Captain Britain (2nd series) #2

Issue Date: 
February 1985
Story Title: 
Law & Disorder

first story
Jamie Delano & Alan Davis (co-creators), Steve Craddock (letters), Chris Gill (editor)

Brief Description: 

The Crazy Gang find themselves incapable of running proper crime capers and so decide to run an ad looking for a leader. A “criminal genius” dressed as a caterpillar applies and soon has them running a successful crime spree. Captain Britain accidentally learned about them from the newspaper ad and flies to confront the Crazy Gang. Taken prisoner by them, he learns that their new leader is his old enemy Slaymaster. Elsewhere, two gentlemen from the newly formed R.C.X. inform Thomas that he is to stay out of matters regarding superbeings, as that is their job. In another reality, the armored men who attacked Captain Britain without much success are told by their displeased leader Sat-yr-9 that this contract now goes to Gatecrasher’s Technet.

Full Summary: 

It is a rainy night as the Crazy Gang walk through a seedy London area. Why do they have to walk home? the Knave complains. The taxi-driver wanted paper-Pounds to bring them this way, the Jester explains. They didn’t have any. They could have got some out of the safe, the Knave points out, only the Jester couldn’t open it. What good is it being criminals, if they don’t know how to do crimes?

A gang of toughs have noticed the eccentric looking group. One of them threatens them with his knife and demands money. What strange rude creatures they are amongst, the Jester muses. This place is a puzzlement. He does not understand. The Knave explains that they are making a mistake if they are robbing them. They have nothing and anyway, they are criminals too. What’s this then? one of the toughs demands and reaches for the Queen of Hearts’ crown. Not amused, she orders orf wiv its head!

The Executioner almost slices that attacker’s head off. The Knave pounds two of them while the Jester nimbly kicks and Twedeldope simply bites. Together they make short work of the gang and quickly head off until the reach their abandoned tenement.

And they wouldn’t have to live in a place this dismal if they could do proper crime, the Knave continues his rant. It’s only a matter of learning he ropes the Jester replies. They are bound to make mistakes at first. The Knave insists they need someone clever to show them what to do. Annoyed, the Jester orders him to shut up. He jumps out the window on a tree. He needs some time to think, he announces.

Actually, he spies through an old couple’s window, watching the TV set as they watch a crimeshow as apparently they do regularly. The Jester watches and the picturebox gives him ideas. It had shown him the way to rob the safe, but something had gone wrong. He would watch more closely this time… Later, he figured it was easy. The picturebox has shown him exactly how to do it.

So, the Crazy Gang rams a van transporting money with a car (in this case the Knave tosses a car at the van), then make the guards open the back, where they would find the sacks of paper-pounds. It was easy as long as everyone played by the rules.

However, instead of doing so, the unimpressed drivers tell them to get lost. But they have to open it, the Jester insists. They’re robbing them. It’s… it’s the rules.

In the meantime, Tweedledope sets fire to the gasoline trail coming from the car and very soon the money burns up. It was all wrong. It wasn’t like the picture box at all.

Elsewhere, Chief Inspector Dai Thomas is visited by two smartly dressed men, telling him they’re from the RCX. And what’s the RCX then that it can stop him pursuing criminals to the full extent of the law, Thomas demands.

The taller one, Agent Gabriel, offers their credentials and assures him that Agent Michael and he have complete authority in all matters concerning the activities of superbeings. The Resources Control Executive has assumed the function of the somewhat heavy handed agency STRIKE. Agent Michael adds that they re part of a team of specialists, ghost guerillas so to speak. They have been trained to fight those menaces. Gabriel adds that they have learned a great deal since the days of STRIKE. The world is much more fluid now, they have subtler methods. But they must function in isolation, Michael stresses. There must be no interference from Thomas’s Inspector’s men.

In the hideout, while the Executioner guard the Queen’s sleep and Tweedledope plays with his rats, the Knave and the Jester are arguing again. They need the one with the moustache who brought them here, the Knave insists. Where did he bring them from then? he Jester asks. From where they were, the Knave replies helplessly. It was better there. The one with the moustache knew all the things to do. And not like the Jester. He is useless! He’s dead though, isn’t he? the Jester replies triumphantly. He brought them here and died. Nothing makes sense here. Why did he bring them here?

He was a leader. That’s why, the Knave snarls, spoiling for a fight. A leader, the Jester realizes. That’s what they’re called. They need a leader. But where are they going to get one? the Knave asks. Both of them are lost in thought while Tweedledope busies himself constructing a rat carriage.

Finally, the Jester exclaims that he’s got it. He shows the Knave a newspaper: it says there that they can advertise and reach a potential readership of many thousands. What’s advertise? the Knave asks.

A little later, the Jester is calling the advertising section of a newspaper. Yes, they have got it right, he assures the other person on the phone. Yes… end it with contact the Crazy Gang. And then the address… no, it’s not a joke… what is a joke?

