Marvel has created a team of British superheroes and it has divided the internet

Marvel Comics

This week Marvel Comics have unveiled a new team of UK-based superheroes called 'The Union' that will appear in the pages of a huge summer crossover event called 'Empyre.'

The team will have five members, four of which are new creations made especially for this series. They are The Choir from Wales, Kelpie from Scotland, Snakes from Northern Ireland and Britannia, who will lead the group.

The fifth member is a character called Union Jack from England, who first appeared in the pages of Captain America comics in 1981 and has been an ever-present in the comics since then.

In a press release, writer Paul Grist, said:

Forty years ago, Roger Stern and John Byrne introduced a new Union Jack into the pages of Captain America. 

This is the comic I've been waiting 40 years to write! New heroes! New adventures! And a team that's falling apart before it's even begun!

However, while we're sure the comic will be fun and entertaining as most of Marvel's output is, the timing of its release has raised some eyebrows.

With Brexit, less than a month old and the UK seemingly more divided than ever, with Scotland vying for independence and murmurings of Ireland being united once again, this comic hasn't been universally welcomed on Twitter, with many citing Union Jack as being a potentially problematic character in 2020.

A small contingent of fans did say that they thought the idea was 'awesome' but the overwhelming feeling was that the series was ill-judged given the current political climate between the nations of the UK.

It is worth noting that although he isn't in the group Captain Britain remains on the most prominent British superheroes that Marvel has ever created and writers have painted him as far more progressive and liberal than the stereotypical name would suggest.

In the 2013 'Age of Ultron' storyline, Captain Britain, real name Brian Braddock, gave up his mantle to bestow it upon Faiza Hussain, a British Muslim woman, when he was afraid he would die in battle.

It has also been confirmed that Captain Britain would have been anti-Brexit. Chris Claremont who was one of the chief writers who helped create the characters said in a 2016 interview prior to the EU referendum.

He would definitely vote for the UK to stay in Europe. From his perspective, we don’t move ahead by building a wall around our bit of the global village.

He would see it as the point being not to lock people out of the country, but finding a way to make everyone feel welcome whoever they are.

His role is to see the bigger picture and to stand up as an exemplar of things worth fighting for, to foster a sense of commonwealth.

Captain Britain is not about representing an empire, he’s about standing up for everyone and fighting for the betterment of all. That’s not such a bad ethos for a super-hero.

Marvel has even made a point of Braddock's stance on Brexit in the comics. In Avengers #11 dating back to December 2018, Braddock asked his fellow heroes to not make any Brexit jokes after delivering a poignant speech.

So, although on paper the idea of 'The Union' might not present itself as a good idea, writers have proven that they have been willing to show British characters as far more open-minded and inclusive than some of our most prominent figures would like to paint us.

HT Edinburgh Evening News

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