WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Avengers #11 by Jason Aaron, Ed McGuinness, Cory Smith, Mark Morales, Scott Hanna, Karl Kesel, Erick Arciniega and Cory Peti, on sale now.
If you live in the UK right now, Brexit is unavoidable. Perhaps the biggest political issue to hit Britain in decades, the withdrawal of the country from the European Union has been in the news and in the lives of the British public, not to mention the rest of the world, since the General Referendum passed in 2016. It makes sense, then, that Captain Britain, the UK’s greatest superhero, would have an opinion on the controversial political topic, as revealed in this week’s Avengers #11.
While it was never before revealed that the version of the UK from Earth 616 was going through its own Brexit, Marvel has always tried to reflect the “world outside your window.” With previous comics showing everything from Spider-Man meeting Obama to the Avengers appearing on David Letterman, it makes sense that what’s happening in the real world right now is happening in the lives of our favorite superheroes as well.
As a further reflection of our current political climate, the latest issue of Avengers sees Black Panther -- the newly appointed Chairman of the Avengers -- bringing together a council of representatives from all over the world to discuss a unified plan to deal with global crises. The subject of political representation is a hot topic in this iteration of the title, with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes no longer representing the interests of the United States, but instead being free agents out to protect the world. America’s response to this has been to assemble its own team to rival the Avengers, called the Squadron Supreme of America. Along with Russia’s Winter Guard and the Defenders of the Deep representing Atlantis, it seems like, now more than ever, the nations of the Marvel U are growing more divided.
T’Challa aims to solve that by bringing together a group of superheroes from all over the world, calling it an International Super-Summit. Representatives from China, Japan, Canada, Israel, Palestine, Russia and the UK are all present, and as they discuss the idea of joining forces and sharing resources, intelligence, and ideas, Captain Britain weighs in. He states clearly that if Black Panther is willing to put the past aside so that they can all build a better future together, then “Captain Britain sure as bloody hell doesn’t want to be left out.” Quietly, he follows up with “please, no Brexit jokes.”
Not only does this prove that Brexit exists in the Marvel Universe, but when Captain Britain eagerly jumps at the chance to be a part of an international community sharing information and resources, his political leanings seem clear. By withdrawing from the EU, the UK is removing itself from an international community, one that's similar to what Black Panther is attempting to build -- an alliance Captain Britain clearly wants to be a part of.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to fans of the character. Created in 1976 for Marvel’s UK weekly comics, Brian Braddock has always been a part of a wider community, being a member of the multiversal Captain Britain Corps since the early ‘80s. One of his original writers, Chris Claremont, has also gone on record to state that Captain Britain would fight to remain in the EU. His offhand remark about Brexit in Avengers #11 proves Captain Britain understands the irony of his feelings, but the determination of his words makes it clear that while his home nation is currently withdrawing from the world, he wants to remain a part of the greater whole.