BIOGRAPHY - Page 9
And then, he woke up. As the House of M reality reverted back to the original Earth-616, Brian Braddock found himself cast out of Otherworld, no longer king and unable to return for reasons he could not discern. 90% of the world’s mutant population also lost their powers in the reversion, with only a few heroes vaguely remembering the events that transpired. Kitty, Rachel and Kurt came to meet with Brian at the site of the Lighthouse. They surprised him with his sister Betsy, alive once more in this reality too, thanks to their brother Jamie’s powers. Along for the ride were Juggernaut and Nocturne, who also recalled the events of the House of M with Brian, and Pete Wisdom, representing British intelligence looking into the Decimation.
Their attention was drawn to the apparent murder of the X-Man Dazzler in London, along with a banker from Fraser’s Bank. This led them to confront Fraser’s CEO and the current White Queen of the Hellfire Club, “Courtney Ross”. Brain still remembered how Sat-yr-9 killed Courtney and took her place, although there was no way under the law to prove it. Sat-yr-9, for her part, made the curious decision to maintain the fiction that she truly was Brian’s old love Courtney, even when confronted by her past actions. Dazzler was surprisingly alive after the attack, which drew out her attackers: Shadow-X, evil versions of the original X-Men from another reality, with their own Charles Xavier. Courtney’s associate Sage from the Hellfire Club came to assist the heroes, and coordinate their response to the Shadow-X threat. The villains were captured, but their motivations remained a mystery. [New Excalibur #1-3]
Pete Wisdom saw the need for a new Excalibur team to work with MI-13 in the aftermath of the Decimation. Most of the X-Men members returned to the mansion, however, and Captain Britain was focused on finding his way back to Otherworld. He chose to keep Sat-yr-9 close as she continued the thin ruse of being Courtney Ross until he could determine her motivations. At lunch with Courtney, Brian was assaulted by Kelsey Leigh, the Captain Britain he had empowered as king of Otherworld. Now called Lionheart, Kelsey was furious with Brian over the conditions of her powers. By choosing the Sword instead of the Amulet, somehow Kelsey was cursed to remain forever separated from her children, with them believing her dead.
Captain Britain and Lionheart brawled in the streets as Brian tried to deflect that the circumstances of Kelsey’s powers were the result of her own choice, her own temperament. A powerful third party named Albion intervened on their fighting. He fought Captain Britain to a standstill and made off with Lionheart, recruiting her for a “war” he promised was coming. Wisdom and Brian’s other allies (Sage, Nocturne, Juggernaut and Dazzler) had also spent the day struggling with the escaped Warwolves, and anti-mutant sentiment was on the rise throughout England. Brian recognized he couldn’t ignore his responsibilities to England for Otherworld, and agreed it was necessary to reform Excalibur for the greater good. [New Excalibur #4-5]
Pete Wisdom and MI-13 got Excalibur set up at the Lake House in London as a new headquarters, putting them on-call for emergencies requiring a super-heroic response. Wisdom and Brian squabbled often over who was really in charge of the team, with Brian leading from the front and Wisdom holding the purse strings. Brian also had to deal with the disappearance of his sister again, when Betsy uncovered the Shadow King lurking in the mind of Shadow-X’s Charles Xavier and vanished while confronting the entity. Captain Britain attempted to recruit Dane Whitman to the team as well, but the Black Knight ended up leaving on a quest to locate the Ebony Blade. [New Excalibur #6-17]
As weeks passed, Captain Britain remained concerned over the potential threat posed by Albion and Lionheart. Excalibur learned Albion was recruiting Decimated former mutants with the promise of restoring some of the power they lost. Sage was sent undercover to pose as a recruit for these Shadow Captains. Meanwhile, Excalibur learned Shadow-X had also joined forces with Albion and Lionheart. With his allies and recruits by his side, Albion retrieved a powerful artifact that cast a spell over the isles, reducing all of Great Britain to a pre-technological state. Disaster made for stranger bedfellows, as Shadow-X switched sides and joined Excalibur after Lionheart fought to prevent them from restoring Shadow Xavier. Captain Britain also reached out to Lionheart during a fight at the royal palace, and convinced Kelsey that Albion had gone too far. As Brian’s allies dealt with Albion’s, the struggle came down to the two men who made a single choice differently. (Naturally, as Albion was revealed to be his Earth’s incarnation of Brian Braddock.) Albion was humbled, his spell undone and, mercifully, a way was found to reunite Kelsey with her children. [New Excalibur #18-24]
While celebrating the defeat of Albion, Brian was delighted by the return of Betsy. Psylocke had been drafted into the multiversal Exiles, the former team of Brian’s Excalibur teammate Nocturne. As the party turned into a reunion, Brian was confronted by Rouge-Mort and the Janissaries, agents of the spiteful Merlyn, who had returned to claim his place in Otherworld from Roma. Brian was critically wounded in the initial bout, and Excalibur was brought to the Exiles’ omniversal Crystal Palace to get him advanced care. In the meantime, Merlyn unleashed Mad Jim Jaspers on the Captain Britain Corps. Merged with his one-time killer, Jaspers was now capable of infecting hosts to transform them into copies of the Fury. Many members of the Corps either fell in battle or were converted to the mad cause.