And so a few days later at Braddock Manor, an amused Betsy regales her brother with absurd personal ads over breakfast. For example, come back, Peter, all is forgiven, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail. The mind boggles, doesn’t it, she asks amused, before finding an even weirder one: Keen criminals require clever leader. Contact the Crazy Gang. And then a London address. Brian demands to see that. His brow furrows. Surely it couldn’t be them, he tries to convince himself. They would have collapsed along with Jaspers, but if it isn’t them, someone has a peculiarly warped sense of humor.

Many diverse people read the Times and so a mystery man checks out the Crazy Gang’s not so secret HQ, exclaiming that it is them. He tosses a brick through the window right at the Queen of Heart’s head. Orf wiv its ‘ead! Orf wiv its head! she predictably shouts in a huff. The Jester reads the note attached to the brick. I am a leader of extreme genius. I will send a car for you.

And so a little later, a somewhat confused driver takes the five criminals to the address. See, it worked, the Jester announces in excitement. They’re going to have an extreme genius for a leader. They’ll be alright now. They’re criminals, he kindly informs the driver. They’re going to meet their leader. Well, he really doesn’t want to know that, the man replies unimpressed and leaves.

They ring the doorbell and announce that they have come to see the extreme genius. They are told to enter. Inside they find a man dressed in a caterpillar suit, sitting on a giant mushroom and smoking a waterpipe. He orders them to be seated and be silent. If they obey his instructions precisely, he shall give them success in crime. They will, they promise. Then they shall have, as the English say, quite a little spree, he promises.

Another place altogether. A throne room where a woman looking like a sharper version of Saturnyne, dressed in a uniform talks to the mystery men in orange armor that attacked Captain Britain twice. Again they bring her news of failure she states, what is their pathetic excuse this time? Calling her Mastrex, they ask forgiveness, They – the Blitzers – had him down tight, but then the purple haired female psycho-charged them and they fell back through.

She orders them to stop whining. Their weakness sickens her. They can serve in the Antarctic strife one. Please try not to see it as a punishment, but the kontract has gone to the only katchers worthy of the name: Gatecrasher’s Technet.

At Braddock manor, Brian listens to the news while changing into his uniform. Today’s raid on the National Gallery, the fourth in this week’s spate of highly organized robbings, netted paintings described by experts as priceless… A slow strong anger turned within him… and grew.

Police are said to be baffled by the supercrimes, the news continues. These have included a haul of Egyptian gold from the British Museum and several hundred thousands pounds from the Royal Mint. One eyewitness claimed that the gang was disguised as storybook characters.

It had to be the Crazy Gang. This anarchy had their stamp. He flies into the air, wondering how dare they corrupt his world with their madness? Why had they not dissolved with all the other foul creations of the Jaspers Warp?

At their hideout the Caterpillar asks if they are happy with this week’s haul. Such treasures, eh? Such riches. Yes, it’s a marvel, the Knave replies. It is good to have a leader who is like them and also an extreme genius. The Caterpillar smiles.

Outside, Captain Britain lands, his anger following him down to the street. It is the address from the advertisement, the only lead he has.

Suddenly, the Caterpillar orders them to be silent. One of them is missing. Where is the small disgusting one? He expressly forbade any of them to leave without his permission. The Knave apologizes; Twedledope went to play with his rats.

Cap swings open the door to find Tweedledope and his pets. He grabs him by the collar and orders him to take him to the rest of his criminal cronies. He kicks in the wall. Sooner than he expected, the Caterpillar observes, but expected nonetheless. Captain Britain will of course consider himself his prisoner. He is hopelessly outnumbered.

Don’t be ridiculous, Cap scoffs, unable to actually finish his sentence, as Tweedledope suddenly brutally bites his fist. With that, the Crazy Gang is on him, stomping and hitting him mercilessly and eventually he is overwhelmed and captured. Smirking, the Caterpillar orders them not to damage their friend. They have much to talk about. He is no friend to criminals, the captured hero shouts and neither is he in the habit of talking to caterpillars.

In that case, perhaps it is time to perform a small metamorphosis, comes the reply, and the Caterpillar takes off his mask to reveal Slaymaster.

You’re free! Cap chokes. As a bird, Captain. As a bird. Whereas you, I’m afraid, are not.

Characters Involved: 

Captain Britain

Betsy Braddock

Executioner, Jester, Knave, Queen of Hearts, Tweedledope (all Crazy Gang)

Emma Collins

Chief Inspector Dai Thomas

Agents Gabriel and Michael (agents of the R.C.X.)


Her Blitzers

Story Notes: 

1st story:

Peter, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail a names from Beatrix Potter’s famous series of children’s book The Tales of Peter Rabbit.

The Crazy Gang was (re)created by Mad Jim Jaspers at the height of the Jaspers Warp.

He Caterpillar is a character from “Alice in Wonderland,” thus fitting in with the rest of the Crazy Gang.

First appearance of Opul Lun Sat-Yr-9 (Not to be mixed up with Saturnyne).

There are four other stories in this issue:

2nd story: Doctor Who: Massacre on Mazam

3rd story: Nightraven: Blind Justice

4th story: Paragon of Painthorpe Street – episode 2

5th story: Freefall Warriors: A Cat out of Hell

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