Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U: Union Jack!


Sub Mariner, The (original) Human Torch, Spitfire, Captain America, Union Jack

is for Union Jack.

Created by writer Roy Thomas and artist Frank Robbins, Union Jack first appeared in Marvel Comics The Invaders #7

Originally an operative for the British government, Lord James Montgomery Falsworth was first active during World War I as Union Jack. It was during this time that he first encounters a skinny saboteur named Baron Blood....a vampire working for the Germans.

During World War II, Union Jack was active again, this time joining The Invaders after the original Human Torch saves his daughter's life via a blood transfusion after another run in with Baron Blood. The transfusion giving Jaqueline Falsworth the power of super speed which she uses while adopting the costumed identity of Spitfire.

After the attack, James finds out the Baron Blood is really his brother, John. A battle ensues and Blood crushes Jame's legs, ending his career as a crime fighter. James retaliates by impaling his brother on a silver veined stalagmite and ending the threat of Baron Blood...for the moment. After this, he quits the Invaders, but still travels with his daughter in a wheelchair before officially retiring after his son (who James had recently passed the mantle of Union Jack on to) is killed in a car wreck.



Many years later, Falsworth contacts Captain America to aid him in destroying Baron Blood...again. Come on, you didn't really think the Baron was gone....did you? After this adventure James Falsworth, already a very old man, passes away from heart failure. 

James Falsworth possessed no superhuman powers, but was an athletic man trained in espionage as well as armed and unarmed combat. He had a bullet proof costume as well as a six inch dagger and a .455 Webly revolver.

I always thought Union Jack was a pretty cool character because, mainly, back then you didn't see a lot of heroes that weren't "American". Jack and Spitfire brought an English slant to many of the Invader's stories that I used to find fascinating. Being such a huge Invaders fan, it was neat to see heroes from other countries pop up...which happened quite a bit in their book.

Tomorrow we go back to the Great White North for another obscure hero....eh?

46 comments:

Annalisa Crawford said...

I hope he didn't wear the Union flag when he was an operative - wouldn't that have given him away somewhat? :-)

Jeremy [Retro] said...

somewhere i have jack as an action figure... now i need to know if it's him or some other flag carrying super hero?

Cynthia said...

I'm all for diversity in the world of action heroes.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Union Jack is a true go-getter. Talk about not being a quitter, damn.

Empty Nest Insider said...

I never heard of Union Jack before, but he sounds like someone I'd want on my side.

Julie

Manzanita said...

Between WW1 and WW2, I'm happy to see that Union Jack had other activities besides fighting crime, ergo 2 kids.

S.P. Bowers said...

wow, that's a lot of drama. It is nice to see other cultures come into the superhero field.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Maybe a little garlic or Holy water on the stalagmite would've helped?

Dani said...

I love the history and info you give on each one. I learn a little something each time!

Dee said...

I got a bit confused. I thought he was in a wheelchair already but why was he standing in the comic with Capt America?

jaybird said...

YAY for the Brit hero. This is a cool one I can really get behind.

Andrew Leon said...

Now, I'm going to feel compelled to go look up "V" characters.

Julie Flanders said...

Very cool. I love the idea of a Superhero speaking in a posh Brit accent LOL.

Mark Means said...

@Annalisa: Well, I'm not sure just how 'covert' he was supposed to be, but I think he did wear the costume :)

@Jeremy: Actually, I've seen quite a few UJ figures on the internet. I never realized he was so popular in toy form.

@Cynthia: I agree and think it makes for a more interesting character dynamic :)

@Sheena: I know, even being paralyzed can't keep him down!!

@Julie: I would agree!

@Manzanita: lol...yeah, I guess he wasn't -all- business :)

@S.P.: Heh, yep, comic books can be a 'soap opera' at times :)

@Alex: True, but I'm not sure even that could have kept a villain like the Baron down :)

@Dani: Thank you!

@Dee: Great question, actually. I remember that used to be one of my biggest gripes about comic books, when I was younger, the fact that what happened on the cover didn't always reflect what happened on the pages inside. I think, in this case, though, (because I used to have this issue)..if I remember correctly, Union Jack had, somehow, regained a little bit of mobility in his legs. It wasn't much, but was enough for him give Cap a hand in defeating Baron Blood.

@jaybird: I always liked the Brit heroes, too. They just seemed classier :)

@Andrew: Heh, well I'm sure it won't be a hard for one to figure out if you got my clue. Don't tell though! :)

Mark Means said...

@Julie: Hehe, I know..he sounded more cultured while punching the bad guy in the snoot :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

Union Jack sounds like a cool character! I know this sounds terribly American-egotistical, but I had no idea that there were other superheroes from outside America - I thought it was a truly American obsession.
Thanks for sharing all these cool characters.

C. Lee McKenzie said...

I can't imagine a worse combination than a vampire who was in league with Germans during WWI.

Suze said...

Mark, I think this was a great topic for a series of posts. I have become more and more interested in Oracle as the days have gone by and I wanted to thank you for inspiring that initial interest!

John Wiswell said...

None of those Cap-era villains ever seem to permanently perish. At worst, you'll probably get Baron Blood's son. But they seem to have cursed Union Jack - I didn't realize his mantle came with so much rough luck.

John at The Bathroom Monologues

Sue McPeak said...

Shades of James Bond. Wonder if Ian Fleming read Marvel Comics. You sure got alot of info in this short review...power surges, vampires, life saving, invasions, bullet proof costumes and invalid super heros. Wow...this story has something for everyone.

My Letter 'U'...UFO Retreat
Sue CollectInTexasGal
AtoZ LoneStar Quilting Bee

Elizabeth Seckman said...

They need to bring Union Jack back. He and Captain America could be trans-Atlantic buddies!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I never thought about most of the superheroes being American, but I guess they were.

Robin said...

Once again, I am going to point out how Patriotism was alive and well during WWI and WWII. They even brought characters over from England that were Flag Carrying Representations of the Best of Their Country. The world was a different place back then...

Pk Hrezo said...

Hmmmm... what will V bring??

And I guess Americans just love their superheroes.

Christine Rains said...

Union Jack is cool. I think I remember seeing a picture of him once, but I love hearing his storyline.

Nicki Elson said...

That's a great name for a superhero! I see you've already found your award at my place. :) It was your A to Z series that made me think of the Superhero question, btw.

Nick Wilford said...

Nice to see some British heroes. He sounds like a thoroughly good egg. Hard life, though.

Whole Foods Living said...

You're right! A British super hero is kind of cool--and different! Neat! Happy A-to-Z 2013! ~Angela, Whole Foods Living, http://www.wholefoodsliving.blogspot.com/

Allison said...

I believe I've said it before--but I love how all these comic characters intersect with each other!

Allison (Geek Banter)

Mark Means said...

@Tyrean: Oh yeah, they've had tons of international type heroes out there. A lot of very cool ones, too :)

@Lee: I know, I think it truly represents how evil the Nazis were.

@Suze: Thank you very much and that's quite a compliment! If you like female heroes, a mini-series my wife really liked, Marvel Divas, might be up your alley, too. Superheroing from a female point of view. Also the Dan Slott run of "She Hulk" was also well done.

@John: Quite a few of those WWII heroes had a rough go of it, but they never stopped fighting :)

@Sue: Hmmm....you never know :)

@Elizabeth: Well, never say 'never' in the Marvel Universe. If the right story comes up, Union Jack could rise again.

@Diane: Most were, yeah....though they did throw some others in for international flair.

@Robin: I totally agree. I miss those times.

@P.K.: Someone cool, I promise :)

@Christine: You probably did see him pop up somewhere...the name spanned a few generations.

@Nicki: I did see that and thank you again...I really appreciate it :) Heh, I thought it might have, but didn't want to just assume. Glad you're enjoying!

@Nick: The Invaders had a bunch of great Brit heroes, if you're ever interested in looking for the back issues :)

@Angela: I agree and thanks :)

@Allison: I think it's always a neat aspect of the comics, when they team up, etc.

Elise Fallson said...

I think they should bring UJ back and make a movie. But mostly because I dig the English accent. (;

mshatch said...

Sad end to his life; legs get crushed, wheelchair, son dies, heart failure. It sure isn't all fun and games being a superhero.

Deborah said...

Cool. I learned something new today. Thank you. I look forward to learning more about this mysterious Northern hero. :)

Deborah (Northern A to Z-er) ;)

Shell Flower said...

Perhaps they were trying to appeal to UK audiences? It's fascinating how many stories involve vampires working for the Germans. I like Spitfire.

Carrie Butler said...

Speaking of "Union," did you ever see the NHL Guardians Stan Lee worked on? http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=549755

Mark Means said...

@Elise: Heh, that's a good a reason as any :)

@mshatch: Yeah, he had a rough go of it.

@Deborah: Thanks for stopping by and soon it will be revealed! :)

@Shell: Yeah, I guess some baddies just go hand in hand :)

@Carrie: I had never seen that before...very cool...thanks! :)

Nancy LaRonda Johnson said...

I do like his costume.

One thing that gets me about your posts - I never knew that superheroes got killed. So many lessons are learned here. Should be taught in school as part of history or philosophy class. At least a college elective. :) Writer’s Mark

Mark Means said...

@Nancy: Oh yeah, they get killed all the time...the trick is making them -stay- dead, lol. I'd take a college course about that, for sure! :)

Rebecca Green Gasper said...

The villains are never really gone...are they? Union Jack sounds like a pretty cool character.

Misha Gericke said...

Just one thing. His name. Is. Awesome.

;-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mark .. well this introduced me to a few characters and resurrections over the 100 year period .. fun to read - and I'd have never have known - I guess one day it might stand me in good stead?! Cheers Hilary

Imogen Elvis said...

An English superhero this time. That makes a change. America seems to be superhero central. it's interesting to see heroes from other countries too.

Melanie Schulz said...

I am amazed at the variety of super heroes there are. I had no idea until your posts. Thank you for sharing.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Another interesting and obscure character... I never hear of this guy before. Then again, I haven't heard of MANY of your featured heroes LOL.

I am getting a good education in comic heroes through you Mark.

Melissa Bradley said...

I loe finding out about all these heroes here. And I especially appreciate you covering some ladies. Thank you, my friend. :)

Lisa said...

I liked him too for the same reasons you did. I like almost anything "British" you know... lol. I only read one or two comics with him in there but I liked his costume a lot.

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