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 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 Roma, the Omniversal Guardian, 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
- The Daredevils (Features most of the Crooked World arc)
- Earth X
- 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 to divorce her husband (as he was too paralyzed with fear to help her) and to take 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 caused her severe internal injuries and she died en-route to medical 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, chose 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 Dad: Brian has a daughter with Meggan as of X-Men Gold Annual named Maggie, who is also Brainy Baby as she's able to speak when she's just few days old.
- Action Mom: Kelsey is a single mom of two children.
- Adaptive Ability: The Fury. When Linda McQuillan dreams about the last stand of the heroes of her world, the Fury is repeatedly described as doing things that should be impossible (including killing Miracleman). Somehow it found a way.
- Affirmative Action Legacy: The first Captain Britain is male, both his successors (counting Betsy, who took up the mantle temporarily) are female.
- Airstrip One: The Corps - gathering of the counterparts of Captain Britain from every alternate version of Earth - includes a Captain Airstrip-One who seems to hail from a world very similar to Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.
- Alliance of Alternates: The Captain Britain Corps works as this when protecting the multiverse.
- Amplifier Artifact: After Merlyn gave Brian his second costume, it contained the powers that were previously inherent in the Amulet of Right and the Star Scepter. When Merlyn remade Brian's body so that the powers came from within him, but were still dependent on his proximity to the British Isles, Merlyn also modified the suit to serve as a sort of battery back-up, allowing Brian to retain his powers away from Britain so long as he was still wearing his suit.
- Several of the Captain Britain Corps' costumes have the same power-granting or power-amplifying abilities, such as Kaptain Briton's (which was reused by Betsy during her short-lived stint replacing Brian as Captain Britain) and the late Captain Marshall's (which Brian wore for a good chunk of the first Excalibur series after his prior suit was destroyed).
- 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.
- Attending Your Own Funeral: Kelsey attended her own funeral to maintain her secret identity as Captain Britain.
- 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.
- Badass Normal: Slaymaster has no powers, but with advanced technology and extraordinary martial arts techniques he is able to repeatedly challenge Captain Britain.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cowboy Cop: Compared to the other corpsmen, Brian is oblivious of their regulations and is more focused on doing what's right. This has naturally led to a lot of friction between him and the rest of them.
- Create Your Own Villain: Roma did this by attempting to take back the Sword of Might after Bran Bardic (Albion) took it because the sword will lead the bearer to the path of violence and turn them into ruthless Blood Knight. But Merlyn, Roma's father, intervenes and lets Albion keep it. Unfortunately, Albion is already offended by Roma's attempt to steal his powers, so he swore to destroy Captain Britain Corps as revenge.
- Creator Provincialism: Not to the extent of the rest of Marvel with New York, but making the British Isles the focus of an omniversal nexus is pretty up there.
- Culture Justifies Anything: Captain Britain's are meant to defend the nexus of their realms and follow the regulations of the Corps while they do it. Past that, they're supposed to uphold the cultural values of their worlds, which explains why Nazi Captain Britain's are given equal standing.
- Deal with the Devil: Choosing the Sword of Might has a similar effect like this. The bearer will turn into ruthless Anti-Hero at best or Blood Knight at worse. In Kelsey's case, she also had to keep her identity secret, or else her children will die horribly.
- 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. Not to mention a jealous henchman of Sat-Yr-9's attempted to kill him in this vulnerable state while he's unconscious.
- Double Standard: Rape, Sci-Fi: As mentioned above, Sat-Yr-9 brainwashed Brian to be her Sex Slave for one instance in Excalibur.
- 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.
- He hits the bottle a fair amount in his own series, too. As in Excalibur, he ultimately chucks it.Meggan: What do we do now, Captain?Captain Britain: Well first I'm going to have a stiff drink. Then, since I seem to have run out of enemies to fight, I think I'll have another.
- He hits the bottle a fair amount in his own series, too. As in Excalibur, he ultimately chucks it.
- Evil Counterpart: Not all of Brian's counterparts in the Captain Britain Corps are what we'd consider heroic. Kaptain Briton and Hauptmann Englande are two such examples.
- Expendable Alternate Universe: Deconstructed as the multiple omniversal threats and beings focused around the 616 universe has given his superiors sufficient cause to treat the whole thing as a cancerous blight on everything else and erase it.
- 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 power sets, to varying degrees. Brian started out at roughly Spider-Man levels, before at his peak, briefly standing off the Phoenix.
- Form-Fitting Wardrobe: Both of their costumes. Brian's costume is emphasized in Marvel: Avengers Alliance which features a rather noticeable 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. This aspect of his character was emphasised in the run-up to Secret Wars (2015), when he was part of the Illuminati.
- The Good Captain: Usually Brian if he leads a team, like Excalibur.
- The Good King: Brian becomes King of the 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.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Most Captain Britains are actually blond-haired and heroic to varying degree.
- 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.
- HeelFace Revolving Door: Kelsey is secondary antagonist in New Excalibur as The Dragon for Albion, an alternate reality counterpart of Brian's, who had a dispute with Brian and many other members of Captain Britain Corps at the time, and whom Kelsey appears to be in relationship with. Kelsey eventually learned the error of her ways and helped Excalibur to defeat Albion and Shadow-X (an evil team of original five X-Men and Charles Xavier from an alternate reality who were brainwashed by Shadow King).
- The Hero: Brian's role in Excalibur, New Excalibur, and Captain Britain and MI-13.
- Hero Killer: The Fury is one of the most frightening examples in comic books. He has singlehanded murdered all the superhumans of an alternate Earth. The only survivors were the Captain Britain of that reality, and only because she fleed to our world to save her life, and the Fury's creator, who had the good sense to program its creation so that it could not harm him. However, when the Fury meets its creator's counterpart in our world, it concludes that nothing in its programming forbids killing HIM.
- 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.
- 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 Juggernaut: The Fury, a cyborg created to kill all the superheroes of an alternate universe, takes this trope up to eleven. Once it has set its eyes upon a target, he chases him until it kills him. He just never gives up. Never.
- Kangaroo Court: When Brian is summoned to Saturnyne's trial (she has been accused of not destroying the dimension of Earth-238, allowing its instability to contaminate other dimensions), he finds out that Lord Mandragon is simultaneously the judge, prosecutor, and Saturnyne's successor to the imperial throne if she's convicted. This is, of course, totally insane, and Brian's not the only one to point it out, but the trial goes forward anyway.
- The Lancer: Brian's role in Secret Avengers vol. 1, shared with Ant-Man, Black Widow, and Moon Knight.
- Mechanical Monster: The Fury, though it does have some biological parts. James Jaspers of Earth-238 only made one, because one was all he needed.
- 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.
- Mistaken Identity: Object example. Kelsey called the Sword of Might as Excalibur. The real Excalibur itself will be held by another British superhero, Faiza Hussain.
- Most Common Superpower: Kelsey's bust is emphasized in her costume.
- Mr. Fanservice: Brian, hence why villainess like Sat-Yr-9 wants and raped him, twice, as mentioned above.
- Mushroom Samba: When Captain Britain encounters Doctor Crocodile, Crocodile douses him with gas that makes him see surreal hallucinations of Africa, Crocodile's own history, and the monstrous crimes of Jamie Braddock.
- Mutant: In some alternate realities and/or adaptations, Brian is a mutant, just like his sister.
- Oh, Crap!: If someone encounters The Fury and actually survives, this is pretty much the automatic reaction the next time they see it.
- Out-of-Character Moment: Brian in Uncanny X-Force vol. 1, in a massive way. From wanting to wipe someone from existence (though, granted, he had reason for that) to completely forgiving his slave-trading older brother, you have to wonder if the writer knows the character is one of the good guys. However, he did soften a bit towards the end of that arc.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: When the Red Skull invaded Britain, Captain Britain rose to the occasion... But much of the page space went to Nick Fury and Captain America, who had also followed the Skull over the Atlantic.
- 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, as they had in the early parts of Excalibur; 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.
- Reality Warper: Mad Jim Jaspers and Jamie Braddock.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: When the sentient computer beneath Braddock Manor, Mastermind, takes the form of Jeeves the butler, his eyes sometimes glow red menacingly. Subverted in that he actually does have the best interests of the Braddocks at heart, and even comes to have feelings for the maid, Emma.
- Red Shirt Army: Their fellow corpsmen often end up as cannon fodder whenever they get involved.
- 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.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Downplayed with Kelsey. While her son Martin affectionately says he likes it when she swears in front of him because it helps him growing up, she only swears a few times, especially under stressful conditions after becoming Captain Britain. Not to mention her personality is also hardened since she chose Sword of Might.
- 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, such as 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.
- Team Dad: Brian served as this for Excalibur, after he stopped drinking - one stand-out incident was during the Cross-Time Caper when Rachel had responded to the disgustingly creepy thoughts of the local version of Nigel Frobisher (who was apparently a multiversal creep) by telekinetically transmuting his clothes to tar and feathers with a large sign saying 'Pig!' stuck to his chest. Brian reprimanded her for acting out when they were guests in that world... then Rachel showed him just what that version of Frobisher was thinking. It took the entire team to stop Brian from tearing Frobisher limb from limb.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Brian in Deadpool Team-Up, after a culture-swap machine gave him and Deadpool (a Canadian) each other's nationality.
- Took a Level in Badass:
- The Fury, already an almost invincible killing machine, becomes even more dangerous when it incorporates the supercomputer beneath Braddock Manor.
- Kelsey was mostly Unskilled, but Strong when she got her powers, which is understandable, since she was never a fighter before. She's a better fighter after Albion trained her.
- Troubled Fetal Position: Kelsey did this on her bed after she, as Captain Britain, finished checking up her mother and children in Avengers Mansion without revealing her secret to them.
- Twin Telepathy: Brian and Psylocke share special bond through the latter's telepathy.
- Two Roads Before You: Every Captain Britain must choose between the Amulet of Right and the Sword of Might. This decision has a substantial impact on their powers.
- 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.
- Unholy Matrimony: Briefly, Kelsey with Albion in New Excalibur, although it doesn't last.
- Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Both of them.