Avengers (3rd series) #81

Issue Date: 
June 2004
Story Title: 
Lionheart of Avalon - part 5

Chuck Austen (writer), Olivier Coipel (penciler), Andy Lanning (inker), RS and Comicraft’s Albert Deschesne (letters), Chris Sotomayor (colors), Sumerak, Schmidt & Wiley (asst. editors), Tom Brevoort (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher).

Brief Description: 

Captain America and She-Hulk struggle to comfort Kelsey Leigh’s mother and children in the wake of her death. They are unable to provide any consolation. Meanwhile, Captain Britain and Scarlet Witch struggle against Morgan Le Fey in Otherworld, as she attempts to kill Brian Braddock and thus, destroy Britain. Morgan finds that Brian is no longer Captain Britain, and so begins to fire Thor’s arrows at Kelsey, which results in a massive explosion in London. As it looks hopeless and the Black Knight has Kelsey pinned, Captain America arrives in the nick of time, and uses his shield to throw the Black Knight off. Kelsey is tired of Captain America’s pacifist ways, and uses her sword to stab at Morgan, seemingly killing her. In the aftermath, Kelsey weeps over her life now that she cannot see her children.

Full Summary: 

Old Mrs. Shorr, Kelsey Leigh’s mother, weeps over the loss of her only child. Captain America and She-Hulk try in vain to comfort her and her grandchildren, and Cap says that he understands how she feels. Mrs. Shorr asks if Mr. America has any children, and Steve replies that he doesn’t. He apologizes and says that it is what one says when there’s nothing to say.

Cap asks if the pictures on the wall are of Kelsey before she got the scar. Mrs. Shorr says that they are, and says that she was a beautiful woman. Cap asks how she got the scar. Mrs. Shorr says that she was attacked, and fought back. Her attacker cut her because she hurt him. Cap asks where the father of the family was at the time, and Mrs. Shorr says that he was there, watching. His guilt over his inaction ended the marriage. Mrs. Shorr asks Cap politely to stop prying. Steve asks Mrs. Shorr if they will be alright to support themselves now without Kelsey’s income.

Outside, Janet van Dyne is collapsed in her Giant Woman form, and Tony Stark calls for an ambulance. Jan introduces herself to some children on a nearby playground while she waits for help to get the jet off her, and is relieved that she didn’t land on the children. Tony pulls Clint from the wreckage, and Jan asks about his well-being. Tony says that Hawkeye is still breathing, and asks Jan to shrink down slowly and lift the wreckage. Tony finds a man pinned under the wreckage, and asks Jan to shrink to Wasp size and help him out. Jan asks if Tony is worried, and he says he is. Jan says that’s what makes it an adventure.

Captain Britain and the Scarlet Witch struggle to fight against Morgan Le Fey and the Black Knight, as Kelsey pummels the Knight mercilessly. Wanda tries to stop her, saying that she’s killing him, but Kelsey continues, hoping to do just that. Kelsey throws Wanda aside. Morgan’s minions are standing around, and Morgan demands that they kill the Avengers. Brian Braddock is manacled to a wall, frightened at Kelsey’s presence. Kelsey shouts at him as she kills some of the minions. She is enraged that he caused her to lose her children
While all this is happening, Wanda quietly reopens the portal to Earth. Brian says that Kelsey isn’t supposed to be here, and Morgan mocks Brian, wondering why. She fires a magic arrow at Brian’s shoulder, causing him to reel in pain. As Kelsey charges at Morgan, Morgan freezes her with magic. Morgan looks at a crystal ball, wondering why England hasn’t been damaged by Brian’s injury. Morgan wonders aloud that Brian is Captain Britain, Lionheart of Avalon. She knows she divined it correctly, injuring Brian should injure the land. And yet, England hasn’t been damaged. Brian says that apparently she was wrong this time, but that she is welcome to keep trying, if that’s what it takes. Morgan stops, wondering why something isn’t right. She tells Brian that he must have foreseen her coming, and passed the powers of England to the woman, Kelsey. Brian screams that she is just grasping at straws, and announces that he is Captain Britain.
The Black Knight takes an arrow from Morgan, and plunges it into Kelsey’s arm. The result is a massive explosion in London, destroying several buildings. Morgan breathes a sigh of relief, as she can now continue with her torture of the new Captain Britain, and obtain the power of Avalon.

