the only character being featured in the UK Marvel Super-Heroes mag.  As you can see, it’s a pretty interesting anthology format… and, while I believe I initially referred to this as a being a “weekly”, I’m coming to the conclusion that it is, in fact, a monthly.

Which, is a little bit baffling… I’m not sure how a four page Captain Britain strip could keep folks of the day invested.  Four pages a week?  Sure… but, four pages a month?  That’s a bit of a tough sell.

Anyhoo – let’s fight a robot… and, uh, chat a rat?

We open with the Junkheap and Captain Britain fighting their way through the city of whichever London this is.  Initially, the military assumes them to both be enemies.  Ya see, they don’t recognize Captain Britain at all.  More on that in a bit.  Now, Brian is able to sorta-kinda hold his own… he even goes all cover of Action Comics #1 on the bot for a bit.  Unfortunately for him, however, the British M.P.s (I’m guessing they’re military police… but could be mistaken) decided to fire a rocket launcher at him!

Brian’s all “what the hell, guys!” and suggests they should know who he is.  To this, they reply that they used to have a Captain UK… but, never met a Captain Britain.  Amid this confusion and distraction – Betsy’s Beautiful Blonde Brother gets Blasted by the Bot.

Brian fights his way though the blast… and manages to push the Junkheap into… uh, the Thames?  That’s the one from the beginning of Danger Mouse and Bananaman, right?  Whatever the case, this causes the Heap’s energy to zeep… er, seep away.  As it crackles in the drink, it comments that it needs “more juice”.

Captain Britain convinces the M.P.s to allow the Heap to reform… so they might follow it to this source of this “juice”.

Brian and the M.P.s follow the shambling wreckage to a nearby sewer pipe… which looks like it’s oozing with Tang.  Our Captain prevents the Heap from rejuicing… and, it goes inert.

Just then… a strange street person appears.  Captain Britain sure seems to be chummy with these interdimensional hoboes, don’t he?  Anyhoo, this character convinces Brian to enter the sewer pipe… we wrap up with him face-to-face with… an over-sized Rat Thing called Algernon.  I hope Brian brought him some flowers!

Boy, this is a strange little strip, now isn’t it?

It’s so weird… I can’t remember any of this – it’s like I’m seeing this Algernon character for the first time.  In fairness, I barely remembered Jackdaw – so, what can I say?

I wanna say our main takeaway from this chapter is that it might just be (though I can’t say for sure) the first hint that there is a Captain Britain Corps.  Brian’s never heard of this Captain UK… and the Londoners don’t know nothing of a Captain Britain.  So, I’d say that was a low-key seminal scene.

As listeners of the main X-Lapsed program (and, ya know – readers of the current year X-Books) know, the Captain Britain Corps are most definitely still a thing nowadays – only, they’ve all got purple hair and whatnot.  Whatever the case, it’s neat and interesting to see how all of these pieces originally started falling into place.

Let’s take a very brief look at this Captain UK character.  Listeners of From Claremont to Claremont: An X-Men Podcast might remember her as Beautiful Brian’s representation when he was put on trial by the Captain Britain Corps for his many… many… many misdeeds.

From Excalibur #43 (November, 1991)

Looks like she’ll start popping into our Captain Britain strips before long (and to say much more would be spoiling the story)… so, look forward to that!  Worth noting, the British M.P.s in this chapter refer to Captain UK as a “he”… so, looks like we’ll be hitting the ground running with some already established lore!

Overall, I’m still enjoying this eerie little strip – and I hope you are as well.  Who knows… maybe we’ll come out of this with a whole new appreciation for Otherworld – and a desire to reread the X of Swords storyline over and over again!  Or ya know… maybe we won’t.

NEXT CHAPTER: In Support of Darwin

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