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Comic Book / The Union

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For Queen and Country!

The Union is a 2021 Marvel comic book written by Paul Grist, with art by Grist and Andrea Di Vito.

Britannia, Britain's greatest superhero, has decided now is the right time to finally form a superhero team made up of superheroes from all four nations of the United Kingdom:

  • Union Jack (Joe Chapman) representing England.
  • Snakes, a mysterious super-strong man representing Northern Ireland
  • Kelpie, an ancient water demon, representing Scotland.
  • And the Choir, a former supervillain named Skreem, representing Wales.

Unfortunately, their first mission (which is really just a recruiting drive) is interrupted by an invasion of symbiote dragons. The team manages to fight one-off, but Britannia is killed, leaving Union Jack in charge.

And boy does he not want to be.

Tropes found in The Union:

  • Back from the Dead: Britannia, sort of. It turns out that she saved her spirit inside Union Jack's body, so she's "alive," even though her body is technically dead.
  • Badass Normal: Of all the members of the team, Union Jack is the only one with no powers, but he doesn't let that stop him.
  • The Big Guy: Snakes is the biggest one on the team and has Super-Strength to boot.
  • Bilingual Bonus: At the end of issue three, Doc Croc calls the Choir "fy mlodyn bach", which is Welsh for "my little flower."
  • The Bus Came Back: DCI Kate Fraser, who previously appeared in Captain Britain Weekly in the 1980s, and in some 1970s The Tomb of Dracula stories. Now promoted from DI to DCI.
  • Captain Patriotic: Both Britannia and Union Jack.
  • Corporate-Sponsored Superhero: One of the ways the team is funded is through Darwintech and their owner, Steve Darwin.
  • Covers Always Lie: Issue 2's cover shows Britannia beating up Union Jack. Not only does this not happen, Britannia is dead throughout the issue.
  • Cyborg: As seen in the third issue, this is how the Choir got her powers — her mouth is covered in metal and cybernetics, which is why she hides it with a scarf.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The second issue shows how the Choir previously used to be a supervillain called "Skreem", until Britannia gave her a chance to be on the team.
  • In the Hood: Snakes always has a hood covering their face.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Britannia wields a shield carved with a lion's face. Unfortunately, while she uses it to stop front-facing attacks, she is speared from behind by one of Knull's symbiote dragons and dies.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: The Choir's powers are sound-based.
  • Making a Splash: Kelpie, being an "ancient water demon," can control all water.
  • More than Mind Control: In the second issue, the Choir ends up being taken over by one of Knull's symbiotes... and willingly embraces her connection to the dark god, pleading for Knull not to leave her when the symbiote is destroyed.
  • Never Suicide: When Selwyn James persuades Shifter to take him hostage, Shifter reveals that he knows Selwyn used to be a villain named Soak. So Selwyn uses his powers to put Shifter to sleep and uses the gun to make it look like Shifter killed himself.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Bulldog, Selwyn James' bodyguard and reserve Union member, is about the same height as Puck, and he's incredibly strong and has a temper.
  • Power Parasite: It turns out that the funder of the team, Selwyn James, used to be a supervillain called Soak, who had this power. He's since changed sides and lost his power...somewhat. He can still drain someone's power and put them to sleep.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Britannia is called "the greatest British superhero" even though this is her first appearance and that's generally reserved for Captain Britain.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: At the end of the second issue, Britannia is dead and since she was the only thing keeping them there, Snakes, Kelpie, and the Choir all quit the team, leaving only Union Jack.
  • Skewed Priorities: A news drone is destroyed by a Knull-possessed guard, causing a reporter to yell about "freedom of the press", despite, you know, the alien invasion.
  • Spiritual Successor: The book seems to be this to Grist's previous comic Jack Staff, but just set in the Marvel Universe. This is funny since Jack Staff started off as a pitch for a Union Jack book.
  • Thought Bubble Speech: Snakes only speaks using thought bubbles, although it appears everyone can hear him.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Britannia's very first appearance is the first issue...and she dies at the end of it. This ends up subverted, however, as there are continuing flashbacks to when she was alive and recruiting the team.
  • The Worm That Walks: It turns out that Snakes is actually made up of a ton of, well, snakes. So when he says "Snake is snakes," he means it.