Monday, 20 May 2013

Union Jack - London Falling Graphic Novel

Union Jack London Falling, written by Christos Gage (Iron Man) and illustrated by Mike Perkins (Captain America) collects Union Jack issues 1-4, released in 2007.

This story is told at the time of the Civil War event in the big wide world of the Marvel Universe. I always wondered how other countries sat when this whole Civil War event was happening, with everything happening in America, and no indication of how much influence Stark had on the hero community in general. After reading this graphic novel, I would presume the registration act didn't extend further than America's borders. There is a reference to Nick Fury being 'underground', but no real emphasis on the Civil War itself.

This was the first graphic novel where Union Jack was the main star, not just a supporting character, which is the usual lot for him, playing guest star to Captain Britain, The Invaders, and not forgetting The Knights of Pendragon.

In this graphic novel you'll find Union Jack, not fighting Vampires, but facing real, known villains, although at the start he's facing off against some Vamps. You couldn't have a Union Jack story without at least one Vampire in it!

The basis for this story is that 'wolverine' decimated the ranks of Hydra leaving a power vacuum in the villain community, which R.A.I.D. (Radically Advanced Ideas in Destruction), a splinter cell of Aim, want to fill, and they decide the way to show their might is by hiring a string of mercenaries to attack certain landmarks in  London.

MI6 get wind of the plot and get Union Jack to help them save London from these terrorists, with a little help from a few other international heroes from other countries, because Captain Britain, Micromax, The Avengers and the Fantastic Four are all on their own missions, so no help is arriving from the big hitters. So it's Union Jack, former S.H.I.E.L.D Deputy Director Contessa Allegra Valentina De La Fontaine, Sabra from Israel, and the new Arabian Knight from Saudi Arabia.

This tale is a real good old bog-standard hero versus villain fight to the finish with Union Jack taking on a lot of the villains single-handed, and winning, with the highlight being his fight with Jack-O-Lantern, Shockwave, and Jackhammer in a flooded underground. He even helps out the other heroes in his little band to defeat their own foes. In fact, he takes out more villains on his own than the other heroes put together, plus he has to fight Sabra, Arabian Knight, and Val who are being controlled by The Controller.

Obviously he manages to beat them all, so job done, well not quite, there's still one more villain to best! This villain turns out to be a uber-sized Dreadnaught, who's having a whale of a time smashing up Trafalgar Square.

The heroes take a bit of a battering, even Sabra with her super strength, and Union Jack is smashed against a building. He's battered, and bruised, and really shouldn't be standing, but he refuses to give in. This is cue for a few cheesy moments, moments akin to the scene in the recent Spider-Man movie where all the crane drivers in New York line their crane arms up so Spidey can swing through the streets to reach the lizard. Oh how I cringed at that scene, but in this graphic novel it seemed to fit, and was more fun than cringe.

This story seemed to serve the purpose of portraying Union Jack as the British hero of the people, which was summed up in the next few panels. The Dreadnaught is about to zap Union Jack when out of nowhere a wrecking ball smacks him in the chin.

What makes this so funny is the old man who's talking like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins, then ends the sentence with 'Innit'. All he needed to add was 'Wicked'. This is then followed by Union Jack picking up a fallen flag pole which has a Union Jack attached to it, which he then and rams into a wound inflicted by Sabra, and Arabian Knight, exposing liquid nitrogen inside the armour, all said with a nice cheesy line.

Job done, and that's pretty much it, apart from Union Jack realising that it's all been the masterplan of the MI6 member who contacted him in the first place, and exposing him to the press.

I really enjoyed this one, it set Union Jack up as a hero in his own right, not one in the shadow of Captain Britain. A real hero, one to represent the average man on the street, with Joey Chapman being the son of a dock worker. As I've already said it was a fun romp, and not to be taken too seriously.

I want more Union Jack, and how cool would it be if you had Union Jack teaming up with Captain Britain, but not the Captain Britain we all know and love now, but the original 1970's version with the red costume and lion on his chest. Hey it's comics, anything is possible, a time travel story isn't impossible.


  1. I loved working on these comics and Christos and I had more plans for future tales but, alas, it was not to be.

    Union Jack has always been one of my favourite characters and there's so much more to explore.

    Maybe one day...

    1. Hi Mike,
      Thanks for popping by.

      I loved this story, Union Jack is such a great character, so much more could be done with him.

      Was a script ever written for future planned stories, or was it just conversation?