Comic Book: Captain Britain
"I'll be your champion, now and forever. I'll be Captain Britain!"
"...a necklace would be useless, wouldn't it? So come along, 'Excalibur'."Captain Britain is a superhero alias used by two British Marvel Comics characters. The first and the most famous is Brian Braddock, twin brother of Elizabeth "Betsy" Braddock a.k.a. Psylocke. The second is Kelsey Leigh, who later uses the alias Lionheart.Brian Braddock
Brian is the first Captain Britain. He is created by Chris Claremont and Herb Trimpe. He is introduced into Marvel Universe in the first issue and first volume of his own series in 1976.Brian is a studious British youth from aristocratic Braddock family who immersed himself in the study of Physics. After the death of his parents in what seemed to be a laboratory accident, Brian takes a fellowship at Darkmoor nuclear research centre. When the facility is attacked by the technological criminal Joshua Stragg a.k.a. "The Reaver", Brian tries to find help by escaping on his motorcycle. When he crashed his bike in a nearly fatal accident, Merlyn and his daughter, the Omniversal Guardian, Roma appear to the badly injured Brian. They give him the chance to be the superhero Captain Britain. He is offered a choice: the Amulet of Right or the Sword of Might. Considering himself to be no warrior and unsuited for the challenge, he rejects the Sword and chooses the Amulet. This choice transforms Brian Braddock into Captain Britain. However, Brian is only one member of a much larger, inter-dimensional corps of mystical protectors collectively known as Captain Britain Corps.Notable Comics appearances
- The Avengers
- Avengers vs. X-Men
- Captain Britain (1976-1977)
- Captain Britain vol. 2 (1985-1986)
- Captain Britain and MI13
- New Excalibur
- Secret Avengers
- Secret Invasion
- Super Spider-Man & Captain Britain
- Uncanny X-Force vol. 1
- X-Men: Die by the Sword
- X-Men (1992-1997) (cameo)
- The Super Hero Squad Show (2009-2011): Voiced by Charlie Adler.
- X-Men anime (2011) (cameo)
- Marvel: Avengers Alliance (2012-present): appears as recruitable playable hero.
- LEGO Marvel Super Heroes: appears as unlockable playable hero. Voiced by JB Blanc.
Kelsey is the second Captain Britain, who is chosen when Brian was in Otherworld. She is created by Chuck Austen and Olivier Coipel. She is introduced in Avengers vol. 3 #77 in 2004.Kelsey is a single mother of two children and was a schoolteacher who taught English literature and history. Back when she was married, She was sexually assaulted by thugs who invaded her home. The incident caused her divorcing her husband (as he was too paralyzed with fear to help her) and taking sole custody of their two children.One fateful day, her family found themselves on the front line of a battle between The Avengers and the Wrecking Crew. When Captain America and The Wasp were knocked unconscious, Kelsey took the captain's shield and selflessly protect Cap and Wasp from Thunderball's attack. Despite blocking the blow, the impact of the force the force of the impact caused her severe internal injuries and she died en-route to medicial facilities.Kelsey awoke to find herself in a ring of standing stones, where she was met by a vision of Brian Braddock, ruler of Otherworld at the time, and his wife, the shapeshifting mutant Meggan. Brian passed the mantle of Captain Britain to Kelsey. Her heroic act of bravery had earned her a second chance to live and to defend her home. She's given the choice between the Sword of Might and the Amulet of Right. Desperate to see her children again, and not seeing how a necklace could defend anything, Kelsey, unlike Brian before her, choose the sword, the path of violence. Instantly, she was transformed into the new Captain Britain.After Brian returned from Otherworld to Earth, Kelsey renames herself as Lionheart.Notable Comics appearances
- Action Mom: Kelsey is a single mom of two children.
- Affirmative Action Legacy: The first Captain Britain is male, his successor is female.
- Animal Motifs: Brian's original red costume featured a golden lion emblem on his chest; Kelsey's costume calls back to that design by giving her a lion crest as well.
- Anti-Hero Substitute: By choosing Sword of Might rather than the Amulet of Right, Kelsey is proven to be more ruthless in battle than her predecessor.
- Back from the Dead: Brian was once killed by the Fury; fortunately for him, Merlyn made sure that didn't stick.
- Kelsey is killed by Thunderball in her backstory, and resurrected when she got the Captain Britain power.
- Big Brother Instinct: Brian for his sister, Betsy (Psylocke). Some time when she briefly replaced him as Captain Britain, she's injured by Slaymaster and Brian has to rescue her.
- Blondes Are Evil: Kelsey in New Excalibur, see Heel-Face Revolving Door below. She got better.
