Union Jack (2nd series) #1

Issue Date: 
November 2006
Story Title: 
Enemies of the Crown

Christos N. Cage (writer), Mike Perkins (pencils), Andrew Hennessy (inks), Laura Villari (colors), Andy Schmidt (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Joey Chapman finishes his day at work, and leaves that night to continue his job as the super hero Union Jack... the protector of the common man! After successfully destroying the last remaining vampires in London, Joey is contacted by his old mates at the MI5 organization. There, he gets reluctantly welcomed by Phil Gavin, who needs Joey’s help. London is under attacked by several super-powered terrorists. Gavin has also rounded up a team of “super heroes on loan,” which consists of Sabra, Countessa Valeria and the new Arabian Knight. Gavin has managed to gather up some information about the terrorists from his prisoner, Fasaud, so they at least know who they are dealing with. One of the terrorists is Zaran, and Union Jack decides to go find Zaran’s long-time associate, Batroc, for more information. They locate Batroc at a hotel, where they learn he isn’t involved in the attacks. Batroc manages to escape from the heroes but leaves his cellphone behind, so they can contact Zaran. Sabra contacts Zaran, pretending she’s a prostitute Batroc suggested that Zaran would like. Zaran doesn’t buy it and hangs up, but luckily the conversation was long enough for MI5 to find out the target location: the Houses of Parliament! The heroes travel there and, along the way, a heavy discussion between Sabra and the Arabian Knight occurs. Ten minutes later, a heavy battle between Zaran and Machete is taking place on the doorstep of the Parliament. During the battle, both Joey and the Knight are wounded, but luckily not badly. The villains are defeated, but there are still many more left. Union Jack later informs the citizens of London about the attacks, much to the dislike of his boss, Gavin. When Joey returns to MI5, he realizes his mistake: a panic has risen up, and people trying to flee the city are now under heavy attack by the villains!

Full Summary: 

London, England...

Joey Chapman is done painting a street lamp. His colleague Sully also wraps up and congratulates on a fine day’s work and asks if he fancies a pint. Joey’s glad his art degree is useful for something. He fancies a pint more than going to his night job, but is afraid he doesn’t have much choice in that. However, he tells Sully to knock back a few for him. Joey’s colleague wishes the others would value hard work the same way Joey does.

A while later...

Joey is back at his apartment and puts on his super hero uniform. He knows he’s working with some good people. Sully reminds Joey of his dad, as he was always preaching the value of honest work as well. Joey recalls such a day, when he was just a little kid walking through London city with his dad.

The past...

His dad admitted he would surely love it if they should struck it rich, but he knows there’s no shame in a man making a living off the sweat of his brow. He wanted Joey to always remember that people like that may run the world, but it’s people like them who make it run.

The present...

Joey used to think his dad was being defeatist; accepting his lot. But later Joey realized his dad was saying he’d love and respect him no matter what he became.

Later that night...

Union Jack crashes through a window and fires his gun, wondering what his dad would think of him now. While fighting some vampires, Joey reminisces that as long as there has been a Union Jack – going back to World War One now – that his family has been fighting this sorts of bloodsuckers. After these three vampires, Union Jack will have rid London of them all. And he’s glad to have done it. Jack sticks a silver blade through the vampires’ chests and two of them turn into dust.

Joey is glad his job is now finished, as it means there will be no more spending half his pay on silver bullets. The final vampire grabs Union Jack by his throat, and pushes him back outside on the roof. Joey recalls that with all the things that have changed in his life lately, like ending his relationship with Jackie and leaving the Invaders, these vampire creatures remind him of days he’d as soon put it behind him. Still and all, Joey supposes a man’s got to take what life sends his way... and make the best of it.

A helicopter appears behind the combatants, and its spotlight highlights both Union Jack and the vampire. Jack tries to get up, but the vampire holds him even tighter now. The helicopter flies closer to the vampire, and the propellers of the helicopter slice off the vampire’s head! Jack gets back up on his feet and shoots a silver bullet in the remains of the vampire, destroying it completely. He looks up to the helicopter, hoping the people inside were looking for him and not the vampire. The man inside the helicopter confirms Jack’s first thought, and mentions MI5 would like to have a word with him.

Dawn, at the Thames House, aka the MI5 headquarters...

Union Jack gets led into the building and is welcomed by Phil Gavin, who’s glad Jack could make it, despite the differences they had in the past. Joey states those differences are the reason he came: if Gavin’s swallowing his pride and calling him in, the situation can’t be good. Gavin calls the situation near catastrophic.

Followed by other MI5 employees, Gavin and Jack walk through the reception halls of the building. Gavin asks Jack if he remembers RAID, which stands for Radically Advanced Ideas in Destruction. Jack does, as those thugs are a splinter group of A.I.M. RAID are young turks out to prove themselves, all too happy to shed blood along with it. Gavin further explains that for years, Hydra was the world’s foremost terrorist organization... until they ran afoul on Wolverine. Now, after Wolverine sliced his way through Hydra, they are no longer foremost.

Gavin says that terrorism, like nature, abhors a vacuum. RAID wishes to claim Hydra’s former position. Jack believes that would call for a power display. Gavin confirms that, as they learned, multiple strikes have been planned by RAID in London. Today, in less than eight hours. Union Jack is of course glad to help, but doesn’t know how he’ll deal with those multiple strikes all by himself. Gavin promises Union Jack he won’t be alone. They go stand on a tile with the logo of the Thames House. The tile transforms into a round circle, which descends Joey and Gavin to a secret floor below them.

Union Jack and Gavin enter a communications room. Gavin explains to Jack that several of London’s allies have assigned agents to assist MI5. It’s their extreme good fortune that SHIELD’s former deputy director, the Contessa Allegra Valentina de la Fontaina, now serves as its UK liaison. Valentina and Joey shake hands, with Valentina adding that Gavin just gave a very polite version of saying she was packed off to the hinterlands the moment Nick Fury went underground. Jack heard about this. He’s aware that Valentina and everyone else close to Fury underwent the same treatment. Jack is sorry for that, but says it’s good to be working with her again.

Gavin introduces Jack to Sabra, who’s on loan from Israel. Jack shakes hands with Sabra as well, recalling that they’ve met before, though Ruth was wearing a different costume at the time. Sabra reveals she outfits herself to the needs of the mission, and notices that Jack acts the same way. Joey jokes that with him that he mostly wears what’s clean. Gavin concludes that the Saudis have sent their new Arabian Knight to help out. Valentina cuts in, admitting to Gavin that she and Sabra have been meaning to talk to him about this new Knight. She tells the Knight, with all due respect, that sending a Saudi to fight terrorists seems a bit like assigning Hugh Hefner to chaperone someone’s daughter... especially a brand new operative they know nothing about.

The Arabian Knight proudly defends he came here at the request of his government to help its friends, and not to have his own country’s integrity questioned. Valentina angrily shouts there are no questions; just facts. She tells the Knight his rulers publicly denounce terrorism while funneling money to its bloodiest practitioners. The Arabian Knight doesn’t understand how Valentina dares say that. Holding his sword angry in front of him, the Knight says he personally led strikes against the extremists, and also lost good men doing so. He will not be slandered by the likes of Valentina!

Union Jack breaks the two up, realizing they don’t have time for this. He knows RAID isn’t affiliated with any country, race or religion, which means they’ll take anyone on board who volunteers. To stop RAID from killing his countrymen; Union Jack will do the same! “Right,” an unimpressed Gavin adds. He suggests that if everyone’s done pounding their chests, he has something the heroes need to see. He shows them a huge green door, and asks everyone if they all know what a faraday cage is. Valentina does. It’s a chamber that can’t be penetrated by electromagnetic transmissions. Gavin compliments Valentina on the right answer. The room they are in now is such a faraday cage, as is the smaller chamber behind him. MI5’s prisoner is inside it.

Gavin introduces the gang to Farouk Al-Fasaud, whose body is composed of electromagnetic energy. Farouk successfully infiltrated MI5’s computer network. Last night, one of MI5’s operatives detected and captured him. Farouk adds that a telepath caught him. It was his thoughts that gave him away, as mere technology could never have found him. Gavin adds that Farouk can compromise most security systems and has done so for multiple RAID operatives entering London over the past few weeks. Fortunately for London, Farouk is a reasonable man. With him now being in a faraday cage, Farouk prefers cooperation to finding out if a localized electromagnetic pulse would kill him. Gavin tells Farouk to educate the team.

Farouk waves with his hand, and a blue energy wave coming from it activates a television screen in his cell, showing an image of the Fantastic Four. Farouk reveals that RAID wishes to demonstrate its power to the international community through coordinated strikes on a major western city. The US was seen as too risky, due to its large number of superhumans. By tampering with security systems, Farouk enabled people and weapons to enter Britain undetected. He believes the weaponry included at least one WMD. RAID told him only what he needed to know. Farouk states he cannot reveal AIM’s safe houses, nor where they intend to strike. But he can tell the heroes several enhanced individuals will lead the attacks.

Farouk shows everyone images of their upcoming foes: Shockwave, Firebrand, Ecstacy, Boomerang, Zaran, Machete, Crossfire and his death-throws, Jack O’Lantern, Jackhammer... and the Corruptor will be there. Farouk can also inform the heroes when RAID and their forces will strike: 4 P.M. today. Union Jack and the others all quietly stare at Farouk.

Later, at Gavin’s office...

While taking off his facial mask, Joey says to everyone, with no disrespect meant to his present company, that with that many forces and with that many foes to find they should call in the Avengers or the Fantastic Four, and the like. Gavin shamefully admits they’ve tried that. But it seems they’re all off on one of their secret infinity wars or whatever it is they do. Everyone MI5 can reach is too far away to get there in time. Britain’s own enhanced operatives, from Captain Britain to Micromax, are on assignment or otherwise unavailable. Quite frankly, Union Jack and his current companions are all Britain has.

Joey stares out of a window and sees the Big Ben. Turning back to his associates, Joey thinks it’s time to get to work. He wants to discuss the evacuation of the city. However, Gavin doesn’t want to hear about it and wants this to be a secret operation. Joey can’t believe his ears when he hears that! They can’t just leave people to die! Gavin defends they won’t be doing that. Instead, he’s assigning Joey to save them all. If they go public with this, they’ll create panic... and tip off RAID as well. RAID would strike earlier than they had originally planned to do. This way, they’ll at least have a few hours to find its members and stop them. Joey calls that a hell of a gamble.

Gavin reminds Joey he’s there at his command. If he can’t follow orders, Union Jack will be placed in custody until the crisis has passed. But Joey has to make his choice bloody quickly, because they’re running out of time while he stands here arguing. Joey realizes that’s true, and tells Phil not to get his knickers in a twist. As the heroes walk down the hangar of the building, Sabra states that Joey gave in rather easily. Joey defends he knows Gavin: it’s a waste of time trying to persuade him. He learned that a man has to pick and choose his battles. Speaking of which, he recalls that Zaran and Machete usually associate themselves with Batroc the Leaper. Valentina confirms this, but Batroc wasn’t on Farouk’s list. But, Valentina suddenly recalls from reading SHIELD’s files, Batroc has turned against his partners before, to stop them from carrying out WMD attacks.

Joey and his partners step into a flying car and activate it. As Joey steers the car out of the building, Arabian Knight believes there may be honor among mercenaries after all. Joey is hoping there won’t be too much honor, and asks Val to see if SHIELD knows where Batroc’s keeping himself these days.

Later, at a fancy hotel downtown...

Georges Batroc, in a nice suit, is trying to persuade a female receptionist into making love to him. He says he knows she thinks he’s being forward, or insincere. Yet he can assure her he speaks from his heart. Blushing, the receptionist is hesitant to admit she has work to do, as they are having a sudden flood of early checkouts. Batroc smiles that such things are unimportant when the city of light beckons. And London can get so unpleasant at times.

On that very moment, Union Jack and the others arrive at the hotel. Val takes charge of leading all of the guests safely outside, telling them this is government business. Jack tells Batroc he needs to start traveling under a different alias than under the name “Monsieur Lapin.” Batroc politely tells everyone that he would love to stay and chat with them (especially with the lovely Sabra), but he has a plane to catch. Sabra thinks it’s only natural for the rat to desert the sinking ship. George is wounded by that statement, and claims he has simply finished his business in London.

Arabian Knight points his sword to Batroc’s throat, and Joey wagers that the business Batroc talks about was trying to talk Machete and Zaran out of a bit of unpleasantness. The Arabian Knight demands to know where the two villains are... now! Joey reminds Batroc that his partners are going to kill women and children, for God’s sake... he knows Batroc can’t allow that. He’s not that kind of a man. Hesitant, Batroc claims he knows nothing of the larger scheme. He knows only that Machete and Zaran are involved. And that they refuse to listen to reason. Joey wants to know where they are. Batroc doubts about spilling it out, but then he suddenly kicks Union Jack into his face, refusing to be a traitor.

The Knight tries to slice Batroc’s throat, but he jumps high up before the Knight can make his move. The Knight calls Batroc a fool. As Val opens fire on the villain, Batroc confirms he truly is a fool, for turning his back on such lovely ladies like Sabra and Valentina. But he must be off. Batroc jumps and bounces his way out of the hotel, telling everyone to feel free to call. Valentina shouts at the Arabian Knight to follow Batroc on his flying carpet or something. The Knight reveals he can’t do that, because his predecessor’s carpet has been... re-purposed.

Sabra reminds everyone she can fly and tells them to step aside. Union Jack stops her, not seeing the point in trying to follow Batroc. He heard the “feel free to call” remark and discovered that Batroc left his cellphone on the desk of the hotel. When Valentina doesn’t understand the use of it, Joey shows Val the screen of the cellphone, which has Zaran’s number on it!

Later, back at the MI5 headquarters...

Sabra has been voted to be the one calling Zaran. She dislikes the idea and doesn’t see why Val can’t call the crook instead. Val reminds Ruth she has worked with Zaran when he was with the MI6 and they can’t take the chance Zaran would recognize her voice. She’s certain Ruth will do fine, as long as she sounds sexy. Sabra calls Zaran up, and it works! She fakes she’s a woman named Irina, and that she calls on behalf of Batroc, who thought Zaran would like her company as much as he liked it.

While Ruth continues talking, Val asks Joey if his breakup with Jackie Falsworth was amicable. Joey is shocked to discover SHIELD has a file on his love life. Val claims she only asks because Spitfire’s speed would have been a great help to them. Joey couldn’t agree more on that but, unfortunately, Spitfire is away on a vacation to a Greek island somewhere. And, Joey continues, Val can add it in her file that his breakup was pretty amicable. He finally realizes he and Jackie come from different worlds. She has estates, servants and titles... and he doesn’t. But talking about old friends, Joey asks Val how Nick is doing. Val, a bit uncomfortable answering the question, doesn’t know. She explains that between the taps on her phone, the men SHIELD has watching her around the clock, and the fact that speaking to Nick would be treason, the two of them haven’t spent much time together.

Joey asks the Arabian Knight how he happened to be in the area. The Knight reveals that his real name is Navid Hasim. Navid explains he was security for a peace summit, just like Sabra was for the Israelis. Sabra interrupts, mentioning that Zaran hung up, and she thinks he got suspicious. One of the men behind the computers thinks they should at least be able to triangulate the general area. Val jokes it’s no wonder Sabra failed at her task, as she sounded as inviting as dental surgery. Sabra angrily defends that her country doesn’t train its women to become whores. She’s more accustomed to the role of soldier.

The Arabian Knight thinks that perhaps Sabra should embrace the sacred role of wife and mother, as God intends. Sabra is shocked to hear that statement and furiously grabs Navid by his throat! Sabra tries to fight the Knight and shouts at him that the “sacred role” he just mentioned was taken from her when Palestinians ambushed a buss full of Israeli schoolchildren... and her son was among the victims. She swears if they didn’t need the Knight, she would kill him. Union Jack mocks quietly in the corner of the room this is great: his troops will kill each other before they ever run into a terrorist. A man behind the computer is surprised when they’ve actually found a location. The terrorists are not further than 500 meters from the Houses of Parliament!

At the doorstep of the Houses of Parliament, 10 minutes later...

