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Comic Book / A Crooked World

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A Crooked World (also known as Jaspers' Warp), is a storyline between 1981-1984 involving the superhero Captain Britain written originally by Dave Thorpe, who was later replaced by Alan Moore and with Alan Davis as artist.

Brian Braddock is sent to a parallel universe designated Earth-238 by Merlin, accompanied by Jackdaw, and is confronted a lot of weird happenings, like a a monster made of junk and a group of Alice in Wonderland-themed villains called the Crazy Gang and the enigmatic Saturnyne. Saturnyne requests the Captain's help in giving this world "The Push" - to give the "primitive" world an evolutionary boost to push it towards rationality. Just as Captain Britain and Saturnyne celebrate the success of the mission, a mutant dubbed Mad Jim Jaspers, a former politician-cum-gang leader, who used his reality-warping ability to create these creatures, including the Crazy Gang, unleashes the "Jaspers' Warp" - chaos is spread across London, and spreads much further, creating a "crooked world". There's another key creation of Jaspers' that opposes Captain Britain, which is none other than The Fury - a half-man/half-machine monstrosity which Jaspers created to kill his world's superheroes. Jackdaw, and later Captain Britain himself, is killed by the Fury. However, with Merlin's intervention, Captain Britain is restored to life and sent back to his universe. Meanwhile, Saturnyne is brought to a pan-dimensional trial and is facing execution for allowing the Jaspers situation to get out of hand, and the entire continuum is destroyed to prevent the "Jaspers' Warp" from contaminating other realities. However, it turns out the Fury somehow survived his reality's destruction.


Brian encounters his twin sister Betsy again in London, who with her lover Tom Lennox, find themselves on the run from an assassin that's killing psychics. Meanwhile, another survivor from Earth-238, Linda McQuillan - the former Captain UK somehow arrives on Earth-616, traumatized by the deaths of her superhero colleagues. Then she notices on the news a politician named Sir James Jaspers running for Prime Minister on an anti-superhuman platform, and tries to warn Captain Britain that what's starting to take place in his world is exactly what happened in her own.

This story is notable for being the only work that Moore did for Marvel, and for It's also really where the Captain Britain comic strips really came onto their own, as the storyline not only was where Captain Britain got a costume change, but saw an introspective B-list superhero confront nearly unstoppable adversaries, and as part of something way above him, introducing what would become staples of the Captain Britain mythos: The Captain Britain Corps, and the Omniversal Majestrix Saturnyne. It's also the storyline where the main Marvel Universe gets its designation: Earth-616 from. The events of the storyline didn't stop with its conclusion, as the effects of "Jaspers' Warp" continued after his defeat, somewhat averting No Ontological Inertia, and the Crazy Gang existed on Earth-616 as well, not to mention a series of "Warpies", a strange baby-boom of young children who were affected by Jaspers' reality warping, developing powers not unlike that of mutants, emerging some two decades later (in real time).


The storyline was reprinted in a series of seven issues released as "X-Men Archives: Captain Britain" in 1995, and a color reprinting in trade paperback was released in 2002.

A Crooked World provides examples of:

