Captain Britain (2nd series) #13

Issue Date: 
January 1986
Story Title: 
It’s hard to be a hero

first story
Alan Davis (writer / artist)), Noel Davis (art assistant), Annie Halfacree (letters), Ian Rimmer (editor)

Brief Description: 

At the urging of the RCX, Betsy Braddock takes over her twin’s mantle as Captain Britain when Jeeves presents her with a modified Captain uniform (from dead Kaptain Briton) that enhances her powers. Together with Captain UK, she foils robberies and the like until Captain UK returns to her life. However, soon a group of Warpies is kidnapped by the Vixen, who calls Betsy out to a fight to save the children. Reluctantly, Betsy obeys even though she knows it’s a trap. What expects her is her old enemy Slaymaster, also in an enhanced suit courtesy of the Vixen. The ruthless assassin quickly takes out the inexperienced heroine and blinds her. Brian Braddock, in the meantime, has given up his superhero career and has been leading an idle life with his lover Meggan in a lighthouse the purchased. Along the way, he also learned to access his powers without using his uniform. Suddenly, he experiences a psychic flash of Betsy’s pain. He flies to her and finds his maimed twin. In a berserker rage, he kills Slaymaster and returns Betsy to the manor where he wants to throw out the RCX agents. Betsy forbids him from doing so and reveals that Agent Gabriel, who is in love with her, even tried to stop her from taking this risk. Brian isn’t pleased but accepts her decision and returns to Meggan’s side. He finally accepts that he is Captain Britain and nobody else.

Full Summary: 

The first blow hits her in the face.


Betsy Braddock remembers her brother Captain Britain and Meggan flying away; her brother telling her she has made her choice. She is with the RCX now.


Another blow.


She remembers angrily telling agent Gabriel of the RCX that they got what they wanted. Brian’s gone and the RCX have taken over the manor, so why can’t they leave her to build a life on her own? As a fashion model, he mocks. How fulfilling.


The next blow fells her. Lying on the ground in a Captain Britain costume, Betsy’s memories jump into focus as faltering consciousness fails.


Betsy is still in angry discussion with agents Gabriel and Michael, silently watched by Captain UK and Jeeves aka Mastermind. She tells Gabriel to spare her his preaching and high moral virtue: That’s how he got her to join STRIKE’s Psi division. She won’t fall for it again. She doesn’t want to be Captain Britain!

Gabriel explains urgently that as a fringe group they are not very popular in certain influential circles. But their association with a national hero would ensure favour with the prime minister. Without the protection that would afford all they have done so far, including the safety of the Warpies, will be in jeopardy. They need Betsy! She shares the power!

Helplessly, Betsy turns to Captain UK. Can’t she do it? She did it on her own Earth. Apologetically, Linda replies that she never meant for her involvement to be more than short-term. She has her own life to get back to. But she could be a partner for a few months. Show Betsy the ropes. And with a bit of luck Brian may have come to his senses by then, Michael suggests, and Betsy finally relents.

Jeeves offers a Captain Britain uniform, explaining he adapted it to her own psi-rhythms. Linda immediately asks if he could alter her standard uniform as well. The hood pushes her beads into her skull… Betsy is horrified though. The uniform belonged to Kaptain Briton, the impostor who tried to rape her and whom she killed… So? Michael asks with a grin. He’s dead meat. She killed him. The suit’s spoils of war. She won it fair and square. He’s totally sick! Betsy snarls at him. Has anyone ever told him that? All the time, he gloats, but at least he’s not afraid of wearing dead men’s clothes!


Reality tries to assert itself with more painful blows.


Betsy wears her Captain Britain uniform (and Linda her improved one). Happily, she tries it out, feeling so powerful… and she can fly! And so the two Captains work together, foiling bank robberies and the like. The RCX are happy as the media love them. Finally though Captain UK packs her things, getting ready to leave. She can deal with anything now, she promises Betsy.


Consciousness fades again as violent reality fails to stem the raging tide of memories.

Soon a big case follows, as Gabriel and Michael tell her that the Vixen has called her out. High Noon, Michael announces. She kidnapped two RCX agents and a truckload of Warpies. Threatens to kill them if Captain Britain doesn’t turn up at the South Bank building site on the Thames. He should have expected this, Gabriel adds. It was the Vixen who hired Slaymaster to eliminate the PSI-division Betsy belonged to, so they couldn’t alert STRIKE to the infiltration that eventually led to the organization’s demise. The Vixen has an insane scheme to rule the country as a self-appointed monarch. They’ve apparently become important enough to be considered an obstacle…

She’ll be walking into a trap! Betsy exclaims. Yeah, Michael agrees, but if she doesn’t go, it’ll look like they can’t cope and hurt their credibility….

So Betsy flies off. Gabriel waves after her while Michaels fears this High Noon might turn out like the St. Valentine’s Day massacre…

Betsy lands at the abandoned building site and calls out the Vixen. Patience, someone advises her from the shadows. She should savour those last few seconds while she is still alive.

“No!” she mutters horrified, as she recognizes the villain, recalling how he killed her fellow telepaths and how she experienced death alongside them. Slaymaster, now wearing a black costume and a strange green helmet. Behind him sits the Vixen, nursing a glass of champagne, clearly planning to enjoy the show.

