Thursday, December 7, 2017

Betsy Braddock, Chapter IV – Jaspers Warp

Before the X: The fourth chapter covers the event known as the "Jaspers' Warp", a Marvel UK storyline starring Captain Britain. The adventures addressed here ran from Daredevils #8-#11 (1983) to The Mighty World of Marvel #7-13 (1983-1984). The story features the only mainstream Marvel Universe work by Alan Moore, that is, Captain Britain and Betsy Braddock are the only major Marvel characters Moore has ever written in a regular basis (A year later, he wrote Magneto for three pages in Heroes for Hope). As for Betsy, she experienced life-changing traumas. First, she felt her lover Tom Lennox's death on her mind as both shared a psychic rapport and second, she was imprisoned in a concentration camp for a long time. In the camps, Betsy befriended Victoria Bentley, a supporting character for Dr. Strange, an unusual pairing that didn't receive any further development. The artist Alan Davis, who penciled Moore's entire run, took over writing duties and brought Betsy back with even stronger powers in The Mighty World of Marvel #16. Betsy was now able to generate psi-bolts that could stun others, becoming a more active hero.
CHAPTER IV - Jaspers Warp

On a January night at Braddock Manor, Betsy, Brian and their guests – Tom Lennox, Saturnyne and the aliens of the Special Executive – watched a televised speech about the danger of superheroes by Sir James Jaspers, M.P. Betsy didn’t seem to like the way the alien Fascination looked at her lover, Lennox. Tom begged Betsy to leave the house while they still could, but she paid him no attention. At that moment, Betsy received a precognitive vision of the future. She saw a concentration camp, a sky turned dark by all the smoke, heads on pikes, captured superheroes, screaming people and one of them was her. Captain Britain, Captain America, Spider-Man and Betsy herself all dead. Little did the Braddocks know they were all pieces of a master game played by Merlyn. [Daredevils v1 #9]

Later that night, Captain UK was attacked by the Fury – a deadly cybiote built to destroy all superhumans – in the bushes of Braddock Manor. Betsy picked up Brian’s fear with her mental powers. The cybiote’s arrival was an unforeseen factor that toppled all of Merlyn’s carefully laid plans and left Betsy and the alien Cobweb in a catatonic state. The heroes united to bury the Fury in the caves of Braddock Manor, and Brian held a startled Betsy in his arms. The Special Executive members decided not to get involved with Captain Britain’s mission any longer, and left Betsy, Brian, Lennox and Saturnyne by themselves at Braddock Manor. [Daredevils v1 #10, #11]

Sir James Jaspers later won a landslide general election victory on his anti-superhero platform and became Prime Minister. With the Jaspers Warp fully underway, superbeings in Britain were rounded up in concentration camps. Betsy and Brian kept a low profile during these trying times and pretended to be mere humans. However, as the twins waited in a food line, Brian was outed as a superhero and was forced to fight the Beetles – Jaspers’ law enforcers. Betsy and Brian managed to flee and word of their escape soon reached the concentration camps, giving hope to the prisoners. [Mighty World of Marvel v2 #7]

After that incident, Betsy, Brian, Linda, Lennox, Saturnyne and Alison Double left the Manor and went into hiding in a London cellar. Betsy often used her precognitive powers to tell the others when it would be safe to leave their hideout. As Alison's health deteriorated, Betsy relied on her psychic powers to raid a drugstore with Saturnyne and retrieve the medicine needed. Betsy was furious about what England had become. There were concentration camps, storm troopers and curfews. She didn’t even remember how long they had been living like that and completely lost all sense of time. [Mighty World of Marvel v2 #8]

The next day, Betsy sensed the Beetles closing in on their hideout. Lennox told Betsy to leave with the others while he would buy them some time to escape. Coming through the other exit at the top of the cellar stairs, Betsy and Alison Double were both captured by the Beetles, while Saturnyne and Linda managed to flee. Lennox was shot by a Beetle several times, and Betsy experienced his death through their psychic rapport, feeling every bullet on her mind. The shock left her crying and helpless, lying on the floor. In Otherworld, Merlyn took the pieces of Betsy, Lennox and Double off his chess game. [Mighty World of Marvel v2 #9]

Betsy and Alison were taken to a concentration camp, where they were kept imprisoned until Jaspers was killed. In the camps, Betsy met and befriended Victoria Bentley, a young woman with great mystic power and ally of Dr. Strange. When the prisoners of the concentration camps were freed, Victoria decided to care for Betsy as the trauma of losing Tom and her mental scars weren’t light. Betsy and Alison moved to Victoria Bentley’s castle. Six months later, reality repaired himself and only few people remembered Jaspers’ Warp, Betsy included. She still hadn’t fully recovered from the psychic shock she felt with Tom’s death. Victoria taught Betsy to channel Lennox’ death and use her powers in a more aggressive manner. [Mighty World of Marvel v2 #13, #14, #16]

Three months later, Betsy and Alison returned to Braddock Manor and were welcomed with open arms by Brian and Emma Collins, their nanny. Emma noticed Betsy was a little peeky and offered to bake her favorite cake, walnut cream. Brian then introduced his sister to Meggan, a mutant who was staying at Braddock Manor with him. Brian informed them he intended to reopen the Braddocks’ farms. Betsy said she still couldn’t forget the madness of the concentration camps and Lennox’ death. When the twins were ambushed by mystery bounty hunters, Betsy unleashed a psychic blast to help Brian. The attackers were gone, but they had a feeling that things were about to go wrong again. [Mighty World of Marvel v2 #16]

1 comment:

Rahsaan Chisolm said...

This Elizabeth is vastly more interesting than the one the one that rolls with the X-Men... Both pre and post Siege Perilous. I think we need for Alan Moore to write her again as he apparently write her again. I think he'd realize that the ninja schtick is weak and needs to go.