Captain Britain eventually emerged from surgery and joined Excalibur and the Exiles in battle. Wisdom and Psylocke also released Albion, who gave his word to fight alongside Braddock for the duration of the conflict. They held the line until Blink of the Exiles took advantage of an opening they had made, dispersing the Fury with her energy javelins. Meanwhile, however, the Starlight Citadel had fallen. Merlyn was beaten and driven into retreat by Psylocke. Worse, Roma had been killed and the Omniversal Majestrix Saturnyne rose to her place. She recruited Albion to lead a more militant version of the Corps, while insisting Brian remain Captain Britain of his own reality full-time, given the number of threats that emerged from it, time and again. [X-Men: Die By the Sword #1-5]
Excalibur drifted apart after this, but Captain Britain remained an ally of MI-13 and the British government. Cut off from the Captain Britain Corps, Brian became focused on redefining himself as a hero and symbol for Great Britain instead of merely one in an endless Corps of soldiers. He got his chance when the Skrull invasion of Earth began. Targeting various potential threats, the Skrulls zeroed in on Otherworld and Avalon as the font for all magic on the planet, and wished to claim it for themselves. To cut ties between Great Britain and Avalon, the Skrulls targeted the Siege Perilous in order to prevent mutual defense. Captain Britain flew into the path of the Skrulls’ rocket but was unable to deflect it. The Siege Perilous was destroyed, and Captain Britain was killed. [Captain Britain and MI-13 #1]
Left with no other choice, Pete Wisdom followed the voice of Merlyn and released him and the evil supernatural entities contained in the dark realms, unleashing them on the Skrulls. Mercifully, Merlyn was back in one of his more benevolent incarnations. A shard of the Fury had pierced his side in Otherworld during the Jaspers affair, and Merlyn used it to pluck out the evil of his soul. What’s more, the Fury killed super-heroes, and Merlyn’s magic used that innate element of the shard to reverse itself, returning Brian Braddock to life once more. Reincarnated at the center of Britain itself to become the living symbol he wanted to be, Brian Braddock was literally clothed in flags to represent his people and become Captain Britain again. He drew Excalibur from the stone and used it against the mystic Super-Skrull leading the attack on the U.K. Captain Britain held the line until Wisdom finalized his deal with the dark realms, eradicating all Skrulls in England in exchange for the supernatural evils’ freedom. [Captain Britain and MI-13 #2-4]
As the dust settled, Captain Britain and Pete Wisdom decided to reinvent MI-13, making it a fluid mixture of super-heroes and intelligence operations that was uniquely British. It would be a mixture of public spectacle and black ops missions. The evils released from Avalon during the invasion would be their first priority. The core team expanded to include Black Knight, his steward Faiza Hussein, Spitfire and Blade. Alistair Stuart and O from science division reviewed Brian’s powers and determined his current strength level was dependent on his emotions. His strength and invulnerability would vary with his confidence and determination. In addition, he was now made of magic and could therefore directly interact with magic in ways he previously could not. [Captain Britain and MI-13 #5]
MI-13 faced their first trial when Plotka, Duke of Hell, set up residence in Birmingham. Plotka employed a dream corridor, powered by the wants and desires of humanity, as a factory to produce Mindless Ones. Captain Britain charged in first and Plotka teased him with an image of Meggan in trouble. Brian entered one of the rooms in the corridor to rescue her, winding up in one of the desire-based illusion scenarios as a living battery for Plotka’s magicks. His magically-reinforced subconscious helped Brian eventually shake off the illusion.
Tragically, though, he failed to realize he had actually found the REAL Meggan through Plotka’s dream corridor. Brian abandoned the corridor to return to Birmingham and help MI-13 defeat Plotka, unaware of how close he had come to truly reuniting with his long-lost wife. [Captain Britain and MI-13 #6-9]
Betsy had continued traveling with the Exiles after Roma fell, and Brian was reunited with his twin under unexpected circumstances. Psylocke had earned the ire of an other-dimensional version of their old foe Slaymaster. Killing Elizabeth Braddocks throughout the multiverse as revenge, Slaymaster finally tracked down her home reality and intended to murder Captain Britain to spite his new favorite opponent. When the time came, Brian reluctantly stood on the sidelines and allowed his twin sister to gain a measure of closure by defeating the spitting image of the man who once claimed her eyes. [X-Men: Sword of the Braddocks #1] In a bit of symmetry, a mercenary named Jasper Bateman discovered the original Slaymaster’s cache of exotic weapons around that time, and intended to become the new Slaymaster. Captain Britain and Deadpool defeated Bateman before he could make off with any of Slaymaster’s gadgets. [Deadpool Team-Up #893]
The next threat to the United Kingdom came from Count Dracula and his vampire nation. The Impaler had assembled several supernatural evils from Avalon’s cells as support in his bid to invade England and claim it as a new vampire homeland. He also parlayed with Doctor Doom to arrange for Norman Osborn’s Cabal and their allies to remain neutral in the invasion. Doom agreed but he also considered Dracula a mere parasite, and so his “help” was strategic. In helping a fellow Romany wander home, he transported Meggan from her lost travels to Dracula’s stronghold. Ostensibly a pawn for Dracula to wield against Captain Britain, in fact Meggan’s unique empathy broadcasted feelings of rebellion, ending the hold Dracula would normally have on his fellow undead as Lord of the Vampires. As Wisdom coordinated his counter-strikes against the vampire nation, Brian Braddock was at long last reunited with his wife. [Captain Britain and MI-13 #10-15]
England did not receive aid during the vampire invasion in part due to back-scratching between various nefarious powers, including Norman Osborn of America’s 50-States Initiative. In time, he was replaced by Steve Rogers, the resurrected Captain America, who was interested in ushering in a new “Age of Heroes” as chief of America’s superhumans. At a government reception for British heroes from MI-13, he extended an offer to Captain Britain to become a member of the Avenger teams he was forming. A possessive Pete Wisdom initially nixed the idea, but he turned sentimental and agreed to work out a “time share” agreement with Rogers when the time was right. [Age of Heroes #1]