Slaymaster advises Betsy to be calm and her death will be swift and painless. Angrily, she shouts that she is not just a telepath now. She has real power and for once she is not afraid to use it! She’s going to enjoy it! She psychoblasts him. But Slaymaster gets up again. He commends her power, but explains he now also possesses an amplifier costume, created by the Vixen’s technicians to enhance his own unique abilities. Stop messing about and use it! Vixen orders.

Calling her a hag, Betsy threatens she’s next. Nobody calls the Vixen a hag! Vixen snarls and orders Slaymaster to rip her apart. He flies at Betsy and begins to beat her, informing her that now she will suffer and feel pain.


As the coup de grace, Slaymaster blinds her with his fingers.

Elsewhere, everything is beautiful. Brian and Meggan have purchased a lighthouse with their Inca gold and moved there. Brian is fishing when Meggan comes diving out of the water and splashes him. Laughing she flies away, betting the last one home will make lunch. Brian follows her up into the air (despite him not wearing his Captain Britain costume) and they kiss.

Later, on the tower’s balcony, Meggan remarks she is still not used to how well he can fly without his costume. And he’d never have known if he hadn’t put it in mothballs, he agrees, almost five months ago. He’s beginning to think that the uniform wasn’t so much an amplifier as a crutch that stopped him from developing his full abilities and… he veers off. Suddenly, he perceives Betsy’s pain, the moment she is blinded. He calls out his twin’s name. Betsy needs him, he tells Meggan and tells her to stay here as he flies off. But she wants to be with him, she states sadly, which he doesn’t hear anymore.

In London, Slaymaster is holding Betsy by the throat, asking where the original Captain Britain is. He has a debt to pay as he tricked Slaymaster when last they met. Vixen orders him to give it a rest. He doesn’t want to talk her to death. “C’mon duckie,” she tells Betsy to make it easy on herself. “Go’t hell, you hag!” Betsy mutters bravely. Slaymaster strikes her as Vixen angrily shouts at him to make her beg to die.

Suddenly, they hear a whistling noise and moments later Captain Britain arrives and hits Slaymaster with full strength. Turning around, he sees his sister and her ruined eyes. He hugs her, tears flowing down his face.

Getting up, Slaymaster remarks, the real Captain Britain at last, he recognizes the lumbering hulk… in truth it could be no other. Why has he done this? Cap demands. She was not a worthy foe, he is told. She deserved no better.

Animal! Cap shouts as he wildly flies towards Slaymaster. Slaymaster strikes him back, boasting how dare he face him without his amplifier costume. Just growling, Brian again hits him with all his strength.

The Vixen, in the meantime, realizes things are not going their way and evacuates. They have a lorry full of hostages to dispose of.

Brian has beaten his foe to the ground. He takes up a rock, about to smash his foe’s head in. He hesitates. With a self-assured grin, Slaymaster claims he hasn’t the strength to kill. And Brian brings the rock down on his head with all his strength.

A little later, Brian returns Betsy to Braddock Manor, calling the RCX agents gutless wonders. They sent Betsy out there to die while they hid here! They had no choice, Michael begins. Brian warns him not to dare try and justify that. Just get out or he’ll do something they’ll regret!

He hands Betsy to Jeeves, asking him to do what he can. Gabriel wants to help. Brian orders him not to touch her and reminds him to leave. Betsy pipes up, she wants him to stay. But he sent her out like a lamb to the slaughter, Brian points out. Betsy explains that she went because she wanted to shame Brian into returning and supporting them. Gabriel tried to talk her out of it.

Hearing that, Michael angrily accosts Gabriel for going behind his back and letting his silly little romance get in the way. She was expendable. They are all expen—Brian violently pushes him back and grabs Gabriel by the jacket. Betsy asks him not to, if he isn’t going to help, just leave. He will, he promises but tells Gabriel to remember this. He doesn’t like him. He doesn’t like the RCX or its freakshow so don’t give him any reason to come back or he’ll shut them down. Permanently.

Later, back at the lighthouse, Brian has put on his uniform again. Meggan asks him not leave her again. She wants to be with him always. Brain apologizes. The violence and emotions caught him off guard. He though he’d left them behind. He was wrong. He has to get involved again.

Do they have to leave? she pleads. It’s so beautiful here. No, but what happened to Betsy has taught him that he cannot hide from his responsibilities. He is Captain Britain…

Characters Involved: 

Captain Britain

Betsy Braddock/ Captain Britain II


Agents Gabriel and Michael (RCX)

Jeeves / Mastermind

The Vixen



in flashbacks:

Captain Britain

Betsy Braddock/ Captain Britain II


Captain UK

Agents Gabriel and Michael (RCX)

Jeeves / Mastermind II

Story Notes: 

The title was used as caption for New Mutants annual #2 which continues Betsy’s story.

The plot of the government forces against the RCX is eventually resolved in Excalibur (1st series) #61-65.

Slaymaster killed the remaining telepaths of STRIKE’s PSI division in Daredevils #3.

The “St. Valentine’s Day massacre” was the name given to the 1929 Chicago murder of seven mobsters by a rival gang.

Vixen obtained of the blueprints for Cap’s costume in Captain Britain (2nd series) #3.

Meggan salvaged some Inca gold last issue.

Cap tricking Slaymaster also refers to Captain Britain (second series) #3. Actually Slaymaster's just being a sore loser.

Issue Information: 

This Issue has been reprinted in:

Written By: