X-Lapsed Origins – The Daredevils (UK) #1 (1983)

The Daredevils (UK) #1 (January, 1983)

“a rag, a bone, a hank of hair…”
By Alans Moore and Davis
Letters – Jenny O’Connor
Colors – Helen Nally
Edits – Paul Neary
Cover Price: 70p

It’s been five months (real-time) since the apparent death of Captain Britain at the hands of The Fury back in Marvel Super-Heroes (UK) #388 (August, 1982)… and it’s finally time for him to come back in an all-new title: The Daredevils!

What that means for us is… well, Cap’s coming back, yes… but, this is also going to be an exercise in re-telling his origin to catch the new-readers (and heck, some of us as well) up on the character.  This is going to be kind of a “dry” chapter, chock full of exposition.

Let’s get it on!

We open with the proclamation that Captain Britain is dead.  We zoom into a small planetoid shape, which the deeper we go looks more and more machine-like… full of metal pipes and whatnot.  When we finally arrive at the core, we meet Roma and her father, Merlin who have been able to collect a precious few pieces from the remains of Captain Britain… mostly some of Beautiful Brian’s British Bones.  Also, I’d assume a rag and a hank of hair, if the chapter title is to be believed.

Roma is tasked with using these remains to craft a new body for our hero… while Merlin attempts to piece together splinters of Brian’s personality – which conveniently facilitates a look back at Brian’s memories… ie, his character-career to this point.  While Roma does her hoodoo, Merlin tells us a little bit about who Brian Braddock was.  He was a twin, part of a poor family, a somewhat introverted student of science.

He fancied himself a student of physics, as it was a cold and precise science, without any ambiguities.  Hmm… in the Marvel Universe?  I’d think concepts of physics would be anything but precise there.  Anyhoo, his parents would pass away in an accident, which only made Brian more introverted and withdrawn.  One day while working at the Darkmoore Research Centre, the place was attacked by a man named Joshua Stragg – also known as The Reaver.  Brian fled the scene, however, stumbled into his own origin story – wherein, he was offered that choice – ya know, the Sword or the Amulet.  Brian would become Captain Britain.  Roma wonders if he’d have been happier just living an ordinary life… but, Merlin ain’t hearin’ none’a that.

As Captain Britain, Brian would find his worldview challenged (science vs. sorcery) having some strange adventures indeed… tangling with Vampires, Dire Wolves, and the Children of the Shadowlands.  This would ultimately drive him kinda batty… to the point where, at one point he threw himself from a plane.  Hmm, that seems to be a tough habit to break for our hero.  He’d land in the drink, and wash up on a beach in Cornwall without any of his memories.  He’d live in solitude for two years before being called upon again… this time, teaming with Dane Whatshisface, the Black Knight in Otherworld.

From here, we skip ahead to Captain Britain (in his current day togs), finally at peace as a being of both science and magic, being sent outta Otherworld along with his Elfin Associate, Jackdaw.  Sent back to Earth… but, not his Earth.  This is the story we’ve been covering to this point.

Then, a quick n dirty retelling of the last several chapters – Mad Jim Jaspers creating The Fury as a way to eliminate all super-types in his crooked world (except himself)… and The Fury ultimately SKARAKing Beautiful Brian to death.

By this point, Roma has finished putting the pieces back together… and Captain Britain’s body is finally ready to receive some magical shock paddles.  Merlin does the thing… and our hero is back among the living.  As he wakes, he’s sent plunging back down to Darkmoor, and the circle of stones.  Brian wakes up, and thanks God that he’s back on his home Earth.

We wrap up back in Otherworld, with Roma asking her father why he didn’t show himself to Brian.  To which, Merlin shapeshifts (for some reason) asking which form he should have shown him.  Roma sheds a single tear for the poor doomed Captain, and we’re outta here.

So, uh… I guess this goes to show that not ALL Otherworld Resurrections are wonky, eh?

All told, not a bad little chapter.  While I’d have preferred getting on with the story itself, I can certainly see why they dedicated an entire chapter to the retelling of Captain Britain’s origin story here.  First, he’s been off the board for a (relative) while at this point – five-months out of publication.  Second, this is the first issue of an all-new ongoing series – as such, this might be “somebody’s first” issue, and therefore, their first run-in with Captain Britain.

It was well told, and as a chapter in an anthology, didn’t overstay its welcome.  It gave us some context to just how complicated a character Captain Britain truly is.  I feel like many kids of my vintage might’ve written the guy off upon first meeting him as “England/Great Britain/UK’s Captain America” and nothing more.  Just a derivative and dull character, who acted in the interest of his country – and really wouldn’t be all that interesting to read about.  Well, many of us came to learn that there’s quite a bit more to Brian Braddock than the Union Jack uniform.

Really not much more to say about this – I can’t remember if they’re heading anywhere nefarious with Merlin… as that final scene kinda creeped me out a bit.  Not sure what that was all about.  Also, the opening bit with the Satellite/Planetoid gave me some real Monitor/Harbinger vibes from pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths!  Wonder if there might’ve been any cross-pollination there?

Overall – a necessary chapter, but probably not the most exciting.  Still quite well done.

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