Betsy Braddock: Captain Britain #5

Issue Date: 
August 2023
Story Title: 
Thou Art More Near Thy Death

Tini Howard (writer), Vasco Georgiev (artist), Erick Arciniega (color artist), Virtual Calligraphy's Ariana Maher (letterer), Tom Muller & Jay Bowen (designer), Erica D'Urso & Matthew Wilson (cover artists), Stacie Zucker (production), Sarah Brunstad (editor), Jordan D. White (senior editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Captain Britain, Pete Wisdom and the members of S.T.R.I.K.E. are joined by Fazia Hussain as they work on a plan to break into Morgan Le Fay's palace, rescue any mutant prisoners and defeat Morgan once and for all. In a pocket realm, Captain Avalon confronts Morgan's Fury, but before he destroys it, Askani arrives and reveals that the Fury needs to live. She takes the Fury and the return to Braddock Manor, where Captain Avalon and Meggan prepare to join Askani on a mission, and Askani briefly reunites with Captain Britain, before Captain Britain, Wisdom, Fazia and S.T.R.I.K.E. depart for their assignment at Morgan's palace. The members of S.T.R.I.K.E. carry out their mission as planned, including rescuing Micromax, while also defeating several of the Clan Akkaba servants who follow Morgan. Captain Britain soon joins the battle inside the palace, where she is captured by two Coven Akkaba followers who trap her in bonds of Blightswill. Askani, Captain Avalon and Meggan arrive at the Infuri, land of the Everforge, and return Morgan's Fury to the Forgemaster Federal. The Fury crave the war the Morgan promised them – but Askani has another idea, and as Morgan contacts Doom to launch his Doombots, the Furies arrive in Latveria and wage war with the Doombots. Captain Britain then proves she doesn't need her mutant abilities to battle Morgan as she uses the Starlight Sword to free herself from the Blightswill bonds, then asks Morgan if she truly wants to be connected to the land of Britain. Morgan claims that she does, and so Captain Britain shoves the Starlight Sword into her, which links her to Fazia Hussain's sword, Excalibur – and as a result binds Morgan to the land, transforming her black outfit to white, and enabling Morgan to hear the land she stands upon. Later, Captain Britain relays the recent events to Tony Stark, before joining Askani and the rest of her family at the Braddock Academy Interest Fair, before departing with Askani after receiving a distress call from the Captain Britain Corps.


Full Summary: 

Braddock Manor, where in the dead of night the rain beats down. Soldiers patrol the grounds and choppers keep watch from the air. Inside, the kitchen table is covered in Chinese takeout, cups of tea and a dozen or so dolls and action figures used for strategic planning purposes. Around the table sits Pete Wisdom, along with a group of unique mutants collectively known as S.T.R.I.K.E. They are: the handsome Kevin Mulhearn a.k.a. Xanth, the white-haired Alison Double a.k.a. Albedo, the suit-wearing Tom Lennox a.k.a. Ghast and Vicki Reppion a.k.a. Rubedo who wears her bright red hair in a short bob. 'Hello! Thank you for having me, S.T.R.I.K.E. Came as fast as I could' Dr. Fazia Hussain a.k.a. Excalibur calls out as she walks towards the table with Betsy Braddock a.k.a. Captain Britain. 'Fazia! Come in, please, and warm up! There's tea!' Wisdom calls out. Betsy remarks that Pete and Alison have just caught everyone up, and reveals that Morgan has captured Micromax. 'I just thought he'd blocked me after the television appearance' Betsy adds.

Fazia admits that she isn't caught up, and remarks that she is incredibly honored to be back here. 'But -' she begins, to which Betsy interrupts her and informs Fazia that they were hoping to ask for her help. 'Help?' Fazia asks. Betsy puts her hand on Fazia's shoulder and reminds her that she wields Excalibur, the most sacred artifact of this land. 'It is the spirit of Britain and it responds to you and you alone' Betsy remarks. Fazia holds the sword up and asks Betsy if she thinks the people of Britain still believe in all of that while she is the one carrying it. 'I think it's a sword. A rather fine sword, but you're much more precious to this country' Betsy smiles, assuring Fazia that the sword just happens to know that, and that she is the link to this land. 'If Captain Britain needs me, I'm in' Fazia responds.

