SUPER SPY WEEKEND: Spitfire

Sat, March 8th, 2008 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Dave Richards, Staff Writer

Spitfire sketches by series artist Leonard Kirk.
Earlier today, in Part II of SUPER SPY WEEKEND, our extended look at the cast of Marvel Comics' new series "Captain Britain and MI:13," writer Paul Cornell joined CBR News to profile the team's resident shape shifter, John the Skrull. Now, Cornell is back for Part IV to help us examine England's fastest woman, Lady Jacqueline Falsworth-Crichton, better known as Spitfire.

The daughter of the original Union Jack, Spitfire has been a costumed hero off and on since World War II, having acquired super speed thanks to a blood transfusion from the original Human Torch. In her time, she's endured some terrible things; experiences that have shaped her into a highly capable hero but also affected her personality; experiences like the murder of her husband by their own son. "She's professional, hard, direct, a little emotionally brittle. She's the female version of British grace under pressure," Cornell told CBR News. "Which means she's very dangerous. She'll carefully and thoughtfully do whatever she needs to do to get the job done, because she's seen her family and friends ripped apart by everything from Nazis to vampires."

A decidedly senior citizen, Lady Falsworth-Crichton retired from the superhero scene after the war, but regained her youth after a second blood transfusion courtesy of the Human Torch, giving her something in common with a similarly temporally displaced American icon. "She's hugely informed by her wartime experience, a newly young veteran like Steve Rogers was," Cornell said. "Her formative years were about dancehalls and swing bands. A 1940s tone of voice sometimes surfaces, but she's also lived through time since then, and has enjoyed being young now, too. She's a brilliantly deep character, full of opposites. When her duty is done, then we'll start seeing all sorts of sides she's going to have difficulty coping with. And there's a big, terrifying romance coming up, of course."

Having lived through World War II means Spitfire saw her country endure the devastating aerial bombardment of the Nazi Blitz on England. When the Skrull launch their assault on England, they inadvertently stir up a hornet's nest of bad memories for Spitfire. "She's made some hard choices in order to face the Skrull invasion, because an invasion of British soil is her worst nightmare, in a way those born in the generations after World War II can't really grasp," Cornell explained. "Those choices have put her somewhere difficult, and we'll explore that in future issues."

Her ability to make difficult choices immediately wins Spitfire the respect of MI-13 leader Pete Wisdom. "She and Pete are right on the same page when it comes to duty. She's his good soldier, the other intelligence professional in the group," Cornell said. "They can be as thick as thieves sometimes. When he discovers what she's done to herself for the sake of the nation, Pete won't even blink: he'd do the same himself."

Spitfire has seen a lot of things over the course of her heroic career but most recently it seems to be death. She recently lost her good friend, the original Human Torch, Jim Hammond, and the murder of her former comrade and friend Steve Rogers also deeply affected her. "They've chipped away at her warmer side," Cornell said. "The world seems very dangerous to Jac right now.

"I really liked the offhandedly modern version of Jac that Ed Brubaker developed in 'Captain America.' I liked her emotional distance too." Cornell continued. "After all she's been through, all the different times and people she's been tangled up with, Jac's bound to be complicated. Duty and service can get you through that, to a point. But she's also started to need other things now. Horrifying things."

Come back tomorrow for two more MI-13 Agent profiles as CBR'S SUPER SPY WEEKEND continues with looks at Pete Wisdom and Faisa Hussain!

Now discuss this story in CBR's Marvel Comics forum.

 
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