Braddock screams that Morgan will pay. Wanda helps Kelsey to her feet, and Kelsey wonders how she knew her name. Wands replies that Brian just said it. Kelsey says that she has children in England, and won’t allow harm to come to them. Wanda stands in the Knight’s path, but Morgan’s sorcery is blocking her powers. Brian says that Wanda needs to find a way to protect Kelsey, but the Knight knocks Wanda out with his fist. The Knight towers over the fallen Kelsey, ready to run his sward through her head. He says that he will make her hurt the same way she hurt him.
Kelsey suddenly has a flashback to the moment she got the scar on her face, when a man broke into her house and raped her in front of her husband. She fought back, but her husband did nothing. As the Knight moves to drive the sword home, the red, white, and blue shield of Captain America goes flying into his stomach, knocking him away. Morgan shouts that the Black Knight was supposed to have killed the Avengers before bringing the arrows, as she picks up an arrow and fires it at Captain America. Kelsey cries for Steve to watch out, but it is too late, and it pierces his armor and hits him in the shoulder. Rogers barely flinches as he raises his shield to protect Kelsey.
Kelsey tries explaining that the arrows were made by Thor, but she sees Morgan pick up the Knight’s sword and rush them, and so takes action. While Captain America says that he will protect the lady, Kelsey jumps forward and shouts “JUST HIT THE WITCH!” Kelsey swings her staff at Morgan, causing a big explosion and seemingly killing her. Brian Braddock tells Kelsey that she has done her homeland and her mentor proud, and suddenly her outfit changes, and is now royal blue instead of red.

Avengers Mansion, New York:
Captain Britain tells Wanda of her guilt that 150 people just died in England. She explains that after they freed Braddock, he gave another warning not to reveal herself to her children. Wanda says that she understands, and won’t even tell the other Avengers that she is really Kelsey. However, Wanda says that she will tell Jan about it, because she is nearly as wealthy as Iron Man and is probably better at keeping a secret. In fact, she has kept a few that she shouldn’t have. Kelsey asks how the Wasp is doing, and Wanda says that she will recover, and Hank says that she will adapt to size-changing. Wanda says that she has to believe that Kelsey will be able to reveal herself to Martin and Jenny someday, but until then, she can just keep hoping for the best. She tells Kelsey that she is just three rooms away, should they need to talk.

In Martin’s new room, the boy is excitedly putting up his poster of his hero, Captain America. Captain Britain stands in the doorway, asking Martin how he has been. Martin says that he is just trying to make the place look more like his old house. Before they can talk more, Captain America walks in with Ant-Man, telling Martin that Scott said he can try on the helmet. Kelsey walks away, dejected that her child doesn’t recognize her. She remembers Brian Braddock’s warning:

“You must never reveal yourself to Martin and Jenny again – for if you do, their lives will end, painfully and horribly.”

Kelsey knocks on a door down the hall, finding her mother there with She-Hulk and Jenny. Jennifer says that the child is out cold, after crying herself to sleep. Kelsey says she just wanted to make sure they were all right, and Jennifer replies that it was horrible, the children had to watch their own mother get killed. Kelsey closes the door, saying that it’s good Jen can be there for the kids, if their own mother can’t. Mrs. Shorr stares perplexed at Captain Britain, as if she knows something.

Kelsey walks back to her room, sobbing that her life is ruined. She removes her mask, revealing that her face is no longer scarred. She cries for her children and what they will experience without her. She falls on her bed and cries herself to sleep, wishing she was dead.

Characters Involved: 

Ant-Man II, Captain America, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, She-Hulk, Wasp(Avengers)
Kelsey Leigh / Captain Britain III
Brian Braddock
Martin and Jenny Leigh (Kelsey’s children)
Mrs. Shorr (Kelsey’s mother)

Morgan Le Fey
Black Knight

Story Notes: 

Brian Braddock passed the mantle of Captain Britain to Kelsey in Avengers (3rd series) #80.

The revelation that any injury caused a Captain Britain harms England (shouldn't that be Britain?) and that his / her death would kill all people in the country is new and doesn’t make much sense. Members of the multidimensional Captain Britain corps died all the time and Brian Braddock himself died twice without the citizens of Britain dropping like flies.

Captain America decided to make Kelsey an honorary Avenger in Avengers (3rd series) #82, and her body is entombed at the Avengers’ garden in New York. However, most of the team secretly knows that the new Captain Britain is Kelsey, and the funeral was held only for the children’s sakes. Captain Britain (Kelsey) also joined the team, though she disagrees with their methods.

Written By: