Daredevils #3

Issue Date: 
March 1983
Story Title: 
Thicker than Water

first story
Alan Moore (writer) Alan Davis (art), Jenny O’Connor (letters), Bernie Jaye (editor)

Brief Description: 

Brian is phoned by his sister, Elisabeth, who informs him that her life is in danger. The twins meet in a London restaurant and marvel at the change in each other: Brain is much taller and stronger, whereas Betsy is now a purple-haired telepath. Betsy explains how she developed psychic powers and joined S.T.R.I.K.E.’s PSI-division. But recently S.T.R.I.K.E. was slowly being infiltrated by the Vixen’s people and to keep that a secret the Vixen has sent an assassin after the PSI-division. That moment the assassin strikes again and Betsy senses it. Cap flies her to the comic shop, where now only two of her friends are left. When Captain Britain confronts the assassin, the killer begins to laugh and reveals himself as Cap’s old enemy, Slaymaster.

Full Summary: 

A man dressed in black with nondescript, rubbery features enters a theatre, where Dr Destiny – Master of the Mind - is giving a show, which has already started. The newcomer enters and doesn’t set down, while a blindfolded Dr. Destiny astonishes the audience with his ability to tell them what they are thinking of. The newcomer speaks up, asking what he has in his pocket. Dr. Destiny smiles and concentrates. A moment later, his features distort in panic: Oh God … Oh God, no! The stranger takes a gun out of his pocket and kills the telepath in cold blood. By the time the lights are up he is gone.

In Braddock Manor a phone is ringing. A phone that shouldn’t be ringing at all. Nobody knows that Brian Braddock is there. Nevertheless, he finally takes the receiver and carefully speaks, surprised that the person at the other end knows it is him. However, he is even more astonished when the person calls him ‘Captain Britain’. He automatically denies this until he is finally told that the caller is his sister Betsy. Sitting down in surprise, he asks Betsy how she is.

Speaking from a London phonebooth, Betsy, a fashionably dressed young woman with hair dyed purple, curtly announces that she is alive for the moment. She explains she’ll tell him later how she knew where he was. But she has to see him straight away. She is in trouble. Somebody is trying to kill her. She asks to meet him in London and impatiently waves aside his suggestion to meet at the Ritz. She needs something inconspicuous and suggests a fastfood place in Oxford Street. When can he be there? She is surprised when he explains that he’ll fly, until she understands he is speaking about his powers. He promises to be there in an hour. Betsy breaks the connection and prays he will hurry.

Another petite woman called Vicky addresses her, informing her that Alison went into shock. She suddenly screamed Kevin’s name and then she sort of blanked out. Does Elisabeth think Kevin is dead? They turn to the rest of the group: a man with a receding hairline and another woman taking care of a pale young girl. She supposes he is, Betsy announces. She told him not to take that mind-reading act. She knew what would happen. She always knows what will happen and she s always right. Now only the five of them are left.

As Captain Britain, Brian flies toward London, thinking of his sister and how scared she sounded on the phone and how did she know he was at the manor or that the manor was still standing? He lands in a back alley and puts on his everyday clothes he brought in a satchel.

He enters the fast food place, looking around while Betsy is getting nervous over his being late. They look at each other, uncomprehending for a moment: Brian recalls his blonde sister with the practical haircut, Betsy recalls a smaller, skinnier man. Finally, the penny does drop and the twins rush to hug each other. Your hair! It’s purple!! is the first thing Brian blurts out, while Betsy marvels at how big he has grown.

A little later at the table, Betsy asks why he keeps on staring at her. It’s the hair, he admits. Do people really have purple hair these days? They have all sorts of hair nowadays, she shoots back and she is a fashion model. She knows he’s never really kept up with current trends, but he must have seen purple hair before unless he’s been on another planet or something. Brian smirks.

Betsy continues the conversation by explaining that she is a telepath and a precog. That’s how she knew he was at home. She’s been working for S.T.R.I.K.E.’s PSI-division on top of being a fashion model. That’s why she is in trouble. Brian finds it all hard to take in and asks if she is using drugs or something.