Union Jack, Sabra, Val and the Arabian Knight are already in full battle with the villains. Machete throws a car at them, pleased to finally have some fun. While one of the regular soldiers blows the car up in mid-air using his canon, Navid faces Machete. Machete doesn’t think it’s fair that the Knight only gets to use one blade, while he himself uses two swords. Navid sarcastically smiles it’s certainly not fair... for Machete’s sake. The two swordsmen bravely fight each other, and the Knight destroys one of Machete’s swords. Machete becomes angry and throws his other sword into the Knight’s chest! Sabra sees this and is shocked, and fires a blast from her hand, which knocks Machete out.

Zaran has two of his goons open fire on Union Jack and Val, who hide together behind a wall. Joey has had enough of this and asks Val if she can take the two gunmen. Val can, but realizes that will give Zaran a free shot. Joey tells her to let him worry about Zaran. They jump into the battle, and Val shoots the two goons down. Unfortunately, Zaran manages to stick one of his sais into Union Jack’s chest! Zaran grins that his sai has pierced through Union Jack’s armor, as he can feel it touching flesh.

Joey grabs Zaran by his throat, wanting to see how far Zaran can stick his sai into him before he crushes his windpipe. Zaran is fine with facing strength against strength. Union Jack sees it differently... it’s a man fighting for money... versus a man fighting for his country! Joey tightens his grip, almost causing Zaran to fall out of air to breath. He falls down on the ground and agrees to give up.

Val meets up with Joey, apologizing for not helping out but she had her hands full. Joey pulls the sai out of his chest, and is fine. Sabra tends to the fallen Knight, but is amazed to discover he is barely scratched! Navid admits that’s because of his predecessor’s magic carpet. He controlled it mentally, and now Navid does the same. He had it unraveled thread by thread and made into this uniform. It hardens to resist any blow. He tries to apologize for the comment he made earlier, not knowing about Sabra’s son. But Sabra doesn’t want to hear about it, coldly saying they’re allies for just this moment. Another day, she would have driven the dagger home.

Union Jack tries to make Zaran talk, reminding him that he was part of MI6 and knows they have ways of making him do just that. Zaran agrees with that, adding that is the same reason why no cell knows anything about the others. Joey demands to know what Zaran’s job was. Zaran reveals it was to attack the Houses of Parliament and to assassinate as many as they could. But it seems the Houses had been alerted. They’ve been evacuating the politicians. Which would leave Zaran and his friends with their plan B: massive civilian casualties.

A while later, Val has interrogated Zaran’s gunmen, but they know nothing. Union Jack already thought so. He realizes they’re now down to four hours. They need to split up, spread out, cover the city. If anyone should find anything, they need to report it back in. Sabra believes she knows an expression about a situation like this: it’s about a needle in a haystack. Arabian Knight believes they’ve got no choice. Looking at the many helicopters crossing the skies above, Union Jack agrees with Navid’s statement.

Sabra flies Union Jack to the grounds below, where television reporters are already trying to gather some information about what just happened. Joey speaks to all of London citizens to avoid public areas and government buildings. The people need to take shelter in their basements or another secure location. He promises he and his friends are working to prevent the attacks, but they must be prepared for any eventuality. A reporter asks Union Jack if he has any fear that revealing this information will create a panic. Joey knows it’s a risk, but concludes that people deserve to know about this.

At the MI5 headquarters...

Gavin is anything but pleased to have heard Union Jack say this on television. Joey enters the room and tells Gavin he should have informed the people himself about this, and not just the rich and powerful. Joey can understand evacuating parliament, but every guest in that posh hotel was heading for high ground. It’s happening all over the city. He won’t stand by while aristocrats jump ship, leaving the rest of the world to their fate.

Phil goads that Joey sure is the champion of the downtrodden! He shouts at Joey he has no idea what he has just done. The moment the interview will hit the airwaves, half of London scrambled to evacuate... by plane, automobile and even by foot! A good many of the people did! Joey is glad that at least they’ll have a chance now. Gavin shouts at Joey he hasn’t given the people a chance... he has killed them! Gavin opens a video screen, and asks Union Jack if he is the protector of the common man. He wonders how Union Jack is going to save the “common man” from a half destroyed city!