Betsy thanks Fazia, before turning back to the others, and states that they were discsusing how to enter Morgan Le Fay's castle, called Mongivel. 'Oh dear' Fazia utters. Pete Wisdom suggests that it is simple, and if they get caught, then Victor von Doom wil rain hell on the continent as he works his way west to Braddock Manor. 'No pressure' he jokes. Xanth laughs and repors that Albedo has some aerial-drone footage. Albedo rolls a map out onto the table and informs her teammates that it turns out Morgan had a greenhouse set up as soon as her house landed, as most of her favorite poisons don't grow in this climate without help. Pointing to its location on the map, Albedo notes that the greenhouse is not technically part of the rest of the manor, and while it has door security, it doesn't have perimeter security, so it will be easy for them to cut their way in and lie low. She adds that Coven Akkaba is not shy about using Blightswill, as it is how she saw them controlling Micromax.

Betsy listens to Albedo, then reports that she will come in from above. Betsy tells the others that Morgan uses people until they are not useful to her anymore, which is her blindspot, her Achillies' heel, and now, running off to that little villa means she is without Reuben Brousseau and most of her coven, and Doom isn't actually there, either, he's back in Latveria. Betsy adds that if the police or authorities find out, they will be jailed or worse – and if Morgan alerts Doom, then it will be as if Pete said. 'You all remember how to be secret agents, don't you?' Betsy asks.

Meanwhile, inside Jamie Braddock's pocket dimension, Brian Braddock a.k.a. Captain Avalon stands over Morgan's own fury. 'Come now, Fury, old friend. You aren't regenerating that slowly, are you?' Brian asks. 'I know it took Earth's Mightiest to bring you to your knees...but the Fury I've fought always gets up again' Brian declares. The Fury struggles to get back up, and Brian notes that Rachel told him that the Fury don't know which among them was the first to meet him on Earth-237, but he doesn't care, as he is not offering a fight – he's offering mercy.

The Fury spits some sort of oil at Brian's face. Brian raises his sword and reminds the Fury that it came here to threaten his wife, his daughter and his sister. 'So the only mercy for you... is a swift, merciful death!' Brian exclaims, sword gleaming above his head – but before he can bring the sword down against the Fury, Rachel Summers a.k.a. Askani appears. She tells Brian not to kill the Fury, as they need him.

'Rachel? You're setting him free?' Brian asks his longtime teammate. 'No way' Rachel replies, but tells Brian that the Fury needs to live – and needs to come with her. Askani drops to the ground and picks the Fury up as Brian asks Rachel how she knows this, noting that Jamie can just let the Fury out at any time. 'He won't. I just know' Rachel adds, explaining to Brian that this is what being Askani means. She remarks that she doesn't know what is going to happen, or when, but she knows where she needs to be – for the Sacred Timeline – and she needs to bring that Fury somewhere. 'Rachel, please, if we trust Jamie again -' Brian begins, but Rachel puts her thumb on Brian's forehead and tells him that it is the Sacred Timeline, that it is not supposed to be easy. 'Maybe that's why you have to do it, Brian' Rachel suggests. A portal opens and Brian looks at it, 'Very well...but I'm coming with you' he tells Rachel, adding that Meggan will insist. 'Of course. C'mon. For the story' Rachel replies.

A moment later, Brian appears back in Braddock Manor. Meggan turns and sees him, and asks him if he is all right. Brian pauses, before assuring his wife that he is fine, and was just expelling some old demons. He kisses her and informs her that they will be escorting Rachel today. 'Just like old times' Meggan remarks, before telling her husband that she will get Jamie to watch Maggie. 'You don't worry about leaving him with her?' Brian asks. 'Not for her, no' Meggan replies. Rachel rushes past them and reports that she will be ready to go right after the meeting. 'Knows where and when she has to be in the Sacred Timeline, still can't be punctual' Brian jokes.

'Sorry I'm late' Rachel calls out as she sits down next to Betsy. 'That's all right, love. Vicki was just taking the liberty to walk S.TR.I.K.E. though their entrance protocol' Betsy tells her partner. Rubedo stands at the end of the table and suggests that they continue, as once they are inside, they will have to separate immediately. She tells Tom that once he is in, he will need to scan for Morgan's acolytes, as she wagers they will have some psychic cloaking up, but he is better at it. He will need to give them the locations, and then the rest of them can take the acolytes out one by one. 'We just can't let them see us' she adds, before instructing Kevin to handle Micromax, who, according to Alison, hs being kept in a rather portable fashion. Pete is instructed to stay with Alison, and tells them that they are on Morgan-watching duty, so Alison will need Pete's firepower in case things get dicey. 'If we're all clear, then... let's save Britain, shall we?' Vicki suggests. 'ROGER THAT!' everyone calls out in response.

