FW Team-Up: Spider-Man and Captain Britain

It’s a patented FW Team-Up between Canada’s Siskoid and the United Kingdom’s Martin Gray! Together they tackle Marvel Team-Up #65 and 66 by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, the North American introduction of Captain Britain! It’s a story with a strong legacy and the heroes of two shores. Truly, it was a classic in the making!

Listen to the Team-Up below, or subscribe to FW Team-Up on iTunes!

Relevant images and further credits at: FW Team-Up Supplemental

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15 responses to “FW Team-Up: Spider-Man and Captain Britain

  1. Fun show! Always a pleasure to hear Martin. I didn’t have these issues, but I had a friend who did, and I recall reading them years and years ago. Captain Britain does strike me as a bit of a “kitchen sink” type hero. One where the creators threw in pretty much EVERYTHING to see what would stick. I definitely prefer the Alan Davis design. As a little kid, I didn’t get “Britain” out of Brian’s original costume. I do now, but it wasn’t “flag-like” enough for me. It’s unique, but kind of a mess.

    How have the X-Men movies not done Arcade yet? Imagine some of the action set pieces with that character. Wow.

    Chris

  2. This was my first exposure to Captain Britain. I forget he’s supposed to be Peter’s age. All the CB stories I read later (when he’s in his more familiar costume), tend to age him up. Maybe it’s because he’s drawn as a taller dude.

    Oh, Arcade. He’s like Scarface at the end of Scarface with lots of toys.

  3. These issues came out before I started collecting, but I somehow managed to read both of them back then, and loved them. Making Spider-Man and Captain Britain roommates made me seriously think Brian was joining Pete’s supporting cast, and would be a recurring guest in MTU, but sadly no. Still, so much to love. Byrne’s artwork, the wonky CB origin, Arcade, just great stuff. Also back in the day, I didn’t get why CB had the Lowenbrau logo on his chest. Silly American kid.

    Now I had to do my own digging, because I could swear there was some other story that covered Pete and Brian, and finally found it in Excalibur #53. Maybe you already know about it, but Wikipedia downplays Spider-Man’s role in that issue. It’s a flashback to this period, and Brian is doing what college kids do: drinking because he can. It goes badly when he hurts a woman badly, and Pete kicks him out saying “get help.” The interesting twist on the story is that Brian thinks of Peter as the one that pushed him to be a better person and hero, not Spider-Man!

    I also thought that issue had come out recently. Let’s see, published in … 1992. … yeah …

    Another great team-up of hosts! Nice to hear Martin. Always a treat!

    1. You’re the second person to mention it, but added more detail, so thanks! In ’92, I was definitely out of Marvel Comics. I wouldn’t pick up one of their books until late in the decade (I think it was Karl Kesel’s Daredevil).

  4. Great to hear Martin! I remember buying these issues, even though MTU was not a regular book for me, because I was excited a bout a new hero! Listening to the podcast made me recall my disappointment. Captain Britain didn’t do anything! I wanted a showcase, and got a cipher. Razorback made more of a teammate for Spidey! This was also one of my first Claremont stories. He uses a lot of names in his dialog and I found it hard to keep track. Was I , the reader, supposed to be familiar with these bad guys and their organization? This was certainly an enjoyable, and well-drawn, story, but it is as tightly constructed as a house of cards. From the way the heroes are brought together, to the over-the-top ridiculousness of the villain, to the “seems we’ve run out of pages so the story’s over” ending.
    After his next appearance in X-Men, I figured out what really bugged me about Arcade. It’s not that he’s spent all the time and effort in constructing a murderous Fun-House, that’s a given in super-hero comics, it’s the effortless kidnapping of hostages to goad his victims! Here it’s Brian’s mute girlfriend. Who, in the story-time, has been 1. identified, 2. located, 3. kidnapped, 4. transported ACROSS THE OCEAN, and 5. trussed up and placed exactly where Captain Britain will see her. In the X-Men story, he somehow has managed to get into the Soviet Union, locate a kidnap the sister of someone who is either a well-known hero/ambassador for the U.S.S.R./traitor, depending on one’s perspective, and certainly ought to been on some kind of watch-list for the KGB, and taken her OUT of the U.S.S.R! As an aside! Maybe it’s time to reconsider the status of villains like Turner D. Century. I can’t even remember what his shtick was, but it couldn’t have been as dopey as Arcade!

  5. I’ve always loved Captain Britain’s original costume, as seen here. It’s so distinctive, too bad he traded it in for the vaguely-Authoritarian jackbooty-thug look he had in EXCALIBUR.

    Those alternate pages were so cool to see! I especially loved how the splash page is essentially the same scene from two different perspectives. How very Rashomon.

    Always enjoy hearing Martin on one of our shows!

  6. I said it over on oHOTmu, but I’ll say it again here, I’m a fan of my namesake hero from across the pond. As a scientist and card-carrying anglophile (thanks to my Bristol-born mum) with an interest in Arthurian legend (particularly, the original Celtic myths), there’s a lot for me to like about this character. My only complaint is that I remember him often being portrayed as a punch-first-think-later kind of hero, which seems odd for someone who is supposed to have originally been a more contemplative, scholarly type.

    I first encountered Captain Britain in Excalibur, where I did read the flashback story of his time with Spider-Man in #53. (Thanks for tracking that reference down, Tim). I also followed his appearances in the Knights of Pendragon series, which ran from 1990-1993 under the Marvel UK imprint. As an aside, I felt Volume 1 of that series was phenomenal, weaving together mythic imagery and environmental themes with a Vertigo-like style. In Volume 2, the series became a more traditional superhero team book.

    By Neptune’s seaweed-infested beard, I just learned on Wikipedia that Dan Abnett was one of the co-writers for Knights of Pendragon! I knew there was something I liked about that guy when he took over on Aquaman.

    1. Abnett (and Lanning) has been on my radar since, oof, at least Resurrection Man. Done a fair bit of Doctor Who work as well (comics, novels, audios).

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