  • Adaptive Ability: The Fury. Apparently, ridding the world of superheroes has made it very powerful. To the point of surviving the destruction of Earth-238, and even battling the 616 Jaspers to a standstill. Even killing him.
  • Apocalypse How: The "Crooked World" (Earth-238) thanks to Jaspers' reality-warping became a Class 2, moving onto Class3a. In fact, even before it had a chance for everything to get killed off, it becomes a Class X-4, not by Jaspers, but by Mandragon to prevent the reality distortion from spreading. Before Captain Britain confronts his Mad Jim, Merlin warns him that even erasing a universe won't contain him before long, and he becomes a Class Z threat.
  • Arm Cannon: The Fury has one. In fact, this is what it mostly uses to kill its targets.
  • Artificial Human:
    • The Fury is described as a "cybiote", which isn't given much clarification as to what is beyond being "part-machine/part-animal/beast". So basically, some form of a Cyborg.
    • It turns out that the Crazy Gang were literally created from the ground up by Mad Jim Jaspers. Fittingly, he explains his creation to them in manner that describes him as God.
  • Back from the Dead: Captain Britain is killed by The Fury midway through the storyline. There shouldn't even be much left for Merlin and Roma to work with. Fortunately, Merlin likes a challenge, and successfully reconstitutes his body and mind, when he resurrects him.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Vixen after confronting Mad Jim Jaspers, is turned into a female fox.
  • Big Bad: Mad Jim Jaspers.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: Aside from Jaspers, there's motley of antagonists during the arc that pose a threat to Captain Britain such as Mandragon, Mastermind, and Vixen. Jaspers easily eclipses all of them in time. The Fury would count... if it was anything more than a robot that beats up and shoots things.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Mad Jim Jaspers doesn't care for the laws of physics anymore, and often creates rooms like these. Captain Britain is naturally disorientated by these. One particularly impressive example is when Captain Britain chases him into his office in 10 Downing Street... only to find himself floating in space met with a massive Jaspers, who's assumed a godlike form.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Sir James Jaspers thinks that superhumans are a public threat to the United Kingdom, and the world at large. He even starts a campaign to get them out of the UK, and in Earth-238, orchestrated their extermination. However, he himself is a mutant. He even boasted about how his mutated brain allows him to warp reality. Of course, by that point, he's too crazy to see a contradiction between the use of his tremendous powers and theirs, and only cares about turning the world into his personal playground, with everyone as his clay dough.
    • Sebastian Shaw is Jaspers' political ally, and financial backer. Anyone who knows anything about him would quickly realise that he is a mutant backing an anti-superhuman politician.
  • Break the Cutie: Poor, poor Betsy. In this storyline, she sees her friends and colleagues die because of their psychic powers, she gets mind-raped by an extradimensional psychic, and gets put in a concentration camp once Sir James Jaspers comes into power. And all because she just wanted to see her twin brother again.
  • Break the Haughty: When Captain Britain is brought to Otherworld to defend Saturnyne during her trial, he witnesses her bound in chains kneeling on the ground, fearing execution. Despite her manipulative and self-serving nature, she's in such a sorry state that it elicits pity from even Brian.
  • Broken Bird: Linda; Betsy.
  • Came Back Strong: Downplayed with Captain Britain. His powers were originally activated by the Amulet of Right, and the Star Scepter which enabled him to fly. During his time on Earth-238, Merlin changed his suit, and fused the equipment that gave Brian his abilities with it. Also, after the Fury killed him, Roma recreated his body with Captain Britain's powers already in him - the suit only allowing him to better control them.
  • Cape Busters: Sir James Jaspers as Prime Minister makes it illegal to be a superhero, so there's a Stormtrooper-esque group of these. STRIKE also becomes these once its taken over by Vixen.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Slaymaster is somehow capable of immobilizing Captain Britain's right shoulder, by hitting its pressure point. This is despite the fact that one of Cap's powers is Nigh-Invulnerability. More so, he did it faster than Cap could react.
  • Chess Motifs: Merlin has chess pieces representing the characters on his chessboard, observing their actions. What's weird is that the events are so great that he can't even control the chess pieces, and he seemingly dies when the Fury makes an unexpected appearance again.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: James Jaspers after using his reality-warping powers on a wider scale eventually becomes loopier than a corkscrew. The name Mad Jim Jaspers becomes very apt afterwards.
  • Dare to Be Badass: Saturnyne has a moment with Captain UK, resembling this.
  • Day of the Jackboot: Given the presence of "stormtroopers" soon after Sir James Jaspers became Prime Minister, one could say this happened. Over time, concentration camps for superpowered people are set up.
  • Dirty Coward: Saturnyne deserts Captain Britain on Earth-238, and leaves him to the Fury once she learns of the cause of the distorted world.
  • Dramatic Irony: When Captain UK (sans superhero identity) warns Captain Britain of James Jaspers' campaign, Brian thinks that as he's technically not be same one as the Jaspers on the former's Earth, there's not much to worry about. Captain UK insists that he should be worried, however. Sure enough, during a gala, James uses his powers to change white wine into red wine - revealing that the 616 version is a Reality Warper as well.
  • The Dragon: Slaymaster, to Vixen. The Fury is technically this to the Jaspers of Earth-238.
  • The '80s: The events are clearly set in between 1982-1983, and to emphasize this, Sir James Jaspers mentions President Ronald Reagan pardoning The Hulk.
  • Evil Only Has to Win Once: When Captain Britain arrives in 10 Downing Street, Merlin in a telepathic message explains that against Mad Jim Jaspers, whose reality warping powers are growing exponentially, losing is not much of an option:
    Merlin: You musn't fail. This version of Jaspers. Is too powerful. Too dangerous... His counterpart could at least be halted even if it meant to destroy an entire continuum. This one is not so easily containable. And if he cannot be defeated, then the omniverse shall fall into chaos. And a new and hostile god shall play dice with matter.