The plan is carried out as arranged: Tom telepathically locates one of Morgan's followers in the library, and reports that there are less than a dozen overall. Vicki takes out the one in the library by commanding him to go to sleep. Kevin finds Micromax who is being held prisner in a jar. He pops the jar into a satchel and tells Micromax that he is sorry, but it is a stealth mission. 'You're quieter in the jar' he adds. As Alison accompanies Pete down a corridor, she suddenly asks him if he hears anything – before they can investigate, three of the Coven Akkaba members appear before them. 'Don't worry, Witchbreed, we won't tell anyone you're here -' one of them begins. '- we want to surprise Morgan with your blood ourselves!' another exclaims. 'They're no trouble at all' Wisdom tells Alison. One of the Coven Akkaba members wields some energy, which glows around their hand. 'Fire, huh? You can summon it, but can you throw it? Comes natural to me, just like darts' Wisdom declares as he tosses his “hot knives” towards his opponent, knocking them backwards.

Pete turns his attention to another of the second Akkaba member, and beckons her to come and get her witchbreed. 'Pete, have you gone mad?' Alison calls out, concerned. Pete drops to the ground and knocks the Akkaba member over, 'Maybe I have! But I'm not dying for them to use their magic against us again!' Pete replies. Pete leans down on the Akkaba member and grabs her by her wrist. In her hand is a jagged dagger. 'You wanna learn something, chap? For your next fight? This one's your knifing arm, yeah?' he asks, before he breaks her arm, 'Now it's not!' he tells her. Alison tells Pete that she is trying to quiet things psychically, so no one hears them. 'Don't let your anger trigger a world war' she exclaims. Using the other Akkaba member's dagger, Pete lunges at the third of the acolytes, and notices he wears a Blightswill ring. 'Mr Brousseau let you borrow that one?' Wisdom jokes. 'It'll neuter you, witchbreed!' the acolyte shouts. 'You know, to use that ring – you need an index finger. Bloody hurts, I bet' Wisdom states as he slices the acolyte's finger off.

In the air above Morgan's castle, Betsy and Askani float under the star-covered sky. 'What in the hell is going on down there?' Betsy asks telepathically. She tells S.T.R.I.K.E. to settle whatever it is before Morgan catches on, as they need a bit more time. 'Well?' Askani asks. 'I think Pete is picking a fight' Betsy replies, and tells Rachel that she needs to hurry. Rachel reports that she is heading out now, and that it shouldn't take much time once she arrives. 'You're taking Brian and Meggan with you, yes?' Betsy enquires. 'Yep. I hate going without you' Rachel responds telepathically as she kisses Betsy's forehead. They embrace, and Betsy tells Rachel that she will be back soon, then they can go watch her awful shows with that awful dog of hers. 'Oh, don't sound like you'll miss me or something' Rachel smiles. 'Time is of the essence. Go now' Betsy responds telepathically.

'Before I change my mind' Betsy calls out as Rachel flies towards a portal. Rachel turns back and waves at Betsy, before she gets a telepathic message: 'It's Vicki – I was able to keep them away from Pete and keep it quiet. Kevin's got Micromax, and we nabbed Reuben's personal Blightswill ring. But if there are more Coven acolytes there than we expected, we're going to be overwhelmed' Vicki announces. Betsy responds by informing Vicki that she is starting to pick out the acolytes thanks to Tom's mental scan, and sends the locations through to the agents of S.T.R.I.K.E., warning Vicki that it seems that a few of them are on their way to Morgan now.

Indeed, a red-haired acolyte huffs as they run down a corridor, clutching two thick books – but as they round a corner, Ghast is waiting for them, and strikes her down by putting her to sleep, and suggesting she make better choices. Outside, Vicki and Xanth are scaling down one of the towers of the castle. Vicki informs Betsy that they didn't see any other mutant captives, and asks her if she does. Betsy confirms that she does not, and instructs Xanth and Vicki to get Micromax back to safety, then meet up with Fazia, because if she is discovered, she will need backup. Vicki and Xanth reach the ground, and Xanth telepathically informs Betsy that they are out, along with Micromax. 'Scott Wright's podcast can return with another five-hour episode about Dai Thomas' Xanth jokes. 'Great work. See you soon' Betsty responds.

Betsy then telepathically reaches out to the Captain Britain Corps, warning them to stay alert – because if she can't stop Morgan, then there will be bombs falling on her Earth. Betsy flies towards the castle and tells the rest of S.T.R.I.K.E. that she has Morgan in her sights, and that Morgan is drawing guards to her. 'I'm going in' Betsy announces, before she bursts through a window, breaking into the castle and surprising two of Morgan's acolytes. 'You're practically children – I'll hold your minds in my hand and show you where you've gone wrong!' Betsy tells them, although the young Coven Akkaba members are able to resist her. 'How -?' the surprised Betsy gasps. The two acolytes walk towards Betsy, grinning, while boasting that the magic protects them from her witchbreed charms. 'Even you underlings have Blightswill now?!' Betsy exclaims. 'We've got her, my lady!' one of the acolytes calls out, as the two of them trap Betsy in large coils of Blightswill. 'Bastards. This won't last long!' Betsy warns them.

