Union Jack (2nd series) #4

Issue Date: 
February 2007
Story Title: 
London Falling: part 4

Christos N. Cage (writer), Mike Perkins (pencils), Andrew Hennessy (inks), Laura Villari (colors), Cory Petit (letters), Rich Ginter (production), Daniel Ketchum (assistant editor), Andy Schmidt (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Union Jack, Sabra, Val and the Arabian Knight have reached the wild Dreadnought robot, who’s destroying Trafalgar Square. The robot quickly defeats Sabra and the Knight, taking out Joey’s two most powerful team members at the same time. Joey and Val team up trying to tear open Dreadnought’s adamantium body armour. When Sabra recovers, she succeeds at the job, but the robot then knocks her out again. Joey and Val try to find a solution, and obtain the help of some construction workers, who slam a crane onto the Dreadnought’s head. Joey finds a flagpole and sticks it into the robot’s weak spot, which causes the robot to explode. The victory is later reported and cheered over the television networks, and Joey returns to the MI5 headquarters to get the necessary stitches. He is relieved by Micromax, who has just returned from a wild goose chase with Excalibur. Joey leaves to say goodbye to his allies, who return to their homes. Gavin also thanks Joey for all his help, and Joey returns to his home to get some sleep. The next day, on TV, he hears that Gavin has just been promoted as the new Director General of MI5. Joey realizes what Gavin has been up to: he used this attack to further his political ambitions, despite the fact that two hundred innocent people died. Joey confronts Gavin with his theories, and also exposes Gavin to the press. This has been Union Jack’s most defining moment in his career and he concludes that, from this moment on, he’ll answer to nobody but to the people who need him.

Full Summary: 

Trafalgar Square, England…

The Dreadnought robot fires a missile from his hand which rips through Union Jack’s flying car, tearing it apart. As Sabra flies out of the vehicle, she tells Joey to land it, while she’ll deal with the robot. Joey warns Sabra to wait as they need to work like a team, but it’s too late: the Dreadnought hits her with a blast, which freezes Sabra! Seeing this, Val explains to Union Jack Dreadnought hit Sabra with liquid nitrogen. Union Jack asks Val if laser torches are still SHIELD standard issue, which she confirms. Union Jack orders Val to melt Sabra an airway, thinking that if for as long as she can breathe, Ruth will be okay. He and the Arabian Knight then go off to deal with the robot.

As they run towards the huge machine, Union Jack mentions to the Knight that Gavin said the Dreadnought’s shell is adamantium alloy, meaning conventional weapons can’t pierce its hide. They’ve got exactly one unconventional weapon, and wonders if the Knight’s sword can do the job. The Knight explains that his swords has magical properties and he has yet to encounter a substance it can’t penetrate. Union Jack distracts the robot who fires more blasts on him, and the Knight sneaks up to it so he can stick his sword into the Dreadnought. He succeeds, but the robot quickly punches the Knight and his sword out of his hands, before it can do too much damage.

The Knight lands before Val and Joey asks how he’s doing. Val thinks the Knight’s just stunned, but since he was already recovering from a concussion, she thinks he’s out of the fight. Sabra manages to break herself free from the ice, and proudly proclaims that she’s back in. She immediately flies into action and Union Jack explains to her that they need to get at the innards of the armour. Sabra understands. She mocks that the “Saudi” unlocked the door, and now it’s her duty to keep it open. She flies towards Dreadnought and rips part of his armour open, using her super-strength. But the Dreadnought releases some gas from his glove, knocking Sabra out again, and then punches her far away!

Val panics, but Union Jack is certain that, if anyone can survive such a hit, it would be Sabra. Val agrees, but they’ve now lost their two strongest members. Joey says that strength can create opportunities, but exploiting them, that takes cunning. He takes a grenade out of his utility belt, which he nicked from Bombshell when he surrendered. He had been saving it for a rainy day like this. He adds that, when Captain America was in town, they destroyed a giant robot by tossing a bomb in it. And they can’t mess with success, he jokes. Val agrees but warns they’ll only get one chance at this.