Betsy sighs, wishing it was that easy. Does he remember how she used to have odd flashes of psychic powers? Glimpses into the future and that sort of thing? Brian remembers her having some sort of premonition when he fought Lord Hawk. Over the years, that power grew stronger and one day she was contacted by another telepath who worked for S.T.R.I.K.E. They were setting up a PSI-division like the one that S.H.I.E.L.D. has in the States and they wanted Betsy to join.

Finding out how her mind worked was interesting but then something went wrong. Not with her or the PSI-division, but with S.T.R.I.K.E. It was being gradually infiltrated by a rival organization. A criminal espionage network headed by someone called the Vixen. Brian recalls fighting the Vixen’s henchmen a few yeas back but never actually meeting the Vixen himself. Betsy explains that the Vixen managed to get his people into all the top positions at S.T.R.I.K.E. and nobody knew about it. Nobody but the PSI-divison. They knew by virtue of their powers so they had to be eliminated. They went into hiding, underground, until they could work out what to do. There were ten of them originally. There’s five now. The Vixen hired some sort of assassin to hunt them down. He is doing a good job…

While Betsy is talking, the man with the rubbery face enters the comic shop where the other telepaths are waiting for Betsy. He walks up to Vicky and, just as she notices something is wrong, he raises a thin knife and jabs it into her skull.

In the fast food restaurant, Betsy screams as she senses her friend’s death. Brian gently shakes her to awake her from her shock. Crying, she explains that the others are waiting in a comic shop nearby. He has found them and he is killing them. Brian sits her down, then goes looking for a washroom to change.

One of the waiters tells Betsy that her crying is upsetting the other customers. He has to ask her to leave. Betsy screams again as another of her friends dies. The waiter threatens to call the police when Brian emerges from the washroom as Captain Britain and shoves him aside. Gathering up Betsy, he flies outside and follows her directions.

In the comic shop, of the telepaths only Tom Lennox and Alison Double are left. The killer turns to Tom, remarking that he is the telekinetic. But he needs time to concentrate to use his powers, doesn’t he? Another needle-like knife lies in the killers palm. Time he does not have.

Two of the shop assistants watch the ongoings, wishing to help, but not knowing what to do. They sell comics about superheroes, but they aren’t superheroes themselves. That’s true, but he is, Captain Britain announces, as he and Betsy enters the shop. Blustering, he tells the killer to leave that man alone. He is Captain Britain and the other man is in trouble.

The other man seems surprised, as Cap announces his identity. He muses aloud that his costume and build are wrong… but then… the voice, the simple-minded arrogance… He is Captain Britain, isn’t he? Surely the Prophet smiles upon him. This is priceless.

Captain Britain grows impatient, shouting that when he is finished with the killer even his mother will be hard-pressed to raise a smile… unless… wait a minute… he isn’t…

Oh, but he is, the killer assures him. He tosses aside his black jacket to reveal a golden form-fitting suit with all kinds of weapons and he tears off the rubbery mask to reveal the sharp features of Slaymaster. It’s been a long time, Captain.

Characters Involved: 

Captain Britain / Brian Braddock

Elisabeth ‘Betsy’ Braddock

Alison Double, Tom Lennox, Kevin, Vicky and other unnamed psychic formerly of S.T.R.I.K.E.’s PSI-division


Shop assistants at “Forbidden Planet”

Fastfood restaurant waiter

Story Notes: 

This story was published by Marvel UK.

Apart from the Captain Britain story this issue includes Daredevil #161 (1st series) and the first half of Amazing Spider-Man (1st series) #53.

second story

‘Forbidden Planet” is a chain of comicbook shops. At the time of this story, the London branch was actually located in Denmark Street just like in the story.

To say that Betsy displayed psychic powers in the past is rather generous. She had something that could be interpreted as a prophetic dream in Captain Britain (1st series) #34.

S.T.R.I.K.E. is a kind of British counterpart to S.H.I.E.L.D.

The Vixen is a crimelord, whose henchmen Cap fought before. The Vixen herself has never been shown… so far.

Cap fought Slaymaster before in Super Spider-Man & Captain Britain #242-247. Slaymaster seemingly was torn apart by sharks at the end.

Issue Information: 
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