Marvel Super-Heroes (2nd series) #386

Issue Date: 
May 1982
Story Title: 
If the Push Should Fail…

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

Brief Description: 

The friends and neighbors of the boy Captain Britain saved intend to teach the gang that hurt Jeff a lesson. Cap’s appeals fall on deaf ears. He tries to win over the Avant Guard to help prevent the bloodshed, but in vain. However, a very alive Jackdaw turns up again with an idea. A little later, Captain Britain tries to keep the two fighting parties apart, until Jackdaw joins them with tea, brewed with the life-enhancing fluid. He telepathically influences the people to drink it and the aggression leaves them. Captain Britain and Jackdaw return to Saturnyne’s headquarters to learn that the Push was successful. They celebrate, unaware of the fact that elsewhere Mad Jim Jaspers unleashes his incredible powers. Suddenly, in horror, they find that reality is breaking down.

Full Summary: 

All over Britain, members of the Avant Guard, pretending to be businessmen, put the life-enhancing fluid into the drinking water, preparing for the Push. At their headquarters, Dimples informs Saturnyne that all is going to schedule.

Elsewhere, Captain Britain has just saved a young man from a mob, only to learn that this may have caused more trouble. Jeff tells his mother and his neighbours that Cap saved him and Sharon from that mob. Another man angrily states that it’s time to put a stop to that Block 45 gang for good. They’ve been terrorizing this area too long. They have to show them who is boss.

Cap points out that they are just helping the violence to continue. What’s it to him? The man snarls. Are they supposed to turn the other cheek? Clutching a chain, he tells the others to go and they follow.

Cap watches them leave. What right has he as an outsider to interfere, he wonders. And yet, he can’t stand idly by when there is a non-violent solution.

A little later, he rejoins the Avant Guards he arrived with, explaining he needs help to stop a street fight. The men are not enthusiastic about the idea. They risk revealing their presence, one of them points out. Besides, the Push will eliminate that kind of behavior anyway. But it won’t be effective for a few hours yet, Cap protests. In the meantime, people could get killed!

He will help, a voice pipes up. A very much alive Jackdaw, now dressed in a superhero outfit, with his broken arm in a sling, explains that he is not in his top form, but he will do his best. Trying to hide his happiness, Cap jokes here he though he was going to get some peace and quiet at last.

Jackdaw explains that he teleported out of the way in time to miss the explosion. He does not mention that he was in Otherworld, as Merlyn asked him not to. The elf explains that he has a plan to stop the fight and whispers it into Cap’s ears. After that, he teleports away, while Cap promises to do his best to hold the groups apart.

Elsewhere, the streetfight begins, but suddenly Cap’s forcefield, in the shape of two large hands, keeps the two groups apart. Cap appears standing in the air, looking positively messianic, as he is being illuminated by the streetlight. Sternly, he announces that there will be no more violence and that, henceforth, they will solve their differences lawfully.

While some are suitably impressed, others scoff that it is just a political con trick. Hamming it up, Cap orders them to obey or suffer the consequences of their evil ways. One guy shouts at him to leave them alone and another now hits him because of that. Cap’s forcefield can’t keep them all apart. Desperately, he wonders where Jackdaw is.

As if on cue, Jackdaw turns up with a container of fluid and teacups, cheerfully asking if anyone’s up for tea. A thrown rock flings the cup from his hand. That’s no way to treat the charlady, let alone an elf from another dimension, Cap remarks.

Jackdaw concentrates and uses his mental powers harder than ever before, achieving amazing results. The people line up to get some tea, tea that has been prepared with water containing the life-enhancing fluid. A little later, the fluid shows its effect and former enemies start chatting peacefully about the weather. Cap and the exhausted elf leave to rejoin the Avant Guard.

Two hours later in the secret London base of the Dimensional Development Court, a pleased Saturnyne congratulates them all. The Push has been 95 % successful throughout the UK. There is a fusillade of champagne corks and voices raised in celebration as Dimples shares a drink with Jackdaw and Saturnyne with Captain Britain. She toasts to the new age of rationality that is to come.

Not far away, a crooked man smiles a crooked smile. His name is Mad Jim Jaspers and his mind is an amusement park alive with nightmares. Everyone has forgotten about Mad Jim Jaspers… and that was a mistake of terrible consequence. Clutching a teddy bear, he lets them savor their triumph a moment longer and then his mind opens like a floodgate. The insanity ripples outwards across the city, across the nation, a tidal wave of writhing lunacy. It engulfs everything and all that it engulfs becomes… crooked.

At the secret base, the laughter suddenly grows cold, as Dimples shouts at the others to look at the view screen. The see the laws of physics, cause and effect, breaking apart. Suddenly, the new age of rationality seems very far away…

Characters Involved: 

Captain Britain

Avant Guards

Gang members from Sharon’s neighborhood
Jeff’s mother and neighbors

Mad Jim Jaspers

Story Notes: 

This story was published by Marvel UK.
Apart from the Captain Britain story, this issue includes a reprint of Avengers (1st series) #191, an untitled Nightraven text story by Alan Moore and Floron Florenzo, plus "An Ugly Mirror on Weirdworld" by Doug Moench and Mike Ploog, plus "Beauty's Vengeance" by Doug Moench and Sanho Kim.

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Jackdaw seemingly perished in issue #382, though issue #384 showed he was alive and recuperating on Otherworld.

Dave Thope left over differences about this storyline, which was meant to be about the Northern Ireland conflict. As the political aspect of this story was written out, what is left is a gang war that doesn’t make too much sense.

Mad Jim Jaspers was introduced as a seemingly harmless gimmick villain in #377. He was the first foe Captain Britain ran into on this world.

The last page of this story (the successful Push being turned into a nightmare by Jaspers) was already written by incoming writer Alan Moore to set up his own storyline starting next issue.

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