Marvel Super-Heroes (UK) #386 (June, 1982)
“If the Push Should Fail…”
Writer – Dave Thorpe
Art – Alan Davis
Letters – Jenny O’Connor
Colors – Helen Nally
Edits – Paul Neary
Cover Price: 63p
Welcome to the final chapter of the Dave Thorpe run of Captain Britain!
Now, eagle-eyed readers might notice that we’ve jumped from Marvel Super-Heroes (UK) #384 to #386… and, as such, might be wondering what in the heck happened to #385.
Well, #385 was billed as “an untold tale of Captain Britain” (written by Paul Neary) which would be chronologically slotted in prior to Brian’s arrival in this Crooked London. It’s included in the second issue of X-Men Archives Featuring Captain Britain, and so – completionist I am, I’m going to be including it as something of a “bonus” when we do the compilation post later on this week.
For now though – let’s wrap up “The Push”!
Picking up right where we left off, Captain Britain is delivering the Crommie lad, Jeff back to his Crommie kin. They’re happy and relieved to see him, however are outraged at the Block 45 Gang for attacking him. They’ve bout had enough… and it’s time to finally put an end to this turf war. Brian bugs out to check in with a member of the Avant Guard to see how close they are to getting “The Push” flowin’ through the reservoirs. While there, chatting up the Guard, Cap is shocked to see — his old pal Jackdaw! Jack tells Brian that he’s got a plan to stop the fighting while The Push is being prepared.
And so, lickety-split, Brian Britain is back in battle… well, stopping a battle, I suppose. He uses his forcefield to push the warring gangs apart while making a sorta God-like speech, threatening retribution and whatnot. This… doesn’t work so well.
Thankfully, it does manage to buy Jackdaw enough time to enact his plan… which is, well — so very British. Ya see, he offers them all tea. They ain’t in the mood to drink, however. And so, Jack uses his mental powers to convince them to drink… and so, they do. Here’s the rub — the “tea” they’re drinking is actually laced with the Junkheap Juice… so, a few sips in, it’s all good in the hood(s).
We wrap up with our good guys celebrating the fact that The Push was a success… This weird London has been 95% successful in its evolution… so, high-fives all around!
But hey… we’re certainly not going to leave this on such a high note, are we? After all… who was that fella from the first chapter? Ya know… dude with a little mustache, and a teapot shaped helicopter? Who was that guy? Anybody remember? Well, Brian, Jackdaw, and Saturnyne (with a “Y” now) sure don’t. Whatever happened to Mad Jim Jaspers? Well… seems he was just biding his time… letting the heroes do their thing before deciding to strike — and boy, does he! We wrap up this run of Captain Britain stories with this alternate London… going all shades of (literally) CROOKED!
Well, that’ll do it for the Dave Thorpe run! Really setting the table for what’s going to be, perhaps, the most memorable and iconic work ever done with the character of Captain Britain.
So, whatta we got here? Well… until the final page, it’s hard to see this little “gang war” story as anything other than filler. I suppose it gave us a bit of insight as to the “micro” and “macro” influence the Junkheap Juice was going to have on the UK. We know that, in the grand scheme of Saturnyne’s task – this UK needs to be a bit more evolved on the whole. But, with this story, we were able to get a (literal) street level view of the evolutionary process. So, in that regard… yeah, I suppose this worked.
We get the surprise return of Jackdaw… which, is definitely more set up for the Moore run… as will become evident… err, maybe next chapter? His plan to serve the warring gangs tea was… kinda cute, I guess. Not really sure why Brian didn’t just grab a gallon of the stuff and just pour it on the street folks like he did with the Status Crew a couple of chapters back. Seems like that’d be the “go-to” for a situation like this, doesn’t it? Oh well…
I think our main takeaway from this chapter is… obviously, the ending. Mad Jim Jaspers… a fella we’ve only seen once before, and who was treated kind of like a joke… turns out to have been laying in wait for just the right moment to let loose with his “crookeding” of London. For folks only familiar with our current-year “Ecks of Tens” era X-Books… this is why Jasper’s area in Otherworld is referred to as “The Crooked Market”.
I do have to wonder how this played out for readers of the day. My first experience with this era of Captain Britain actually starts with the next chapter… where Mad Jim is already sorta-kinda established as our “big bad”. So, for me, this reveal wasn’t all that shocking. Well, it actually wasn’t shocking at all.
Overall — as much as I enjoyed these last nine or so chapters, I’m happy that we’re through “The Push”, and that the two-part Turf War story is in the rear-view. I’m all ready to kick off “The Alans” run… and I hope you’ll all be there with me!
NEXT CHAPTER: Alan Moore
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