Union Jack (Joseph Chapman)

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Union Jack

Cover art for Union Jack #1.
Art by Mike Perkins.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Captain America vol. 1 #253
Created by Roger Stern
John Byrne
In-story information
Alter ego Joseph "Joe" Chapman
Team affiliations Knights of Pendragon
New Invaders
MI5
Invaders
Abilities Mystically enhanced strength, speed, and endurance; martial arts and hand-to-hand combatant; highly skilled with a knife and handgun.

Union Jack (Joseph "Joey" Chapman) is a fictional character in the Marvel Universe and the third person to take on the role of Union Jack. He first appeared in Captain America #253 (January, 1980).

Publication history[edit]

After a few appearances as a guest character in the mainstream Marvel line of comic books (Captain America, Namor, Marvel Comics Presents), Chapman would be a major character in the Marvel UK comic book series, Knights of Pendragon, alongside Captain Britain, Kate McClellan and Dai Thomas. The series would run between 1991 (volume 1 #1-18) and 1992-1993 (volume 2 #1-15).

Chapman has appeared in two limited comic book miniseries. Creators Ben Raab and John Cassaday depict Chapman's fight against a sect of vampires in the 1999 three-part mini-series, Union Jack.

Chapman stars in yet another self-titled mini-series in late 2006, spun off from his appearance in Ed Brubaker's run on Captain America, written by Christos Gage[1] with pencils and inks by Mike Perkins[2] and Andrew Hennesy, respectively.

The character would then make brief appearances alongside Spitfire in Captain Britain & MI:13 #5 and 13, before becoming a member of a re-formed Invaders in Invaders Now.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Origin[edit]

Chapman's incarnation as the current Union Jack is unique in the fact that he is not a member of the Falsworth line or part of any British aristocratic family. Rather, Joey Chapman is an art student and the working class son of a shipbuilder, born in Manchester, England. Chapman was visiting his friend Kenneth Crichton, the grandson of the original Union Jack, Lord James Montgomery Falsworth, when he learned of Baron Blood, who was conducting a revenge campaign against his old family at that time, and donned the Union Jack costume to become an adventurer and help Captain America fight the vampire.[3] Since Kenneth refused to adopt the identity of the Union Jack, and due to his instrumental contribution in defeating Blood, Chapman was allowed to keep the costume and carry on the tradition.[4] With a bullet resistant costume, Chapman usually carries a gun of some variety (changing it as appropriate to the mission) and a silver-edged dagger used for supernatural foes.

Chapman is also one of the heroes teleported from Earth to Battleworld when the Grandmaster took all the heroes of Earth for the Contest of Champions.[5] Upon his return to Earth he would stop a group of his anti-establishment friends from defacing Falsworth Manor.[6] He would also help save Namor alongside his future girlfriend Jacqueline Crichton and Namor's cousin, Namorita from neo-Nazis, having to battle Master Man and Warrior Woman in the process.[7]

Knights of Pendragon[edit]

Chapman would later become possessed by the Pendragon spirit and healed of his injuries. He appeared at Kate McClellan's London apartment.[8] As Union Jack he adopted a new costume, and alongside Kate McClellan and Captain Britain, failed to prevent the kidnapping of Kate's son, Cam by Bane.[9] Alongside Captain Britain and Kate, he battled the minions of the Bane. He conferred with Kate, Ben Gallagher, and Peter Hunter; with them, he was attacked by the Bane in Kent. He also joins the other Pendragons in the search for the Holy Grail at Kitsford tumnus,[10] and fight fellow Pendragon, Iron Man. With Iron Man, Captain Britain, and the Knights of Pendragon, he battles the Bane, and freed Cam McClellan. After the battle, the Pendragons are formed, establishing the Pendragon base at Camelaird Farm.[11] Chapman then encounters Mister Fantastic, Invisible Woman and Black Panther; with them, Kate McClellan, and Ben Gallagher, he battled the Bane in Africa. Alongside the Black Panther, he battled Bane ninjas and traveled to Hong Kong where he transforms Dolph and is then killed by Dolph.[12] Chapman would later wake at Avalon, resurrected with the other Pendragons, where the Pendragons battle and finally stopped the Bane.[13]

