Captain Britain & MI13 Annual #1

Issue Date: 
August 2009
Story Title: 
<BR>The Harrowing of Hell (1st story) <BR>British Magic (2nd story)

1st story: Paul Cornell (writer), Mike Collins (penciler), Livesay (inker), Jay David Ramos (colorist), Greg Land and Justin Ponsor (cover), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer)

2nd story: Paul Cornell (writer), Adrian Alphonsa (artist), Christina Strain (colorist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer)

Daniel Ketchum (assistant editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher)

Brief Description: 

1st story:

Meggan is trapped in Hell… but finds she is not being tortured. She asks some demons to be brought to someone in charge. However the demonic council tricks her and leaves her stranded in a monstrous form. Full of rage, Meggan uses her empathic powers to enrage the lesser demons of Hell and start a rebellion. She also meets Pluto, a renegade Hell lord, who helps her stabilize once and for all, independently of outside judgment. As Meggan continues her battle, she begins to think of her love Captain Britain, inadvertently passing on her feeling of happiness to her army. Emboldened and grateful, they christen her Gloriana, a name which Meggan happily accepts. In the process, Meggan realizes her army doesn’t need her any more, so she leaves them orders to create their own land in hell. She calls the area Elysium, where they can live as a people, and tells them to also give Pluto his due in land. This done, she searches for the beacon of hope calling to her. Eventually, she finds a rift in hell but the one who helps her through it is not Captain Britain, but Dr. Doom!

2nd story:

On a summer day, the members of MI13 and some of their allies play Cricket on the grounds of Braddock Manor. Only Captain Britain’s heart isn’t with the game, as he keeps on thinking about his lost wife, Meggan, and how their relationship developed in spite of their differences. Finally, he realizes she would want him to live life fully and how much his teammates already mean to him.

Full Summary: 

Meggan recalls learning everything from TV.

1st story:


As a young child with blonde short hair and pointed ears, Meggan sits transfixed in front of the TV set. As she watches Coronation Street, she shifts to become a mousy house wife. The New Avengers starts and her form matches that of actress Joanna Lumley. Doctor Who starts and she becomes an alien. In the midst of this, her mother enters the room and shrieks at the sight of her daughter.


Meggan muses that she’s learned everything from telly, everything she was. Maybe that’s why she’s like this. Why her powers are like this. Because TV isn’t the real world. It’s an attempt to impose order on it. To impose civilization. When the truth is there’s only people.

A horrified Meggan finds herself surrounded by the flames of Hell. Shocked and frightened, she finds refuge on a bluff and sinks down exhausted. What’s that? one of a group of demons on the bluff asks.

Meggan apologizes. She’s been here for a few days, she thinks – and she needs to find someone in charge. More than them? the demons bluster. They are princes of Hell. So which throne or dominion does she belong to? That’s just it, she replies. Nobody said. And she was sort of thinking, sorry, but shouldn’t this be hurting?


Meggan’s mother and a small Meggan walk through a town’s market. Several of the townies make disparaging remarks about gypsies, calling them pikes and gyppos. Meggan senses the mood and shifts accordingly, first into a stereotypical old “gypsy witch,” then when people react disgusted into a monster.


The demons threaten to give Meggan hurting. That’s just it, she tries to explain. Nothing bad has happened to her here. Nobody seems to think she’s their responsibility and she can’t feel the Earth here… She can’t feel nature. So she can’t really know anything about this place, but… she can feel somewhere distant, someone or something is offering her hope. She begins to smile brightly. Would that be true if… if…?

Well, that is different, one of the demons admits. Potentially worrying. But everything here is for sale: if she wants to meet the lords of the splinter realms, the five-fingered hand, the cabal, what has she to bargain with?


When she was 17 she was arrested for being different. A werebeast Meggan was led into one of James Jaspers’ internment camps with other powered people. However, the concept of her having powers sounded ridiculous to her. She was taken away from her family.

