Issue(s): Excalibur #53
It seems that Spider-Man took Captain Britain under his wing while he was visiting in New York, training him in super-heroics and even his signature patter (CB seems to have been part robot at the time).
Spider-Man and Captain Britain get along less well in their civilian identities (and hey, there's Peter's dog-bear).
It's also very much made clear that Brian already has a drinking problem.
As Spider-Man, Peter tries to confront Captain Britain about his problem, but Brian is unwilling to listen. So they wind up cancelling their next training session. Captain Britain goes out patrolling on his own, and encounters a group of foreign exchange students that, as Brian, he got into a fight with earlier. Now they are stealing bio-tech equipment. And when Captain Britain tries to stop them, they turn into dog people.
Until now the book was pretty serious, aside from Spidey's humorous banter. But now things are pretty silly. One of the students - one of the females, of course - has become the Poodle. And another looks like Spuds MacKenzie. This is Excalibur, of course, but this type of thing is more like the jokey stuff that Lobdell has done for Marvel Comics Presents. Except that despite for the nature of the villains, everything is still played straight.
Spider-Man returns to help Captain Britain against the Litter. But Captain Britain feels like he has something to prove, so he uses excessive force.
That seriously injures the other female dog person. The rest of the Litter stop fighting at that point. Spider-Man tells Captain Britain to call for an ambulance, but instead Brian, stunned, just leaves. He wanders the streets, realizing that before this moment he's never been one for introspection, and that he's been pampered all his life. When he gets back to Peter's apartment, Peter has packed his bags. Peter tells Brian that he has a problem: "The drinking. The mess you leave for people to clean up after you. The fact that you don't hold yourself accountable for your actions. Those are symptoms of a bigger problem...".
Back in the present day, Brian tells Meggan that Peter was the first person to force him to realize that he had a responsibility to those around him. Brian says that "as soon as I landed at Heathrow" he got his lawyers to pay for the dog-woman's hospital bills, which was a "first step" to getting himself back on track. Of course, Brian still had a drinking problem in the early issues of this series, which were much later than the Marvel Team-Up story. So it's not like Peter got Brian to turn his life around on a dime. I'd also argue that Captain Britain had his share of hardship in his solo series prior to the Team-Up story, and it's not like he didn't have a sense of responsibility in them (he also did his fair share of quipping and didn't seem to need any training from Spider-Man). I guess that's a matter of perspective.
A different kind of problem is that the Otherworld Quest story that Captain Britain participates in with the Black Knight is supposed to have begun after Captain Britain was attacked on his way home from his trip to the US in Marvel Team-Up, with Brian being amnesiac for the first half of that story. So he never made it to Heathrow airport and wouldn't have have occasion to get his lawyers to do anything for the dog-woman. I suppose he could have arranged things much later. We'll have to say that Brian is either lying to himself (consistent with the fact that his drinking problem continued) or that he's misremembering things (which could be blamed on the amnesia or the fact that his memory was mucked with in Marvel Super Heroes #385, or just because we all forget things).
Despite the fact that the story doesn't fit very well from a continuity perspective, and it seems to be pushing dysfunction on Captain Britain much earlier than we saw any evidence of it in his own books, it's a good character driven story. It would have been better if Lobdell really did try to fit things in better with Captain Britain's own books (both from a character and placement perspective) but i suspect that the British Captain Britain books weren't so readily available at the time. It does occur to me that Lobdell writes a very funny Spider-Man, and it makes me imagine a different world where Lobdell landed on a Spider-Man title instead of X-Men.
I really enjoy the cover of this issue.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: See above regarding the flashback. The main story just features a downtime moment for Captain Britain and Meggan, and can take place at publication date. Spider-Man #25, also published this month, seems to be Spider-Man and Captain Britain's first meeting since the flashback here (ignoring things like Contest of Champions), so it should probably take place after this issue.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Now I want a Litter vs Trash encounter
Posted by: Erik Robbins | March 19, 2016 11:57 AM
That cover makes me more think its something Deadpool would do.
And hey, the Litter...suddenly I think of the Ang Lee Hulk movie with the concept.
Posted by: Ataru320 | March 19, 2016 7:13 PM
I liked James Fry's art on Spider-man in this fill-in and in Slapstick #2. I wish he'd gotten a regular run in one of the Spider titles.
Posted by: Red Comet | March 20, 2016 12:30 AM
Am I missing a fifth monthly Spider-Man book? The cover implies that I am.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | March 20, 2016 5:12 AM
Also... I do miss the original Captain Britain costume.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | March 20, 2016 5:17 AM
Marvel Tales was still going at this point, with Spider-Man reprints. That's the fifth book.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | March 20, 2016 5:31 AM
Would have preferred Lobdell over Mackie on the Spider books.
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | March 21, 2016 7:43 PM
Comments are now closed.
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