Joey stares in disbelieve at the screen, where all of the innocent people trying to flee are under attack. Some of them have survived, but others aren’t so lucky... and the reports are aired on TV all over the world...

Characters Involved: 

Union Jack III (Joey Chapman)


Countessa Allegra Valentina de la Fontaine

Arabian Knight II

Phil Gavin

Farouk Al-Fasaud

Batroc, Boomerang, Corruptor Crossfire, Ecstacy, Jackhammer, Jack O’Lantern, Firebrand, Machete, Shockwave, Zaran (all villains)

Sully and other colleagues at Joey’s day job

Hotel receptionist and hotel guests (all unnamed)

Various vampires (all unnamed)

Various RAID members (all unnamed)

In several flashback:

Joey Chapman (as a young boy)

Joey’s father (unnamed)


various Hydra agents (all unnamed)

as images on videoscreens:

Human Torch II, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, the Thing (all Fantastic Four)

Boomerang, Corruptor Crossfire, Ecstacy, Jackhammer, Jack O’Lantern, Firebrand, Machete, Shockwave, Zaran (all villains)

Story Notes: 

The last Union Jack series had Joey Chapman dealing with a group of vampires, along with the aid of Romany Wisdom, the sister of Excalibur member Pete Wisdom. This second miniseries is part of the Civil War storyline.

Joey has been a lifelong member of the World War II team of super heroes known as The Invaders. There, he shared a relationship with his teammate Jacqueline Falsworth aka Spitfire.

The logo Gavin and Union Jack stand on in the MI5 headquarters building and which descends to the underground base where Sabra and the other heroes are, is known in real life as the “Regnum Defende” logo or translated “Defend the realm.”

The differences between Union Jack and Gavin are detailed in Captain America (5th series) #19. For more information about Wolverine’s recent affairs with Hydra, read Wolverine (3rd series) #20-32. Nick Fury went underground after the conclusions in Secret War #1-5.

The Arabian Knight is the same one who first appeared recently in Black Panther (4th series) #15. This issue reveals his true name. Countessa Valeria first appeared in Strange Tales #156 and has a longstanding relationship with Nick Fury. Sabra is a longtime X-Men ally and for a time even was part of their X-Corporation Branch, and first appeared in Incredible Hulk (2nd series) #250.

Farouk Al-Fasaud is an old villain that first appeared in Fantastic Four (1st series) #308. Georges Batroc is a main foe to Captain America who debuted in Tales of Suspense #75. Boomerang’s real name is Fred Meyers and often fights the Hulk. He first appeared in Tales to Astonish #81. The Corruptor is Jackson Day, a main adversary to Nova. He first appeared in Nova (1st series) #4. Crossfire’s real name is William Cross and fights the Avengers a lot, having first appeared in Marvel Two-In-One #52. P>

Ecstacy is also known as Renee Deladier and first appeared in Dr. Strange #74. Jackhammer’s real identity is unknown at this point, but first appeared in Daredevil (1st series) #123. Jack O’Lantern is a villain identity owned by several evil individuals, but first appeared in Machine Man #19 though he is nowadays associated with Spider-Man. Firebrand is also an identity owned by two people, and the one seen here is Richard Dennison who first appeared in Iron Man (3rd series) #4.

Machete first appeared in Captain America (1st series) #302 and his real name is Ferdinand Lopez. Shockwave’s real name is Lancaster Sneed and is most often seen fighting Shang-Chi. His debut was in Master of Kung-Fu #42. Finally but not least, Maximillian Zaran is also an old Shang-Chi opponent, who was first seen in Master of Kung-Fu #77.

Captain Britain is currently a member of Excalibur and away on a mission, as seen in New Excalibur #11. Micromax is currently in the USA, assisting the O*N*E* organisation, as seen in the Civil War: X-Men miniseries.

The Faraday cage is named after its inventor, Michael Faraday, who created the first such device in 1836. Aside uses by spy agencies against espionage, one modern use of a Faraday cage is in commercial airplanes, where the passengers would be unaffected by a lightening strike.

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