Eventually, she was released again. But everyone forgot it had happened. Forgot her family. Forgot her. When Meggan tried to ask the authorities, they didn’t know anything about this prison she was talking about.

Later, she was sitting with other people in front of caravans watching TV: “the curse of the werewolf.” She felt the full moon. It was the firs non-judgmental force she ever felt. She was molded by what people expected from the moon and by the moon itself. It gives her… power.

And so, she began to transform. Influenced by the comments of the others who likened her to both a werewolf and a fairy (due to her pointed ears), she turned into the strange hybrid form she’d have when she eventually met Captain Britain. She flew towards the moon. She wanted to go there. To the moon. But she never did. She always found, as above, so below.


She finally finds herself passed up to the council - Dormammu, Mephisto, Hela, Satannish and Blackheart. She has the smell of Merlin and Roma on her, one of them announces. Merlin? How fares his son? Mephisto asks with a grin. He thinks everyone is his son, Hela points out.

Blackheart addresses Meggan directly. They say she has a question in return for information. This better be good. Meggan is surprised she hasn’t changed with all of their attention on her. Because they have no “opinions” concerning her nature, Dormammu replies. They know what she is. Hela points out it’s true. Meggan hasn’t been punished; what is her information?

It’s about one of their dukes, Plokta, Meggan explains. She’s heard they can’t find him. She knows why. She invites them to see it in her mind. He has allowed himself to be captured by the humans, used as their instrument, they learn. This is a worthy offering, Dormammu decides. She can ask her question.

Meggan stammers first, then asks if everyone… deserves to be here. It’s not like “everyone in jail is innocent.” She wasn’t… sentenced. But if she does deserve to be here, then she’ll… she’ll….

Interesting, Dormammu announces as he gets up to join her. Most who are here, in truth, sentence themselves or are delivered by the shape of human death. None of these apply to her. She is inbetween. Her power is empathy. Knowing her environment, being shaped by it. Well, Hell knows the answer to her questions. This environment, all the minds within it. Why doesn’t she show some spine for once in her life and ask it?


New reports of Meggan (still in her bat-winged form) appearing as Captain Britain’s sidekick and the public liking it, reckoning he’ll adopt her.

Later, Meggan changes into a beautiful young woman, and the tone of comments changes, some remarking she is hot while others find her a bit young for him. Too young for him, some say, and thus perhaps influencing Meggan’s behaviour. Every time they see her, she is doing something stupid. He’s a bloody pedo!


If that’s what decides it, then… Meggan gathers her courage. She has nothing to hide. She’ll reach out with her power, further than it’s ever gone. She’ll gladly be judged by everyone here.

She finds herself overwhelmed and she screams in pain as Hell’s Judgment traps her in a monstrous form.

He never said that was what decided it, Dormammu, remarks and calls her a fool. What did she imagine the opinion of Hell would be? Ahh, Meggan, always hoping for something nice. He thanks her for providing them with a good joke. Now she has found her Hell. He casts her to another part of Hell to suffer.

Before that, she might have submitted, stayed here, accepted punishment for imagined sins. Before he did that. But now she’d found something. Something she’d never trusted in herself before. But now she grabbed hold of it. Anger. Her anger had a focus. Her anger was infectious. Her anger spread. And so, an army of demons begins to follow her.

Some time later, in the Hell fortress of Pluto: He addresses the still monstrous Meggan, calling her wise to come to him. Her ragged army has made small gains in this part of Hell. A region already resistant to the wishes of the Lords. Since it is still his realm, the realm of Pluto. He would be part of their clique, he explains, had they not decided, his new earthbased strategy offended their sensibilities. But such tiny wars have always riven Hell. No doubt some day… Oh by Zeus! he exclaims. He snaps his fingers: Since she is no longer shaped by her environment, he tells her to choose a form for herself.

