X-Lapsed Origins – Marvel Super-Heroes (UK) #380 (1981)
Well, speaking of seminal stories that are still wildly relevant to our current year HoXPoXDoXSoXRoX landscape…
Picking up right where we left off, Captain Britain has met Algernon… the over-sized definitely not a rat-thing. Al pours the Cap a cuppa, the contents of which Brian recognizes as the same “juice” that the Junkheap was after last chapter. Now, this entire exchange is being viewed by… a weirdo named Dimples. He reports this to… wait for it… Her Royal Whyness. Here it is, gang… the first appearance of the Interdimensional Witch Queen, Opal Luna Saturnyne. He asks what he ought to do about this… to which, she suggests that he already knows. And so, he summons the, ahem, Avant Guard. Once this is settled, Saturnyne resumes her meeting – talking about “The Push”… whatever that is.
Back at the Rat House, Captain Britain tries to break away from Algernon… when, suddenly — Jackdaw blips back in, looking quite… uh, radical. Turns out he was unable to locate Merlin to get to the bottom of exactly what and where they’d been sent. Also, he appears to recognize Algernon as someone called Seamus. Beautiful Brian assumes that Jack’s still drunk.
Then… the, ahem, Avant Guard show up. They’re your generic dudes in suits. They also wear bowler hats and carry umbrellas, because of course they do. They take aim and blast at Brian… who is initially able to withstand the beam via his forcefield — however, that is short-lived. Brian and Jackdaw are sent into another dimension… for like a panel or two. It’s neat the way this is all depicted on-panel, but feels like it’s rushed due to the constraints of being a chapter in an anthology. Brian and Jack peel back through to this Crooked London… and beat up the baddies.
We wrap up with one of the Avant Guard firing a devolver blast… which narrowly misses Brian, and instead hits Algernon. Poor ol’ Al is devolved into just an ordinary rat. This is enough to distract our hero long enough for him to get blasted. We close out this chapter with Brian himself being devolved into a monkey.
It’s funny, the chapter that comes next is actually the first chapter Marvel included in a semi-recent TRUE BELIEVERS reprint, whose purpose it was to examine the first appearance of Saturnyne. I own that, but haven’t actually sat down with it… but, it’s odd that it would open with Captain Britain already being devolved. Seems a weird way to start the story without the preceding context. Oh well… I suppose that’s all for me to say – if you wanna follow along with me from this point on, Marvel’s made it quite easy to do so with that recent reprint.