'Now, Elizabeth, be nice to them. They're only doing their jobs' Morgan le Fay remarks as she approaches the now captive Betsy. 'Morgan' Betsy snaps. 'Aren't you ashamed? For all your talk of mutants caring about humans, you've now gone and brought on a war because you've chosen your grudges over the safety of the people of Britain' Morgan remarks, adding that she knew Betsy would. 'Any war is on your hands, Morgan. You don't have to pull the trigger and tell Doctor Doom a thing' Betsy declares, adding that she doesn't need her psychic powers – not to defeat King Arthur, and not to talk to her. 'Any moment now, my lover will have mobilized thousands of Doombots westward -' Morgan begins, to which Betsy tells her to listen to her, and points out that if Morgan was really for Britain, she won't start a war. 'Wars are not what you remember. In your day, bodies rotting in the fields were good for the soil. But the England of now has known real war' Betsy remarks.

'Bombs make craters of the land. Tanks will move through your precious moors. Do you think this century could make war without irradiating the land of your precious Britain?' Betsy continues. But Morgan tells her not to be foolish, and boasts that she has never been more powerful than she is on this land. Morgan raises a hand above Betsy and energy radiates around her. 'You thought Captain Britain could be without a master – no Merlyn, no Saturnyne, just your previous Corps...and your girlfriend. Where is your Askani now, Captain Britain?' Morgan asks, noting that Askani has sworn herself to the Sacred Timeline, even if that means letting Betsy die. Betsy screams as the energy attacks her, and Morgan leans in and tells her to speak up. 'Last words' she adds. 'You promised – Furies – war – and didn't deliver – now  they're hungry for it' Betsy utters.

Meanwhile, at Infuri, the land of the Everforge. 'Mutants. Begone. Morgan Le Fay reneged on our agreement, and we are not interested in your Earth's squabbles' the Forgemaster Federal announces, standing in front of Askani, Captain Avalon and Meggan. Askani then tells the Forgemaster that if he is looking for a real challenge, she thinks he will be pleased with what they have to offer. Askani then drops Morgan's Fury onto the ground before the Forgemaster, offering him as a gift. 'As warriors, I assume you want to reclaim your own casulties. At the very least, for the intelligence risk' Askani suggests. As other Furies move forward to collect Morgan's Fury, the Forgemaster states that they will destroy him for his weakness. 'What next?' the Forgemaster asks the mutants. 'You were promised a war that might not happen. But I understand you aren't exactly picky as long as there's something big and super-powered for you to hunt?' Askani smirks.

Back in Morgan's castle, Morgan grabs Betsy by her face and declares that she should have ended this the first time that she came to her, before she was even Captain Britain. 'I should have forgotten your brother and made you kneel to me...or put you down like a dog' Morgan snaps, before boasting that there is no more to be done, and that Doom has already launched his forces. 'His Doombots will -' Morgan begins, before Betsy interupts her: 'Fail!' she exclaims, informing Morgan that Askani went to offer the Furies the war that they wanted. Indeed, as the Furies arrive in Latveria, where they drop down on the Doombots who launch into the air. 'Your Blightswill can suppress my psychic powers – but not the gifts of Captain Britain!' Betsy declares as she raises her Starlight Sword and uses it to break the Blightswill bonds trapping her.

One of Coven Akkaba acolytes screams in fear, before Morgan orders him to kill Captain Britain. 'Or face my wrath' she threatens. Betsy responds by kicking the acolyte into the other, knocking them both over. 'The strength. The speed. The sword. Those are mine. They belong to Captain Britain via this Starlight Sword, and no counterfeit of yours will ever stand against me. This land will choose its own protectors' Captain Britain announces as she holds the Starlight Sword towards Morgan, who raises her hands. 'Now do you want to be truly connected to this land or not, Morgan Le Fay?' Captain Britain asks. 'The Britain of now' she adds. 'Y-yes. Yes. Yes, give it to me' Morgan responds, somewhat hesitantly. 'No. Give yourself over to it' Captain Britain responds as she shoves the Starlight Sword into Morgan's chest. 'Aaaah – mother -!' Morgan gasps as her head rolls back and eyes begin to glow.

