Marvel Super-Heroes (2nd series) #380

Issue Date: 
December 1981
Story Title: 
In Support of Darwin

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Dave Thorpe (writer) Alan Davis (art), Jenny O’Connor (letters)

Brief Description: 

Captain Britain makes the acquaintance of Algernon, a mysteriously intelligent rat who seems to have involved through drinking the same fluid that animated the junkheap monster. They are joined by a still drunk Jackdaw, who informs Captain Britain that Merlyn wasn’t there. The are observed by a man called Dimples, who in turn tells his boss, Saturnyne, about the intruder. Saturnyne is busy with preparations for something called the Push and orders her Avant Guard to take care of the problem. The Avant Guard attack, banishing Cap and Jackdaw to another dimension, but Jackdaw’s dimension-hopping powers quickly allow them to return. The Avant Guard use another weapon, which first causes Algernon to devolve into a normal rat and then Captain Britain to turn into a monkey-like primate.

Full Summary: 

‘But – but…’ is all that Captain Britain can stutter. The situation is absurd. He crouches in a part of a sewers pipe that is made up like a cozy little room. And in a rocking chair sits a large anthropormorphized rat, dressed like a quintessential English gentleman. The rat tells him to come in. He doesn’t stand on ceremony. With a flourish, the rat introduces himself and stops, lost in thought for a moment. What did he decide to call himself today? Ah yes, Algernon.

Carefully shaking Algernon’s paw, Captain Britain introduces himself as well and asks whether Algernon isn’t a rat. Nonplussed, Algernon asks if he is serious. Rodents, after all, are altogether inferior in intelligence and… though he has to say it himself - he points at the room, which includes a bed, a tea table and a piano - taste in dress and interior design.

Taking a cracked mug, he pours some hot sweet-smelling fluid into it from a teapot (showing impeccable breeding as he stretches the pinky of the hand somewhat away while pouring) and offers it to Brian who asks what this is. How on Earth should he know, Algernon asks as he lights his pipe. But is surely does one a power of good. Cap smells at the brew – sweet and potent and decides to give it a miss He realizes this is the same liquid the junkheap monster was heading for. Where does it come from? he asks. Algernon doesn’t know. He just enjoys the concoction.

Not too far away a small, rotund man in an overall watches the scene and calling out ‘your Whyness’ addresses a stunning platinum-blonde woman, who is just in conference with several gentlemen. Dimples informs her that there is an intruder in the eastern pink sector. Well, he knows what to do, doesn’t he? the woman states. Dimples agrees. He shall summon the Avant Guard.

The woman turns back to her guests, who are sitting at a round table displaying the letters ”Dimensional Development Court.” She explains that they are finally ready. That night, the entire population of the UK will receive the Push.

Elsewhere, Algernon informs Cap that he has lived there the past six months. Before that, things are rather hazy.

Elsewhere, Dimples addresses a group of identical-looking men, dressed in pinstriped suits, bowler hats and equipped with black umbrellas. Dimples explains that the intruder is with the evolved rat her Whyness sentimentally allows to live. They mustn’t allow him to jeopardize the Push!

At Algernon’s place, Cap makes excuses, intending to leave when suddenly Jackdaw teleports in, sporting a new look, in Bermuda shorts, a smiley shirt, sneakers, sunglasses and equipped with a surfboard, not to mention traces of lipstick in his face.

Did he locate Merlyn, an agitated Captain Britain asks. Jackdaw hiccups and Cap gets angry. He is still drunk! And where did he get that outfit? He hasn’t been after the mage at all, has he? Sure he has, Jackdaw informs him earnestly. He wasn’t in. Cap doesn’t believe him and Jackdaw reminds him that, as an elf of the order of Chronos, he is sworn never to lie.

His attention wanders to Algernon and, in his inebriated state, Jackdaw mistakes him for Seamus, an old friend from the days of the Green Knight’s campaign. He tries to hug the rat, who uncomfortably asks, ‘I beg your pardon?’ Brian grabs Jackdaw by the throat and apologizes to Algernon, who mentions that he hears others coming.

Suddenly, the Avant Guard burst in, ordering them to stay still so that they may be banished with a minimum of injury to themselves. As they wave their umbrellas at them, Cap figures they are weapons though he has little to fear with his forcefield.

He blusters that his plans don’t include getting banished. Beams emit from the umbrellas, passing harmlessly though Cap’s forcefield. Reality tears apart and Jackdaw and Captain Britain find that those weapons have sprung them to another dimension.

Jackdaw concentrates and uses his dimension teleporting skills to get them back. Literally emerging through a tear in reality, Cap attacks the men from behind. The Avant Guard pile up him. Having had to fight nonstop since he arrived, Captain Britain has had enough. He extends his forcefield and shakes the men off. He is tired of fighting.

One of the Avant Guard gives the order to use the devolvo ray. Cap evades it and it hits Algernon instead, who turns back into a proper rat, causing Jackdaw to exclaim, ‘Seamus! What’s happened?? Diverted by Algernon’s fate, Cap himself is hit and slowly turns into a primate.

Characters Involved: 

Captain Britain


Algernon, the evolved rat

Luna Opal Saturnyne (still unnamed)

Dimples (one of Saturnyne’s employees)

The Avant Guard

Members of Dimensional Development Court

Story Notes: 

This story was published by Marvel UK.

Apart from the Captain Britain story this issue includes reprints of Avengers (1st series) #44 & 185.

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This marks the first appearance of Luna Opal Saturnyne.

Issue Information: 
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