Later, while making a public appearance at Stark's Questworld, Chapman had no choice but to battle malfunctioning robots[14] where he received a new armor[15] which would later evolve into a new stronger mystical armour.[16] Life as a Pendragon didn't get any easier as he fought Magpie,[17] tried to stop the Cape Wrath Breeder Reactor from overloading[18] and traveled to Arakne where he met and fought with Spider-Man and the Warheads.[19]

When the villainous company Mys-Tech revived his enemy Baron Blood, Chapman infiltrated the company and once again destroyed his foe,[20] inadvertently starting the Mys-Tech wars.[21][22]

Shortly after the defeat of Mys-Tech, Chapman, alongside the Pendragons fought Death's Head/Minion, Magpie and the Lemurians of Earth-313.[23] Upon the villains defeat, the Pendragons disbanded[24] and Chapman would revert to his classic costume.

Post-Pendragons[edit]

After the Pendragons disbanded, Chapman carries on protecting Britain. However, he failed to prevent Baroness Blood from using the Holy Grail to become immune to sunlight,[25] and lost his friend Kenneth Falsworth (the true heir to the Union Jack mantle) from vampirism and death.[26] He was also seen protecting civilians from unnatural winds.[27]

Chapman also protected reporter and ally of Cable, Irene Merryweather from mercenaries of the Hellfire Club.[28] Chapman was seen when the entire Earth was threatened including during the Maximum Security storyline,[29] and when he was being held prisoner, alongside many of Earth's heroes, by Graviton, until they were all saved by the Thunderbolts.[30]

Joey shares a relationship with Romany Wisdom, the sister of X-Men ally Pete Wisdom.[volume & issue needed] Although the relationship ends, Chapman stays in contact with Wisdom as she provides him with vital research on the occult.[volume & issue needed]

New Invaders[edit]

New Invaders #2 cover art, by Scott Kolins

Wearing an updated, militaristic version of his old costume Chapman joins the modern incarnation of the Invaders,[31][32] led by Jim Hammond. Chapman becomes romantically involved with his New Invaders teammate, Spitfire. However, the relationship does not last and they part because of the vast age difference. They still remain good friends and partners. With the Invaders they battle Axis Mundi for the Interceptor, a ship built by the Thin Man,[33] fight Baroness Blood and her minions after they kidnap Spitfire[34] and fight Meranno and his rogue Atlanteans to prevent world flooding.[35] After this battle and his breakup with Spitfire, the Invaders would go their separate ways.[volume & issue needed]

Terrorism in London[edit]

At the request of S.H.I.E.L.D., Chapman would help his good friend Captain America in searching the London Underground for the Red Skull's agents.[36] Chapman, Rogers, Spitfire, and Sharon Carter worked together to prevent neo-Nazis and the Red Skull from devastating London.[37]

Moving on from his vampire hunting days, he leads a makeshift team of heroes - including Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, Sabra and the third Arabian Knight - to defeat a group of super-powered terrorists intent on blowing up London[25]

When Captain America was shot and apparently killed, a notably upset Union Jack spoke a eulogy at his memorial.[38]

MI:13[edit]

Chapman appeared in Captain Britain and MI: 13, as explained by writer Paul Cornell, "One of the great things about this title is that, because all British superheroes are de facto part of MI-13, we can visit disparate parts of the Marvel UK scene without it being a big deal. Joe (not 'Joey', who's called Joey? Okay, kangaroos in Aussie, but apart from that...) is going to want to check in with [his former girlfriend Spitfire] soon. Because they parted amicably, and that's still fine with him. Right?".[39] However, Chapman did not leave MI5 to become part of the permanent team, although he is seen working along Spitfire (who is in MI:13) to clear out a nest of "Sons of the Serpent".[40][41]

Invaders Now[edit]

Union Jack is a member of the Invaders team brought together by a mysterious force. He is the only member of the team who didn't serve in World War II (Brian Falsworth served as Union Jack at that time).[42]

Ends of the Earth[edit]

During the Ends of the Earth storyline, Joseph is among the heroes that Spider-Man enlists to attack on the facilities that Doctor Octopus had constructed.[43] Joseph enters one of the facilities and fights a bunch of Octobots.[44]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Like those who held the title of Union Jack before him, Joey Chapman is an athlete in peak physical condition. He carries on the Union Jack tradition by using a Webley .455 revolver (though often uses other pistols depending on the mission he is completing) and a silver dagger which he uses for supernatural foes. His costume is also bullet-resistant.