Outside the castle, Dr. Fazia Hussain holds her own sword, Excalibur, above her head. Xanth and Rubedo stand at her side for protection. Excalibur glows, and energy courses upwards as Fazia utters that she can feel it, and that Excalibur is alight. 'Now, Fazia!' Betsy telepathically calls out. 'Aye, aye, Captain!' Fazia responds, before she plunges the sword into the ground, causing it to glow. At that moment, Askani, Captain Avalon and Meggan arrive and fly into Morgan's castle. 'Betsy, Bets! Did it work? Are you there?' Askani calls out, while Meggan flies behind her, asking her to slow down. They find Betsy standing before Morgan, who is glowing like the land outside her castle. 'There you have it, Morgan. Britain...Excalibur forgave you and changed you. You're linked to the land again...whether you like it or not' Betsy announces. Clutching her head, Morgan utters '...I can hear the land again... so pure'.

Some days later, the Braddock Academy Interest Fair is underway. Betsy maskes her way through the crowds of people while talking to Tony Stark on the phone, she tells him that she doesn't know if this is a secure line. 'Oh, you made it one? That's useful' Betsy tells him, before informing him that she is at an event, she asks him if she can call him back. Betsy confirms that she will share anything the Furies tell her about Doombot capabilities with the Avengers, before revealing that Morgan is healing, and explains that Fazia Hussain used Excalibur to link her to the land – and she thinks it will be good for both of them – the land and Morgan. 'We can hope' she adds, while in her castle, Morgan reclines on a sofa, she opens her eyes, markings glow around them. Betsy then waves to Rachel, who walks towards her with Amazing Baby and Betsy lies to Tony, telling him that she is getting another call.

'You look pretty. Talking to the Avengers. Real flag-hero $#&%' Rachel remarks as Betsy puts her phone into her purse. 'Ugh. Don't' Betsy complains, before Meggan calls out to them both. Betsy and Rachel walk over to Meggan and Brian, their daughter Maggie and Brian and Betsy's brother, Jamie. Meggan remarks that she just wanted to get them all together, and doesn't care if they toast or take a picture. She adds that she is glad they haven't torn each other apart yet living here, as she loves having the family close and hopes that they can keep it that way. 'I agree!' Jamie declares, raising a champagne glass. 'Oh, do shut up' Betsy tells her older brother, before turning to her twin and asking him if he is restarting the Braddock Academy, and whether she is going to have to teach more classes. 'I don't do mornings' Betsy tells him. 'Wouldn't dream of asking' Brian responds, before asking Betsy if he can request quarterly guest lectures.

Suddenly, Betsy receives a telepathic call from one of her Corps members, advising her that the Violet Swan and Elspeth Braddock have been captured on Earth-10248. 'Duty calls. The Corps needs me' Betsy tells her family. 'Ah yes – go, go! The Multiverse needs you!' Brian tells his sister. 'You understand' Betsy smiles as she and Askani take flight, the sun glowing behind them. Brian smiles at his sister and tells her that he does understand – and that he is so proud it's in her hands.

Characters Involved: 

Captain Britain II


Captain Avalon



Pete Wisdom

Dr. Fazia Hussain/Excalibur

Albedo, Ghast, Rubedo, Xanth (all S.T.R.I.K.E)


Maggie Braddock

Amazing Baby


Lady Morgan Le Fay


Forgemaster Federal




Coven Akkaba


Story Notes: 

Betsy and Micromax appeared on television together in Betsy Braddock: Captain Britain #1.

This issue includes a S.T.R.I.K.E. personnel mission sheet and notes the team's objectives to infiltrate Morgan's manor, free all mutant prisoners, hold Morgan in custody – and avoid a European war with Latveria.

The Avengers battled the Fury in Betsy Braddock: Captain Britain #4.

Xanth refers to Micromax's podcast doing a five-hour episode about Dai Thomas. Inspector Dai Thomas is a longtime supporting character of Captain Britain, appearing in numerous Marvel UK comics, before transitioning to become a supporting character throughout Excalibur (1st series). He also appeared in the Knights of the Pendragon series, and made his most recent appearances during the “Revolutionary War” comics of 2014.

Despite members of the Captain Britain Corps appearing on the cover to this issue, none physically appear in the issue itself.

This issue includes a note from Betsy Braddock to her faithful Captain Britain Corps.

Despite this series concluding before the events of the X-Men Hellfire Gala 2023 issue, and the wider “Fall of X” event, none of the extended cast appear throughout the Hellfire Gala or the event, nor are they referenced. However, Betsy (in her Lady Mandarin costume) and Rachel (in her Hound costume) appear in promotional artwork for the 2024 Fall of the House of X and Rise of the Powers of X event.

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