  • Fantastic Racism: This time not just towards mutants, but all superhumans. Britain becomes a Police State during the premiership of Sir James Jaspers.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Slaymaster.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Mad Jim Jaspers (Earth-238) explains that he created the Fury, and programmed it. In other words, he didn't even use his powers and outright built the thing with nothing more than own brilliance.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Saturnyne continuously insults Linda on her supposed cowardice, until the latter snaps and slaps her. Linda is made to realise that she still has some fight left in her, and she slowly dons her Captain UK uniform.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Mad Jim Jaspers. Particularly the first one Captain Britain encountered (the one from Earth-238). His reality-warping had ruined his world beyond repair. Eventually, the universe is destroyed, but his creation, the Fury, continues to menace the heroes. The story moves with Sir James Jaspers' policies affecting events, and the targeted killings of psychics. But Jaspers himself comes into the forefront near the end.
  • Hero Killer: The Fury. It slaughters a whole world of superheroes, and even kills Captain Britain himself. But Cap is brought Back from the Dead.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Mad Jim Jaspers by the mutiversal powers comes to the point that he is no longer even regarded in anything sounding like a human being anymore to even these otherworldly beings, and they use other terms to describe him such as, "the reality butcher", "the Jaspers monster", or "the Jaspers thing"...
  • Jerkass: Mandragon.
  • The Juggernaut: The Fury. Not even universal annihilation will keep it from hunting its target.
  • Kangaroo Court: Saturnyne's trial has her accused of failing in her mission to preserve the omniverse and sentenced to death. The judge abiding the sentence is Mandragon... who also happens to be the prosecutor, and her successor if she is found guilty. He notably destroys Earth-238, which while preserving the omniverse, erased all possibility of her even defending herself. Captain Britain (our one) gets fed up, and simply busts her out, fleeing back to his world with her.
  • Killer Robot: The Fury.
  • Loophole Abuse: The Fury being programmed to kill all superhumans, is also forbidden to do the same to James Jaspers. However, this only applies to the James Jaspers of Earth-238. The Fury has no problem of targeting the 616 Jaspers.
  • Master Computer: Mastermind.
  • Mauve Shirt: Tom Lennox, Betsy Braddock's companion.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Anyone calling himself Slaymaster is not a guy you want to be around. Regardless of how pleasant he seems to be. There's also Mandragon, and Saturnyne is something of this.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Mad Jim Jaspers. Given time, he could render the world virtually uninhabitable, and even expand this to the universe.
  • Police State: It's implied that Great Britain on Earth-238 had become one, and the same was happening on Earth-616 during Sir James Jaspers' premiership.
  • Psycho for Hire: Slaymaster, hired by the Vixen to kill all former members of STRIKE's Psi Division.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: Saturnyne's Avant Guard; The Crazy Gang; Special Executive.
  • Reality Warper: Mad Jim Jaspers. An extremely powerful one at that too.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Jackdaw.
  • Sanity Slippage: Captain Britain experiences this when he's brought back by Merlin, seeing visions of his dead parents, and his past, it's assumed that he Came Back Wrong. However, it turns out to be Mastermind manipulating him.
  • Save the Villain: Special Executive infiltrate Braddock Manor believing that they must abduct Captain Britain, and they get into a fight with him. When they clarify that they're been sent by someone who knows him and needs his help, Captain is a lot more compliant and asks who this 'friend' is. The leader Wardog, replies that Saturnyne asked for him. Captain Britain is so furious that they are forced to incapacitate him to take him to Otherworld as a witness in Saturnyne's trial.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: During the whole Jaspers saga, the absence of the X-Men is... rather conspicuous. They dealt with a reality-warping mutant named Proteus only over a year before in real-life. Here's one creating chaos all over Britain, and that's before he starts actually using his powers to mess with reality. You'd think that they give the Captain Britains (both Brian and Linda) a hand. Guess that they only go to Britain to help out Moira in Muir Island, but never down in London.
  • Supporting Protagonist: Truth be told, this story is as much one for Linda McQuillan aka Captain UK, as it is about Captain Britain - for her, the events are far more personal.
  • Tuneless Song of Madness: Prime Minister James Jaspers finally unveils himself by hitting 10 Downing Street with a reality warp that transforms the Vixen into a fox - all while singing "A Four-Legged Friend."
  • White Hair, Black Heart: Played with, but ultimately subverted with Saturyne. She's manipulative, yes. But she's also doing a job that sometimes requires not-so nice choices, if to maintain stability in the omniverse. She also at least thanked Captain Britain in helping her accomplish her mission. Which was mind you, to make a world a more ideal place. That was, until Mad Jim Jaspers screwed with reality. And she was sentenced to death. She also got Captain UK to find the fighting spirit hidden inside her again. Pretty much being Majestrix of the Developmental Dimensional Court requires ruthlessness and a thirst for power as personality traits.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: James Jaspers used his reality-warping a few times too many, and quickly went insane as a result. This is true in both Earth-238 and Earth-616. Considering that he could bend a universe to his whim by thinking about it, it's not surprising that he went crazy.
  • World Gone Mad: What the Jaspers Warp does to a reality. Apparently, with enough reality-warping by Jaspers, the universe become irreparable. Earth-238 was considered a lost cause and destroyed simply to prevent it spreading.
  • Your Worst Memory: Linda McQuillan is badly traumatized by the murder of her friends at the hands of the Fury, and her very first appearance features her reliving the experience in her nightmares.


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