Daredevils #5

Issue Date: 
May 1983
Story Title: 
Executive Action

first story
Alan Moore (writer) Alan Davis (art), Steve Craddock (letters), Bernie Jaye (editor)

Brief Description: 

The Special Executive, an alien crew of mercenaries, are hired to bring in Captain Britain. The leader, Wardog, and three other members infiltrate Braddock Manor, carefully taking out any risk until they meet Captain Britain himself. As a fight begins, Wardog tries another tack, telling Cap that they are hired by a friend of his, who needs help. Cap is willing to talk until he learns that said friend is Saturnyne. Enraged, he begins to attack until another member of the Executive, Fascination, takes him out. The aching mercs then carry him to their ship.

Full Summary: 

A strange place, a motley crew of alien beings. Their canine leader, Wardog, addresses them, showing them files of their new target, Captain Britain, his friends and his home. Wardog begins to explain the plan. They’ve been observing the target’s home base, Braddock Manor, for weeks now. They know its defences and those defences are very good, but naturally they are better.

Four of them, he, Cobweb, Fascination and Zeitgeist teleport down at night and face the first line of defences – the hologram field projected by the computer system housed in the caverns of Braddock Manor. The computer projects an image of bombed-out ruins. Fortunately they have, according to Wardog, the loveliest telepath in the galaxy among their number. The psychic, Cobweb forms a picture of the manor by scanning the mental images of the people inside it and then relays the image to the others telepathically. If it doesn’t work, Wardog jokes, they’ll have to find themselves a new telepath.

Work it does, and the next phase begins. Zeitgeist enters the door as any visitor would –through the front door. The difference is that Zeitgeist doesn’t need to open the door. Since Zeitgeist doesn’t exist in anything more than the most abstract sense, while in this state the computer doesn’t detect him.

However, they are aware of the psychics currently living in Braddock Manor. One of them, Tom Lennox, a powerful telekinetic and telepath, is a insomniac who is in the kitchen at the time, as anticipated by Cobweb. Zeitgeist is mean to take him out. Standing with his back to the wall as he pours himself a glass of milk, Tom suddenly finds that someone is tapping him on the shoulder. Tom turns around to see an arm coming from out the wall. The hand beckons him and a disbelievingly Tom looks at it. Behind him, Zeitgeist’s other arm comes up and smashes Tom’s head into the wall.

With Tom unconscious, Zeitgeist phases down into the computer cavern. Zeitgeist quickly renders the computer inoperable, allowing the others to enter the mansion undetected by all, save one. Tom’s removal has awakened Betsy, who shares a psychic rapport with her lover. Betsy hurries towards the kitchen, only to find Cobweb standing there. Instinctively, Betsy tries to telepathically scan the other woman, which proves to be a grave mistake. Cobweb is in constant psychic contact with a number of past and future versions of herself, forming the time-spanning web from which she derives her name. Her mind can handle it, Betsy’s cannot. For her own sanity, her mind shuts itself off.

Cobweb and Zeitgeist check on the other inhabitants of the mansion: Betsy’s friend Alison Double and the charwoman, Emma Collins. Both are deeply asleep and no trouble. That leaves them to move towards their target, Captain Britain. They are aware of the fact that Cap’s powers are derived from his costume and that he won’t wear it at night, something they intend to make use of.

They enter Brian’s bedroom and, as Cobweb predicted, he angrily cries, “who the hell are you?” to which Wardog replies that he may consider himself a prisoner of the Special Executive. Of course, from that point on all bets are off…

He has said the wrong thing, hasn’t he? Wardog ventures, as the naked Brian seemingly lunges toward him, but at the last moment jumps over them and grabs his costume. He runs outside the door and disappears in the darkness. Wardog orders the others outside to go find him and suggests Cobweb put a mental tracer on him. However, a fist hits Cobweb, taking her out. And here he thought, he was a gentleman, Wardog moans. Perhaps this calls for a change of tactics.

Wardog calls into the darkness, apologizing for his earlier brusqueness. He explains that they do not wish him harm; in fact they are seeking his aid. They are a mercenary body employed by whoever can afford them. In this instance, it is an old friend of the Captain, who needs his help. Their employer is currently incarcerated, accused of a crime she did not commit. Only the Captain’s testimony can save her.

Finally dressed, Captain Britain steps into the light and asks why the hell they didn’t say that in the first place. Wardog explains that their employer felt he might be less than willing to speak the truth on her behalf. Hence the drastic measure. He accompanies Cap back inside his bedroom, while the other exclaims that this is ridiculous. He can’t think of any circumstances in which he wouldn’t be prepared to speak the truth in the cause of justice… especially if it concerns an old friend. What did he say her name was? Saturnyne, comes the reply.

A moment later, Wardog is punched out of the room. Cap follows him, furiously shouting Saturnyne? Saturnyne who left him to die on that alternate world? Saturnyne, who as good as killed Jackdaw? They want him to testify on behalf of Saturnyne? He angrily grabs Wardog by the lapels. Maybe he needs some time to think it over?

Wardog suggests and the next moment orders Fascination to hit the patriotic pug before he rips his other arm off. The golden-skinned woman named Fascination smiles, as she touches Captain Britain’s head. Time distorts around him, motion break down into stroboscopic images. Seconds stretch into centuries, aeons condense into instants. The result, to put it mildly, is fascinating. Cap sinks down unconscious and Fascination picks him up. Wardog orders the others to get up.

As they walk towards their ship, he asks how Cobweb’s head is. Still singing, she moans. Why does he always find them such lousy jobs? Shouldn’t kidnapping be a bit beneath them? She has to regard these things philosophically, he tries to comfort her. She knows what they say: Another day, another, Drasskoobelnik. Wardog, she replies. Drop dead.

Characters Involved: 

Captain Britain / Brian Braddock

Elisabeth ‘Betsy’ Braddock

Alison Double, Tom Lennox, formerly of S.T.R.I.K.E.’s PSI-division

Cobweb, Fascination, Wardog, Zeitgeist and other members of the Special Executive

Story Notes: 

This story was published by Marvel UK.

Apart from the Captain Britain story, this issue includes Daredevil (1st series) #164 and the story “Star Death” from Dr. Who Monthly #47 (which first introduced WarDog).

second story

Wardog first appeared in Dr. Who Monthly #47. The Special Executive as a team first appeared in issue #51.

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