She chooses her form, like her real one, if somewhat darker. She has dark streaks in her hair and, instead of her superhero outfit, she now wears a more traditional gypsy like dress and hooded cloak. This form is stable, she realizes. She won’t change again. She thanks Pluto but also warns him to understand this. That’s the last time anyone judges her!

She never found a sword of her own. She took one after the other from the fallen. Followed by her army, they didn’t even have to fight much in those months (or that is how long it seemed). Meggan couldn’t control the demons’ minds but she could make them feel what she felt. In this case, anger, always anger. That was what brought them so many victories, for example over Blackheart.

What she couldn’t think about in battle was the hope that led her on. The hope of returning to Brian.


Meggan and Brian are enjoying a picnic outside the lighthouse. He always loved her, she recalls. For what she really was. He saw what she was, knew it, loved it, and so he helped her make it. He only let her down when she let him down. Because he’s just a man and so, with him, she was just a woman. She still loves him. She misses him every day. Only now, she understands that love, how hard won it was. How valuable it was. But they treated it offhandedly then, like children.


She was sure the hope she could feel always was a beacon from him. Lost in her memories of love, Meggan smiles.

One of the demons, her lieutenant, calls her, telling her she is making them happy. It is a feeling little known in Hell. Listen, they’ve named her. The demons chant Gloriana!

Meggan didn’t expect that. She was trying to take all of Hell. But this feels like a bigger victory. And she always wanted a super hero name. She never thought she… deserved one. “Gloriana.” She’ll let them call her that.

Later that night in her tent, she decides that they can lead themselves from here. They would always remember happiness and stood a chance of spreading it though Hell. A bigger chance, in fact as a people rather than an army. She leaves a letter with instructions that they create a land with a fixed border and tend to it. She names it Elysium, a sanctuary for souls to escape to. She orders that Pluto also be given his due in new territory. She leaves her sign on the letter, a crescent moon and then silently slips away. Heading to find her hope in Hell.

She follows the feeling across many different aspects of Hell, feeling it growing stronger. She remains herself though and, where she walks, she spreads peace. Until she finally finds a rift in Hell. Pure moon light comes from the other side. She reaches through it, calling Brian. Is that you?

Somebody grabs her hand to pull her through. I’m afraid not, Dr. Doom replies, it’s just a fellow gypsy offering you a way out. I gather you’ve always wanted to fly to the moon.

2nd story:

The members of MI13 and some coworkers and soldiers are on the grounds of Braddock Manor on a midsummer day for a game of Cricket. “So, definitely no powers? Captain Britain,” holding the bat, suspiciously asks Spitfire, who kneels behind him. She promises.

Blade (wearing a bowling shirt) tosses the ball and is told by referee Wisdom (in a strangely nerdy shirt as opposed to his usual suave suit look) that this is a no ball. Throwing down his bat, Blade asks why this was a no ball. Throwing, he is informed by Pete and the Black Knight adds that he has to keep a straight arm or it’s “just not cricket.”

There’ll be a bit of spin in this pitch, Faiza prophecies. So she’s into cricket? Alistaire Stuart asks. It’s her other fandom, she replies. She’s calling British occult intelligence and the S.A.S a “fandom?” Faiza tells him to shut up. They have to concentrate. Eric’s trying to bowl again, Al observes.

Brian’s mind wanders back to his wife Meggan. She always used to love the summer. Midsummer’s day most of all. He remembers one summer, long before they were married…


On a trip on a meadow, Meggan is dragging Brian to the car, announcing she wants to go to Stonehenge and Avebury and West Kennet and Silbury Hill… Brian holds her back. Just for once, choose!


That’s more like it, Jaqueline states hopefully as she catches the ball. He almost got an edge on that.


