Betsy Braddock has had a big year. As the first female character to wear the mantle of Captain Britain, Betsy has been busy for the past few years safeguarding the fantasy aspects of the Marvel Universe. But the 2022 miniseries Knights of X by writer Tini Howard and artist Bob Quinn took her to a new level as the leader of a covert team tasked with saving Avalon from an evil wizard. Betsy didn't just succeed in that quest; she also finally embraced her romantic feelings for Rachel Summers.
In 2023, Betsy's adventures will continue with the new solo comic Betsy Braddock: Captain Britain, written by Howard with art by Vasco Georgiev. Howard tells EW that Betsy will be taking a break from leading teams like Excalibur and the Knights of X, instead focusing on the home front and figuring out exactly what it means for her to be Captain Britain.
"Knights was what I called Betsy's The Witcher phase. She was in her cool leather, she was kicking ass," Howard says. "Now we're putting her back in the Excalibur costume, we're bringing her back to the United Kingdom, and we're having her really confront this idea that 'alright, you want to be Captain Britain? Some people don't want you to wear that title. So if you're gonna wear it, you have to be here to defend it.' You can't just be one of those guys who comes in, takes the belt at WrestleMania and then doesn't wrestle again for three years."
The United Kingdom has taken a particularly anti-mutant attitude in Marvel comics of late, cutting off diplomatic ties with the mutant nation of Krakoa — which neatly parallels the real-life U.K. exit from European Union. If Betsy's going to win over the British public to supporting a mutant Captain Britain atmosphere, she has a lot of work to do.
Luckily, she's got allies. Even though the title character will be front and center in Betsy Braddock: Captain Britain, her new girlfriend is also along for the ride.
"First of all, it's really exciting to finally be able to say, 'okay they're in a relationship,'" Howard says of Betsy and Rachel. "They're staying together. But the fact is, they both work really hard jobs and they probably don't have as much time to sit around and catch up on Bake Off or whatever. So it's really important to balance that stress. This has always been the thing for Betsy: You have the thing you want, but can you let yourself enjoy it? That's a very Betsy thing, to think 'maybe I don't deserve this.'"
Howard continues, "Rachel's coming from a very different place. Rachel's been more comfortable with who she is for a long time, and has known how she felt about Betsy and accepted it. I think there's going to be a bit of Rachel having to be patient with her girlfriend, and Betsy having to be patient with her girlfriend right back, but that's good, right? To me, the reason we get characters together is not just to watch them kiss, it's to watch them struggle a bit and then kiss again."
Betsy will also have a new ally — another female British superhero taking on the legendary mantle of a male character. That's right: In the second issue of the new series, Captain Britain will cross paths with Captain Carter.
Howard is a fan of both the What If…? animated series, whose first episode introduced Captain Carter (Peggy Carter with the powers of Captain America) to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the recent Captain Carter miniseries by Jamie McKelvie and Marika Cresta. That comic even featured an alternate universe version of Betsy Braddock as an important supporting character — expect Howard to build on that.
"I just simply couldn't help myself," Howard says. "Sometimes you do form stories around that idea that if you google 'Captain Britain,' you'll get pictures of Betsy and pictures of Brian, but also [MCU Peggy Carter actor] Hayley Atwell. That visual of her as Captain Britain is so powerful. Wouldn't someone want that?"
Betsy Braddock: Captain Britain #1 hits stores in February.