- British Stuffiness: Invoked in Marvel: Avengers Alliance. Captain Britain is stuffed full of British cliches in the names of his passives and attacks.
- Brother-Sister Team: Brian and Psylocke in Excalibur.
- Cain and Abel: Brian's older brother Jamie is an utterly insane Reality Warper.
- Captain Ethnic / Captain Geographic: Of Great Britain.
- Captain Patriotic: Both captains stand for all values of England, and most of their alternate counterparts do the same.
- Captain Superhero: It's in their title.
- The Chosen Many: The multiversal Captain Britain Corps.
- Clothes Make the Superman: The Ultimate version of Captain Britain wears an advanced exo-suit that gives him his powers.
- When Merlyn initially gave Earth-616 Brian Braddock his first Union Jack-inspired suit, the powers that were initially contained in the Amulet of Right and the Star Scepter were placed in the suit itself. After Merlyn revived Brian and endowed him with the powers directly, the suit became an Amplifier Artifact instead, channeling the energies of the interdimensional link between the British Isles and Otherworld, allowing Brian to use his power beyond those realms. Without the suit, he would lose his powers, as he discovered in the aftermath of Inferno when he was stuck in New York for a spell without it.
- This seems to be a common trait among the uniforms of the Captain Britain Corps; the costumes either grant or supplement the wearer's powers. Betsy's uniform during her short stint granted her the same abilities as Brian had in addition to her own, and the uniform of Captain Marshall of Earth-1193 had the same amplifier properties as the suit Brian lost in New York.
- Cool Sword: Kelsey's Sword of Might, which she previously mistook as the legendary Excalibur, as quoted above.
- Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Brian has been raped by female villains at least three times. None of the encounters were treated as "okay", but they are brushed off as more an occupational hazard than a violation, and were never brought up much afterward:
- Once, in his own series, he's captured by an elderly female crime lord who called herself Vixen and is next seen suspended naked in a device clearly intended to facilitate her using him for sex. It's dismissed it as a dishonorable way to treat a Worthy Opponent, but no mainstream comic would dare depict a female heroine in a similar state back in the heyday of the Comics Code Authority (they might dare today, but it would be treated as a major, possibly life-altering trauma, and the writers would be roundly castigated as crossing a line in a cheap attempt to be edgy).
- In his own series again, when his evil inter-dimensional counterpart Kaptain Briton switched places with Brian and he ended up in villainess Sat-Yr-9's chamber, Sat-Yr-9 gave him a sedative to knock him out, after which he awoke naked and in bed with her gone. The scene is juxtaposed with Kaptain Briton's extremely nightmarish Attempted Rape of his AU-sister, Betsy (Psylocke), who was forced to kill him thinking she was being assaulted by her own brother, played as deadly serious and traumatic as one would expect.
- The other time, done by Sat-Yr-9 (again), was an issue of Excalibur - the team is captured by Sat-Yr-9, who hands all of them over to another villain except for Cap, whom she keeps as a mind-controlled sex slave. She makes him walk around in a Chippendale's dancer-inspired version of what her henchmen wear, and he's seen passed out naked in her bed. It's treated as significantly less severe a fate than whatever was happening to the other members of the team, and the possibility that it could have any greater psychological effect on Brian than any other random defeat by a villain isn't even paid lip service.
- Dropped a Bridge on Her: Kelsey is savagely knocked out by the Brainwashed and Crazy She-Hulk in Avengers Disassembled. She's not dead, but she spent the remainder of the unfolding events in hospital, her status was critical. In Avengers Finale, Kelsey left the disbanding Avengers, returning home to England fully recovered.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Brian in Excalibur. This was a major subplot for a large part of early Excalibur.
- Expy: Brian was originally an expy of Captain America. This was deconstructed in Captain Britain and MI-13 where Captain Britain says how much he admires Captain America and how he'd like to be a patriotic symbol just like Captain America, but there are a lot of things in the way. Later, he is resurrected by Merlin, who knits together a multitude of Union Jacks into a human body - making the Captain, like the flag he wears and the country he represents, a single being made of multiple parts; "One Thing That Contains Many".
- Fashionable Asymmetry: Kelsey's shoulder armor is only on her right shoulder as pictured above.
- Fisher King: Brian has a magical connection with the British Isles.
- Flying Brick: Both of their powersets.
- Form-Fitting Wardrobe: Both of their costumes. Brian's costume is emphasized in Marvel: Avengers Alliance which features a rather noticable bulge where one would expect a man wearing a skin-tight outfit to.