Union Jack suggests they use the same plan as with the Knight. He distracts the robot, which quickly punches Joey out of his way and against a building. Val takes a shot and throws the grenade at Dreadnought, but he catches it and, though it explodes in the palm of his hands, he remains unharmed! Val tends to Joey who’s wounded, thinking he definitely broke some ribs this time. The Dreadnought walks over to his enemies and charges up electricity in his helmet, clearly intending to finish them both. However, suddenly, he is unexpectedly hit by a crane! Joey sees he’s being helped by several construction workmen, and warns them to get to safety. However, one of them tells Joey not to be stupid: he has been fighting for them all day, it’s time they returned the favour.

Joey looks at a flag nearby, and agrees with the worker. They hit Dreadnought again with the crew, and Union Jack climbs up on the robot’s body. He sticks the flagpole into the armour Sabra ripped open earlier, and jokes that the robot learned a valuable lesson today: don’t mess with working men! Val warns Joey to get off of there, but he thinks he can’t, as they won’t get another chance like this. The robot still stands, and Joey is sure it has a vulnerable spot somewhere. He finds the fuel tank of the liquid nitrogen power, and hits it with the flagpole. Dreadnought explodes, and Union Jack jumps away before getting hit.


The battle with the Dreadnought is reported all over TV. A reporter says that, even though this has been a tragic day in London’s history, there is also an unmistakable sense of elation. There’s relief that a loss of life could easily have numbered in the thousands has been held under two hundred, and there’s jubilation over the defeat of a massive terrorist attack. They thank Union Jack for all he’s done, and also the working crew that helped defeat the Dreadnought.

At the MI5 infirmary, Union Jack is getting stitched by a nurse, who hurts him a bit. She apologizes and suggests they anaesthetize him, but Union Jack refuses. Joey says that can’t be done because he wants to go help with the clean-up and relief work. Someone enters the room, telling Joey there’s no need for that as he’s been relieved. It’s Micromax! Joey and Scott shake hands, with Joey joking that Micromax is a bit late for the festivities. Scott agrees, and is brassed out about it. He and Excalibur were in the Mideast following a lead that turned out to be bollocks. It turned out the real action was right there in London but it looks like Joey handled it okay. Joey mentions he had help, and was sceptical about them at first, but now has to admit he couldn’t have asked for braver troops. Scott warns Joey that, if he wants to say goodbye to them he better hurries, because his allies are on their way back home now that help has arrived.

Joey goes out to shake hands with his friends. He thanks Sabra for everything she did for London, but she says that there’s no thanks needed, as she was just doing her job and that favours are for politicians. Joey compliments Navid that he’s a brass one and, if he ever needs help, he just needs to call. The Knight returns the favour. He and Sabra walk over to their cars together, without saying a word but look at each other. Sabra finally tells the Knight he fought well, and he says the same. They step into their cars, without saying anything else. Joey can’t thank Val enough. She kisses him on the cheek, saying it’s nothing, as this is the first real fun she’s had since SHIELD “reassigned” her. Joey doesn’t know why she puts up with that sort of treatment. Val says it’s because every now and then she actually gets to do some good. It’s at days like this it’s all worth it. Joey thinks he understands and tells Val to take care. She walks to her car as well.

Gavin walks over to Joey, telling him he has been arrogant, reckless and insubordinate. But he performed magnificently. They shake hands and Phil thanks Joey for all of his help. Joey says that’s just his job, and wants to go home to get some rest. Phil says that’s okay, and adds that Agent Scott will get him home, and that Joey certainly earned his rest.


Joey is back home and takes off his uniform, but his wounds still hurt a bit. On the news, reporters are interviewing Gavin, and Joey smiles that Gavin can go back playing politician now. He climbs into bed, and quickly falls to sleep.

The next day...

With his TV still on, a reporter says that, this morning, there are calls for the resignation of the Director General that have reached a fever pitch, and that deputy director Gavin would have been next in live. Joey hears that and quickly wakes up, and is shocked when he realizes something.

Back at MI5...

Lots of reporters have gathered outside Gavin’s office, wanting to know more about his new job as replacement director general. On that moment, Union Jack rushes into the reporters, looking a bit angry. Gavin’s secretary Amelia apologizes for not stopping him, but Gavin says he’d be glad to make time for their national hero. Joey, with a stern voice, warns Gavin that he’s on to him. Gavin glares quietly at Union Jack, and asks the reporters for a moment, who wait outside the closed doors.