For a time, Chapman was possessed by the spirit of the Pendragon (in this case, Sir Lancelot), enhancing his strength, speed, and endurance, and providing him with superhuman sensory acuity, as well as giving him the ability to sense the presence of agents of the Bane and to recognize them as such despite disguises, and access to knowledge of past incarnations of the Pendragon.[volume & issue needed] He also wore a suit of magical/cybernetic exoskeleton armor composed of unknown materials that increased his strength to superhuman levels. He carried a 6' striking staff of unknown materials. Chapman could also ride Beryl, a computerized motorcycle-like vehicle equipped with extensive information databanks, recording memory files, radiation detectors, tracking sensors, automated navigation system, medical analysis instruments, remote guidance system, and the capacity for inter-dimensional travel. All of this equipment was provided by the Green Chapel, of the dimension of Avalon.

Since being possessed by the Pendragon, he has retained a portion of the powers it endowed him, to low superhuman levels.

Collected editions[edit]

Joseph Chapman's major appearances have been collected in a number of trade paperbacks:

In other media[edit]

Film[edit]

Video games[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Battler of Britain: Gage talks "Union Jack", Comic Book Resources, May 17, 2006
  2. ^ Rule Britannia: Perkins talks "Union Jack", Comic Book Resources, May 30, 2006
  3. ^ Captain America vol. 1 #253-254
  4. ^ Captain America vol. 1 #254
  5. ^ Marvel Super Heroes Contest of Champions
  6. ^ Marvel Comics Presents #42
  7. ^ Namor: The Sub-Mariner #12
  8. ^ Knights of Pendragon vol. 1 #7
  9. ^ Knights of Pendragon vol. 1 #8
  10. ^ Knights of Pendragon vol. 1 #10
  11. ^ Knights of Pendragon vol. 1 #11-12
  12. ^ Knights of Pendragon vol. 1 #14-15
  13. ^ Knights of Pendragon vol. 1 #17-18
  14. ^ Knights of Pendragon vol. 2 #1
  15. ^ Knights of Pendragon vol. 2 #2
  16. ^ Knights of Pendragon vol. 2 #5
  17. ^ Knights of Pendragon vol. 2 #3
  18. ^ Knights of Pendragon vol. 2 #4
  19. ^ Knights of Pendragon vol. 2 #9
  20. ^ Knights of Pendragon vol. 2 #11
  21. ^ Knights of Pendragon vol. 2 #12
  22. ^ Mys-Tech Wars #1
  23. ^ Knights of Pendragon vol. 2 #13
  24. ^ Knights of Pendragon vol. 2 #15
  25. ^ a b Union Jack vol. 2 #1
  26. ^ Union Jack vol. 2 #3
  27. ^ Thunderbolts vol. 1 #25
  28. ^ X-Men: The Hellfire Club #3
  29. ^ Maximum Security #2
  30. ^ Thunderbolts vol. 1 #57
  31. ^ Avengers vol. 3 #82
  32. ^ New Invaders #0
  33. ^ New Invaders #2
  34. ^ New Invaders #4
  35. ^ New Invaders #8
  36. ^ Captain America vol. 5 #3
  37. ^ Captain America vol. 5 #21
  38. ^ Captain America vol. 4 #50
  39. ^ Defense of the Realms: Cornell on "Captain Britain and MI:13", Comic Book Resources, May 15, 2008
  40. ^ Captain Britain and MI: 13 #5
  41. ^ And Hell Followed: Cornell talks Captain Britain & MI:13, Comic Book Resources, September 12, 2008
  42. ^ Invaders Now #1
  43. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #685
  44. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man: Ends of the Earth #1
  45. ^ "LEGO Marvel Super Heroes - #EGX 2013". Retrieved 28 September 2013. 

External links[edit]

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