At Stonehenge. Meggan looks aside. What’s wrong? he asks her. He says “choose.” She really wants to. Only… there are so many influences on her…

Brian apologizes. He shouldn’t have said that. Thanks for putting up with him. Assuming… he means, she does have a choice about that, doesn’t she? Can they go somewhere else, she asks after a moment. They need to talk…


Lost in his memories, Brian is hit by the ball. He’s fine, he assure the others. Powers or not, he s pretty much invulnerable. Yeah, while he’s feeling confident, Dane points out. But he looks a little distracted. And he knows they are chasing a big total here. Thanks to Eric’s insane batting…

And he was just enjoying the sunshine, Brian replies. Is he the only one on this pitch who isn’t insanely competitive?

Damn right, Eric replies, then tells them to look. Their head scientist O is coming out with some weak lemon drinks for all of them.

While they are having a break, Faiza suggest to Jaqueline that, if Brian is distracted, they’ll get him out with spin. Elegantly fanning herself, Jac remarks she is obsessed. She’s right, Faiza retorts. But doesn’t he look kind of sad?


Still on their trip, Brian and Meggan are on a meadow in a warm summer night, looking up to the full moon. Okay, so how about he tries this, Brian begins, he really, really, wants her to make her own choices all the time. He wants to be with a woman who’s free.

And he means it, she agrees. But it’s not as easy as that. She’s influenced by everything, conscious and unconscious. Including that big moon up there.

She changes the subject, suggesting there isn’t anyone around for miles. He refuses. How does he know if she really wants it? Because he just said “no” and means it, she replies, and she still wants him anyway. Denying that she wants what she wants, that is treating her like a thing. She wants him to be free too to do what he will. They kiss, floating in the moonlight.


Brian barely manages to deflect the ball and Spitfire doesn’t manage to catch it. She could have got that, Blade points out. No powers means no powers, she reminds him. She knows what she’s doing. She once had Gubby Allen with her googlies. And he… he begins before realizing he has no idea what she just said.

Dane asks Brian is he’s thinking about a woman? Is it that obvious? Brian asks. To someone who’s known him as long as he has, Dane replies. And Brian is like a swan… Calm on the surface, working like Hell underneath, Dane clarifies. Plus… he mates for life. Really, Swan should be Brian’s codename. He assures Brian he has done all he can to find her. Let himself relax and play the game.


The Excalibur lighthouse. Surrounded by their teammates, Brian and Meggan are playing a computer game. And die die die die die! Meggan shouts as she wins. Okay, he admits, she wins again. Bad luck, Nightcrawler tells him.

Meggan asks Kurt to play with her. Brian always just plays the big strong ordinary characters. And he doesn’t mind losing. Well, hardly life and death, is it? Brian replies. Weird mutant attack, hah! Meggan exclaims as she begins the round with Kurt.

Brian recalls that she always rather identified with Kurt. They’d had similar experiences. Only he was always the proud outsider and Brian was default, square-jawed hero from default square-jawed country… Is that where she is now? With someone? Being a different person for them? Even that would be all right. If he knew she was… she was…


Brian again misses and the ball hits his knee. LBW! LBW! Spitfire shouts. Come on, that was clear as day! Faiza adds. And the umpire’s final decision? They look at Pete who apologetically states he was texting Sophie Ellis Bextor. But he saw it of the corner of his eye and he’s pretty sure it wasn’t out.

Brian apologizes, telling the other team he’ll be out if they want. But they refuse. Colton’s up next.


Servant monks inform Captain Britain and Meggan that they are now rulers of every universe and dimension. There, told you, a pleased Brian tells Meggan. They are in charge of everything? she asks in disbelief. What does that even mean? Where do they start? Normally for her, it’s the other way round.

That was one reason he said yes, Brian explains. To show her that if she reaches out and tries and does some good… it doesn’t always have to fall apart. As to where they start… shall they see if they can get a pot of tea? Meggan hugs him.


She’d want him to keep going, he muses. She’d want him to put his heart into everything. Be open to everything. Always. Like she was.