Gavin asks Union Jack what he means. Joey explains that it was nagging at him yesterday, but he was too shell-shocked to put it together. Now that he’s had some sleep, it’s plain as day. He recalls that Gavin said the Avengers and the Fantastic Four were unreachable, but Joey got Captain America on the communicator on his first try. Gavin said that Excalibur, Micromax and all the others were away on missions, but they were all pointless because that’s how Gavin made them. Joey knows that Gavin planned all this. The attacks, the outcome... he orchestrated it all like a sick puppet master.

Phil doesn’t think anyone will believe he was behind the RAID attacks. Joey corrects that he didn’t say Gavin was behind the attacks. But he did found out about it a lot sooner than yesterday. And he didn’t lift a finger to stop it... to get exactly where he is now. Gavin gets a bit of a headache. Joey thinks Gavin sent Micromax halfway around the world, on a wild goose chase. He did the same with Excalibur so they wouldn’t be here to stop the attacks. But if RAID hadn’t struck early, the heavy hitters would’ve returned an hour or so into the action. They would’ve stopped it, but only after several hundred people had been killed. Joey’s certain Gavin wanted to undermine the director general so he could take her place. For that, he needed something to scare people. And he needed a serious enough attack to make her look bad, one he could crush to make himself look good.

Gavin wants to know on what theory Joey is basing all this. Joey thought it was odd that Gavin insisted on keeping him here before Ecstasy attacked. He knew it was coming. He knew RAID’s entire routine. He had detailed information on all the super-criminals, their powers and weaknesses, which he doled out when it suited him. Joey thinks Gavin couldn’t possibly have assembled, absorbed and analysed it all on the fly. And now, all those people are dead, to further his political ambition. Joey wants to know what he, Val and the others were to Gavin. Were they ringers, brought in when Gavin’s telepath found Fasaud and forced him to do something? Were they pawns, none of them too powerful or likely to ask questions? Or cannon fodder Gavin figured would put up a token resistance until they got slaughtered? Gavin asks Joey to admit that a man dressed in a flag makes an excellent martyr.

Union Jack threatens to expose Gavin, and he’ll bring him down. Gavin doesn’t think so, as Joey has no proof. Joey wants to go the press. He’s certain his story will provoke an enquiry, and thinks Joey had to have had some collaborators: and they’ll turn on him. Gavin mocks what that would do to England. They’re united; they faced the enemy and won. After some difficult times, they’re feeling good about themselves again. But, Gavin adds, if Joey insists on hurling these baseless accusations, it would scar their national psyche, like Watergate did to the Americans. And not to mention it would scar Joey’s relation with MI5. Whether they like him or not, Gavin is certain that nobody would trust Chapman after that. He adds that everyone who sits at this desk has to do unpleasant things at times. And they won’t want an operative who might betray them. He asks Joey how effective he thinks he’d be without them backing him. Shall he take the bus to disaster scenes?

Phil says that men of his class, his position, have to take the long view. And he thinks it’s time Union Jack did the same. He says that they’re safer now, with RAID crushed, than if they’d snatched up the first terrorist to enter the country and left the others out there to strike again. He tells Joey he needs to start looking at the bigger picture if he ever wants to be more than an errand boy. For once, he needs to do the smart thing.

Joey angrily hits Gavin into his face, shouting at him to go to hell! Joey shouts at Gavin that he would rather spend his life digging sewers than wallowing in them with Gavin. He proclaims that, if this whole disaster has shown him anything, it’s that most of the people Gavin claims to protect don’t have a voice. They don’t have anyone looking out for them. But now they do. And as of this moment, Joey won’t answer to anyone but to those people. Gavin, on the other hand, has two hundred innocent lives to answer for. Union Jack concludes that this is the most defining moment of his career, and now wants to lead Gavin into his.

Joey opens the door of Gavin’s office, and has him face the many impatient reporters outside.

Characters Involved: 

Union Jack III (Joey Chapman)


Countessa Allegra Valentina de la Fontaine

Arabian Knight II
a Dreadnought robot


Phil Gavin

MI5 nurse (unnamed)

Amelia (Gavin’s secretary)

television reporter (unnamed)

various reporters (unnamed)

various streetworkers (unnamed)

in Union Jack’s flashback:

Phil Gavin


Ecstasy (RAID member)

Story Notes: 

Union Jack last teamed-up with Captain America and Spitfire throughout Captain America (6th series) #18-21.

Issue Information: 
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