X-Lapsed Origins – Marvel Super-Heroes (UK) #383 (1982)

Marvel Super-Heroes (UK) #383 (March, 1982)

“Faces of Britain!”
Writer – Dave Thorpe
Art – Alan Davis
Letters – Jenny O’Connor
Colors – Helen Nally
Edits – Paul Neary
Cover Price: 63p

Alright gang – today we wrap up the first issue of X-Men Archives featuring Captain Britain (July, 1995), where I’ve been pulling all of these classic chapters for x-amination and discussion.  Next time out, we’ll start the second issue… which, I wanna say three chapters in will begin the much-loved (and must-read) “Alans” run.

Really looking forward to getting into that… and, honestly – I assumed these lead-up chapters by Dave Thorpe were going to be kind of a slog that we’d just have to “deal with” in order to get to the “good stuff”… but, I’ve been having a wonderful time with them!  I hope you have as well…

We open with the Captain still rattled from that shot he took last issue… ya see, the Status Crew hit him where it hurt.  If you recall, they first ran that weird scan on him, which revealed that he is “fueled” by the power of concentration – and so, the blast was calibrated to shake that concentration, rendering him powerless.  In light of this, Saturnine decides to take matters into her own hands… and, well – makes laughably short work out of the oncoming Crewsters… which almost makes you wonder why she didn’t just do that in the first place.  I guess maybe she just wanted Beautiful Brian to rescue her?  Then again, she hasn’t seen him without his helmet yet… so, she might not know just how beautiful Betsy’s Blonde British Brother is!

Cap is back on his feet… but doesn’t get long to rest — the Crewsters keep a’comin’!  Opal Luna rushes off to access a nearby storage closet with her faithful companion, Dimples.  Inside it, is a whole distillery of the “Junkheap Juice”… or, the evolutionary sauce… or whatever we’re going to decide to call it.  She claims that there’s enough here to give “The (evolutionary) Push” to the entire city of Crooked London!

Captain Britain thinks on his feet, and asks her Royal Whyness to toss him a barrel of the stuff.  He decides to slosh it all over the incoming Crewsters… which instantly evolves them into rational thinking folks.  They ask what they’re doing here… and, upon reflecting on their misdeeds, apologize for their actions.  They also wonder how they could ever try and harm someone as beautiful as Opal Luna Saturnine… which, I’m sure is music to her petite ears.

We jump to later, and join an out-of-costume Brian Braddock walking the streets of this Other London.  He has quite a head of hair, this Braddock.  He is approached by a little urchin who asks is he’s got any money to spare… but alas, he does not.

Instead, he asks her if she believes in magic… and, asamattafact, she does!  So, kids… here’s a tip from your ol’ pal Chris – if a strange man you meet in the street at night asks if you believe in magic – the correct answer is “No”.  If there’s anything we’ve learned from the X-Books… it’s how to Be X-Tra Safe.  Anyhoo, we wrap up with Brian picking the tot up, and flying with her through the skies of this wacked out London.  The story closes with the revelation that this is being observed by Merlin and… Jackdaw???

It’s crazy… if I were to have picked this issue up off the racks back in ye old 1995, I would’ve taken one look at it and really regretted my purchase.  I was most definitely not in the right frame of mind to x-plore a bunch of ancient (and, to me, irrelevant) Captain Britain stories.  I probably would’ve complained about the bait and switch with the series being called X-Men Archives… and, I mean, I’d have been right to do so!  This is very much not an X-Men book.  If you weren’t reading Excalibur (which I wasn’t… because it cost 50-cents more than the “main” X-Books, this would have meant even less than nothing to you as an X-Fan!

Here, in current-year (and the first time I read it around the turn of the century), however – this is some really fun stuff… and it’s cool seeing so much of the foundation for what’s to come being laid out.  I gotta wonder if Dave Thorpe and Alan Davis realized just how much they were contributing to the lore of this character… and ultimately the entire World of X?

I remember referencing these stories in passing… these pre-Moore Captain Britains… and I’d always compare them to the Paul Kupperberg Doom Patrol – something you just “had to get through” in order to get to the “good stuff”… with the Doomies, that’d be the Grant Morrison run.  Kind of a comics “Premack principle” or something.  But this, kinda like the Kupperberg run, has a lot going for it, and a lot of charm… makes me feel like I unjustly slighted both.

There’s some really neat stuff here… and if you’re experiencing it for the first time via these rambly missives from your pal, Chris – I hope you’ve been enjoying – and maybe you’ve been inspired to check them out to x-perience on your own.  If these little ditties haven’t been your flavor of x-book, I’d ask you to indulge me for just a few more installments – the Alan Moore stuff IS coming, and it just might change the way you look at (and appreciate) Captain Britain… and, dare I say, many of our Otherworld(ly) trappings!

X-Men Archives featuring Captain Britain #1

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