Thursday, November 23, 2017

Betsy Braddock, Chapter II – Beginnings

Before the X: This second chapter will cover Betsy’s beginnings as the sister of Captain Britain. Chris Claremont introduced Betsy in Captain Britain #8 (1976) with his favorite plot device: mind control. One could say Betsy's debut arc was fairly strong and her role was decent. Once Claremont left the book and Gary Friedrich took over, Betsy took a back seat and remained a quite generic and minor supporting character. She was said to be a charter pilot in her debut issue, but later Jim Lawrence depicted Betsy as a fashion model in Super Spider-Man and Captain Britain #243 (1977). During this run, she learned Brian was Captain Britain and met Captain America. Chronologically, the flashback in Uncanny X-Force #3 fits the end of this period, showing Betsy's struggles with her new fashion career and full development of telepathy. It’s a nice touch she had a Captain Britain poster in her room because Brian was missing, presumed dead by then. However, the flashback states Betsy was only 16 years old at the time, which would contradict her backstory. Remember, she already had a pilot license and had attended college, so Betsy should've been at least in her early twenties (20-22). The next chapter will cover Betsy's S.T.R.I.K.E. and supermodel days. See you then.

CHAPTER II - Beginnings

In a snowy day in London, Betsy reached out to Brian in Thames University, where he studied, and informed him that Jamie had a terrible accident. Betsy drove Jamie’s Mercedes and took Brian to the airport. Once her plane – a Bücker Bü 133 Jungmeister – was ready, Betsy flew Brian from London to Braddock Manor in Maldon, Essex. The twins were close, but sometimes they acted like strangers. During the flight, Betsy started seeing visions of monsters, causing the plane to crash, the impact knocking her unconscious. Brian transformed into Captain Britain and saved his sister. Dr. Synne appeared before them and revealed it was his powers that created such illusions. [Captain Britain v1 #8]

As help from Braddock Manor closed in, Dr. Synne had no option but to leave. Jamie and Mick, the groundskeeper, took both Betsy and Brian to the Manor. Once the three siblings reunited, Synne once more took over Betsy’s mind and made her see her brothers as monsters. In response, Betsy grabbed a decorative axe and attacked them. Brian had to become Captain Britain again to overpower his sister, knocking her out with a nerve pinch. [Captain Britain v1 #9, #10]

The brothers then brought Betsy to Morder Research Centre for treatment, unaware that the staff led by Dr. Ramsey answered to Dr. Synne. The villain hoped to brainwash Betsy to destroy her siblings. Hours later, as Jamie kept vigil at Betsy’s bedside, she awoke from her induced coma – the reason being that the real culprit behind the attacks, a mysterious computer called Mastermind, had to divert the energy used to induce the coma to strengthen Dr. Synne, who was battling Captain Britain at the same time. [Captain Britain v1 #10, #12]

Days later, the Red Skull caught word of Mastermind – the advanced computer built by Sir James Braddock – and hoped to get his hands on it. For this reason, Betsy and Jamie were taken as hostages in case Brian decided to challenge the Red Skull. Kept tied up at Morder Research Centre, Betsy and Jamie begged Brian not to let the Skull’s guards kill them. Captain Britain and his new ally Captain America tracked them down and succeed in freeing the siblings. That was the day Betsy learned Brian, her own brother, was Captain Britain. Secretly, Betsy couldn’t help but wonder why Brian was chosen instead of her. [Captain Britain v1 #15, #18, #20, #21 / Uncanny X-Men v1 #256]

As Braddock Manor was bombed on orders of Tod Radcliffe, deputy director of S.T.R.I.K.E. and a traitor working for the Red Skull, Betsy moved out to Jamie’s posh flat in Chelsea, London. Betsy and Jamie watched the battle between Captain Britain and Lord Hawk in Piccadilly Circus on the news, and feared for their brother’s life. Later that night, when Merlyn and Roma took Brian to Otherworld to test his courage, Betsy awoke from a nightmare, sensing that Brian was in great danger. It was the first time Betsy experienced anything close to psychic powers, which may have been triggered by Dr. Synne’s earlier mind control. Days later, Betsy and Jamie learned through the papers that Captain Britain tried to attack Queen Elizabeth II during her Jubilee celebration in Portmouth. Brian explained he was under hypnosis by the Manipulator, a deposed African dictator. [Captain Britain v1 #31, #34, #39]

Turning her life around, Betsy quit the charter business and took up modeling. Brian often visited the studio where Betsy modeled to take lunch with her. During one of these visits, Brian discussed the serial killer known as Slaymaster, who murdered collectors and stole valuable items from their collections. Betsy was surprised when her photographer told them the Rockstar Luke Lane, one of the victims, collected pretty girls. She thought he was too cool and too far out to collect anything. Betsy also attended Brian’s graduation at Thames University. It’s possible she finished college by the same time as well. When Brian’s plane from New York to London crashed down, he lived two years as a hermit on the Cornish coast without his memories. He was missing and presumed dead. For Betsy, it was very scary not knowing what had happened to him. By this time, she started having odd flashes of psychic power similar to glimpses into the future. [Super Spider-Man and Captain Britain #243 / Captain Britain v2 #1 / Daredevils v1 #3 / Hulk Comic UK v1 #1, #3]

As Betsy’s fashion career took off, she decided to dye her blond hair purple. It helped her stand out in the crowd. She was in her early 20s when she first moved to New York, living her dreams. It was the first time Betsy was living away from home. Her apartment was small, but cozy. She had a cat and decorated her room with posters of Captain Britain and the English alternative rock ban Suede. One day, Betsy’s “migraines” developed into full-fledged telepathy. She couldn’t shut out the thoughts of 16,3 million people overwhelming her mind and didn’t leave her apartment for a month. Betsy was alone, broke and crippled by her gift. [Uncanny X-Force v2 #3]


Finn said...

Thank you very much!! I love your work :)

Tazirai said...

Great post.