Blade throws and Brian this time hits the ball. Faiza’s turn. Brian thinks that he knows people who’d say he should let Faiza win. Give the new girl confidence, give the Captain Britain fan a story she can tell when she’s as old as Jac… Those are the same people who never understood Meggan and him.

Faiza throws and Brian hits the ball. Hard. She thinks it went into the forest, Faiza remarks critically. Just her luck he’s stopped thinking. About Meggan, she means. She’ll get him next time.

Heh, Faiza, Brian begins. What? she asks. He doesn’t tell her. She “gets” him now. They all do. But it’d be a bit much to say that out loud. And again the unreliable umpire is asked to say that was out…

Characters Involved: 

1st story:

Meggan / Gloriana


Meggan’s demon army

Dr Doom

Demons who find Meggan

Bleackheart, Dormammu, Hela, Mephisto, Satannish

in Meggan’s memories:

Meggan at various stages of her life

Captain Britain

Nightcrawler, Phoenix III, Shadowcat (all Excalibur)

Meggan’s mother


Other prisoners of Jaspers and displaced persons


2nd story:

Black Knight, Blade, Captain Britain, Faiza Hussain, Spitfire, Pete Wisdom (all MI13)

Alistaire Stuart

O (MI13’s scientist)

Captain Colton and other SAS members

in Captain Britain’s memories:

Captain Britain


Nightcrawler, Phoenix III, Shadowcat (all Excalibur)

Otherworld monks

Story Notes: 

1st story:

The story confirms that Meggan’s maiden name is Puceanu, as already mentioned in issue #7.

Joanna Lumley is a British actress who played the part of Purdey in the spy show The New Avengers.

Doctor Who is, of course, a famous British family science fiction show and something of a British institution. Paul Cornell himself has written several novels and episodes for the franchise

Coronation Street is a long-running British soap opera.

Meggan was left in Hell with Captain Britain and MI13 none the wiser at the end of issue #9.

Meggan’s story continues in Captain Britain & MI13 #14-15.

Doom’s reasons for helping Meggan are, of course, connected with Dracula (issues #10 &14).

Some parts of Meggan’s history or her power don’t sit quite right with past depictions:

Small Meggan seems to look normal here, but it was established that Meggan shapeshifted shortly after birth, growing fur [Captain Britain (2nd series) #8] and didn’t know she could adopt a normal form, much less choose her form, until Captain Britain (2nd series) #8 at the age of approximately 18.

Hence before that point, adult Meggan shouldn’t be able to shift at will either.

Actually, Meggan’s problem of not knowing who she is also seemed to be solved as of Excalibur (1st series) #45-46 when a mysterious being called the Neuri showed her her true abilities.

The Jaspers Warp story took place in the following UK comics:

Marvel Superheroes #387-388

The Daredevils #1-11

Mighty World of Marvel #7-13 (all summarized on this site)

The character of Merlin in Arthurian tradition is often believed to be the son of the devil and Mephisto is the closest Marvel has to the classical devil. Hence Mephisto’s remark. But given Hela’s remark, that conclusion is still open

Plokta was the main villain in the Hell comes to Birmingham arc [Captain Britain & MI13 #5-10] and also plays a surprising role in issue #4 which is alluded to here.

The story is told in flashback by Meggan to Doom as becomes clear at the end.

2nd story:

The 2nd story is set between issues # 9 and #10.

O’s preference for “weak lemon drinks” seems to be an homage to British comedy show Fist of Fun.

Sir George Oswald Browning "Gubby" Allen, CBE (31 July 1902 – 29 November 1989) was a cricketer who played for Middlesex, Cambridge University, MCC and England.

A Googly in Cricket is a type of delivery bowled by a right-arm leg spin bowler.

LBW: “Leg before Wicket” - is one of the ways in which a batsman can be dismissed. Jaqueline really is fighting dirty here.

Sophie Ellis Bextor is a British singer and songwriter.

The flashback with Brian and Meggan being rulers of Otherworld occurs after Excalibur (2nd series) #4.

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