- Genius Bruiser: Not often shown, but Brian has doctorate in physics and he's as happy in a lab as on a battlefield.
- The Good Captain: Usually Brian if he leads a team, like Excalibur.
- The Good King: Brian becomes King of United Kingdom in House of M reality.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Kelsey had a long scar running down the side of her face, from the middle of her forehead down the left side of her nose and mouth, and onto her chin.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Brian, his father is Otherworlder.
- Happily Married: Brian is married with his Magical Girlfriend, the shapeshifting mutant Meggan. Sadly averted with Kelsey whose marriage ended in divorce.
- Heel-Face Revolving Door: The supposedly Not Brainwashed Kelsey in New Excalibur antagonized the heroes and allied with Brian's alternate reality counterpart, Albion, who had a dispute with Brian at the time, and Shadow-X, a villainous team of X-Men from an alternate reality where the evil Shadow King possessed Professor Xavier and the X-Men becomes evil. Kelsey eventually learned the error of her ways and helped Excalibur to defeat the villains.
- The Hero: Brian's role in Excalibur, New Excalibur, and Captain Britain and MI-13.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: When Brian came to America on a study abroad program, he ended up rooming with Peter Parker a.k.a. Spider-Man at Empire State University. Also, Brian with Nightcrawler in Excalibur and Pete Wisdom in later years.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Downplayed. Kelsey realizes by becoming superheroine, she may put her children in danger, but that doesn't stop her to continue her superhero activity.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Once she's resurrected, got Captain Britain power, and returned to Earth, Kelsey avenged her own previous 'death' by impaling Thunderball with her Sword of Might.
- Ineffectual Loner: Justified for Brian; for about half of Excalibur there was a spell on him to screw him up if he took independent action.
- The Lancer: Brian's role in Secret Avengers vol. 1, shared with Ant-Man, Black Widow, and Moon Knight.
- Mind Rape: Brian is on the receiving end of this in Uncanny X-Force vol. 1 by his sister, Psylocke, when he's reluctant to kill their older brother, Jamie.
- Most Common Superpower: Kelsey's busts are emphasized in her costume.
- Mr. Fanservice: Brian, hence why villainess like Sat-Yr-9 wants and raped him, twice, as mentioned above.
- Mutant: In some alternate realities and/or adaptations, Brian is a mutant, just like his sister.
- Out-of-Character Moment: Brian in Uncanny X-Force vol. 1, in a massive way. From wanting to wipe someone from existence to completely forgiving his slave-trading older brother, you have to wonder if the writer knows the character is one of the good guys.
- Parental Abandonment: Brian's parents are dead. Kelsey herself momentarily became Missing Mom when she's apparently killed by Thunderball before becoming Captain Britain and Back from the Dead.
- Psychoactive Powers: Brian's powers in Captain Britain and MI-13 are depicted as working like this; super strength and durability in proportion to his confidence and emotional stability.
- Rape as Backstory: Kelsey. Back when she was married, She was sexually assaulted by thugs who invaded her home. The incident caused her divorcing her husband (as he was too paralyzed with fear to help her) and taking sole custody of their two children.
- Ruling Couple: Brian and his wife Meggan are King and Queen of United Kingdom in House of M reality.
- Shoulders of Doom: Kelsey wears a small and practical variant on her right shoulder.
- Smooch of Victory: In Captain Britain and MI-13, Brian gets not only one, but two with his long-lost wife Meggan. Once when he thinks he's rescued her from Plokta, and once when he actually has rescued both of them from Lilith.
- Stiff Upper Lip: Brian in Paul Cornell's Captain Britain and MI13. For instance his Crowning Moment of Awesome when Britain is invaded by Skrulls:Skrull: You think that is bravery? Tiny things! Within the Skrull Empire you will know grandeur. You will know pride and determination and...
Captain Britain: I think you'll find we know already. We just don't like to make a fuss.
- Suicide Dare: In Alan Moore's series, the sentient computer Mastermind once used holographic illusions of the Captain's dead parents who almost successfully urged him to kill himself out of guilt at their deaths.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Brian in Deadpool Team-Up, after a culture-swap machine gave him and Deadpool (a Canadian-American) each other's nationality.
- Twin Telepathy: Brian and Psylocke share special bond through the latter's telepathy.
- Unexplained Recovery: In Ultimate Marvel universe, Brian was supposedly killed in an explosion during Ultimatum, and was even listed in the "In Memorium" section at the end of the series. He showed up in a later issue of The Ultimates with no mention of his "death", though he was now shown to be dying of cancer caused by his supersuit.
- Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Both of them.