JACKDAW

Real Name: Jackdaw

Identity/Class: Extra-dimensional (Otherworld) Elf

Occupation:  Archer, sidekick

Affiliations: Moondog's elves, Seamus, Captain Britain, the Black Knight/Dane Whitman, the forces of Camelot, Merlyn, King Arthur, the Order of Cthonos 

Enemies: Kharad Dur, Karadoc the Dragonlord, the Stone Man, the Binary Beings, the Crazy Gang, dragons (Ashtoroth, Khârad Dur, Sarafand), the Status Crew, the Fury

Known Relatives: None  

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Initially Otherworld, then Earth 238 

First Appearance:  Incredible Hulk Weekly (U.K.)#57/2 (April 2 1980) 

Powers/Abilities: Excellent archer. Psychic power above normal elf average. He can fire mental bolts or teleport, even between dimensions. With a great deal of effort he can temporarily influence people's mind for a little while. May be able to subtlely alter his appearance (see comments)

History: (bts) Jackdaw fights the Fomorian Wars and works alongside Seamus during the Green Knight's Campaign

(Incredible Hulk Weekly#57/2) High above the ocean in the dimension of Otherworld, Captain Britain and the Black Knight ride on Valinor (the Knight's winged horse) searching for the Tomb of King Arthur. Suddenly they are attacked from above by the dragon Kharad Dur, who knocks Captain Britain off the flying steed. The Knight makes his horse dive, and just manages to catch his fellow hero, but they are in a precarious position, the Captain hanging on to the side of Valinor, when Karadoc, Kharad Dur's master, attacks them from the back of a second dragon.

Suddenly the Captain is surprised as an elf pops his head out of Valinor's saddlebag. He warns the Knight of Kharad Dur flanking them, coming in for another attack while they are preoccupied with Karadoc, then looses a shaft from his bow, putting out Kharad Dur's left eye. Blinded and in pain, Kharad Dur's fiery breath goes astray, incinerating his master and the other dragon. As Kharad Dur exercises the better part of valour and departs, the trio on the winged steed continue their quest for Arthur's Tomb.

(Incredible Hulk Weekly#58/2) Having landed on an island chosen by Captain Britain, the elf insists on accompanying the two men, stating he wishes to find adventure. The Knight is agreeable to this, feeling that his actions against the dragon have won him this right. The elf introduces himself as Jackdaw. Captain Britain meanwhile locates Arthur's resting place, between three large standing stones. But as the Knight confirms this using Excalibur as a diviner, the surface of one of the stones crumbles away, leaving a giant rockman behind. He immediately attacks. Jackdaw cries out a warning, though it comes too late to save the Knight from a stunning blow. As the giant turns its attention to Captain Britain, Jackdaw retreats, realising that his arrows can be of little help in this battle. Using a Dragon Pearl he obtained from a dying dragon a few days before, the Knight is able to see that the two remaining stones are also giants, using mental powers to cage something beneath the earth, but at that moment the original giant returns its focus to him, attacking this time with deadly mind power.

(Incredible Hulk Weekly#59#2) Only the power of the Dragon Pearl allows the Knight to resist this attack, but even with it he is losing, and starts to black out, when another mind joins the fray. It is Jackdaw, whose power, although less than that of a sorcerer, tips the balance. The stone that composes the giant's skin splits, to reveal a man inside, who swiftly crumbles to dust. The Knight praises his small ally, who reveals that he is considered gifted, even among the elves, and that it is because of this that Merlyn sent him to accompany the two heroes. He also mentions that he now has a sore head for his troubles. The battle past, the Knight uses the Dragon Pearl one last time to destroy the remaining standing stones. No longer contained, a figure erupts from the earth, years of decay falling off to reveal the visage of King Arthur, alive once more.

(Incredible Hulk Weekly#60/2) The first thing the revived King does is to magically send Captain Britain off, supposedly to his rightful home, sending Jackdaw with him as he may have need of the elf's special powers.

(Marvel Superheroes#377) Captain Britain and Jackdaw fall through the void, and as they travel Captain Britain's costume magically changes. The time the trip takes is long, and immeasurable.

(Marvel Superheroes#385) As the pair travel, they are unaware that strange binary beings are observing them. The binary beings snatch them for study, Jackdaw, whom they assume to be the "Brain Carrier" of the pair, for dissection, the Captain (the "physical counterpart") for interrogation. Transported into different sections of the aliens' ship, it only takes seconds for Captain Britain to start demolishing things in search of his companion. He forces one of the Brain Carriers to take him to the dissection chamber, where Jackdaw is strapped to a table with a surgeon standing over him. Releasing Jackdaw from captivity the heroes flee, with Jackdaw still too groggy from what he has gone through to use his magic to get them off the ship. Confronted by armed robots Jackdaw and the Captain use stolen laser pistols to cut a devastating swathe through the vessel, and the aliens decide to cut their loses. The aliens transport the two heroes off their ship just as Jackdaw, now somewhat recovered, attempts to do the same with his own power. This combined effect causes time and space to fold in on themselves, trapping the ship in a single moment of time. Returned to just before they were snatched from their journey, neither Captain Britain nor Jackdaw now remember the adventure they just endured.

(Marvel Superheroes#377) Finally the two heroes exit the void, arriving in the middle of a bizarre bank raid being carried out by the Crazy Gang. A fight ensues, with Jackdaw leaping in to help his comrade, jumping on the back of Coco, the clown. The fight moves outside to the street, where Jackdaw uses his mental powers to trick two of the Gang, the Conjurors, to drop their wand guns, which he then steals. The Gang pursue the elf down the street, until Captain Britain blindsides them with weighty bags of coins, knocking them off their feet. With police sirens signalling the arrival of the authorities, the Crazy Gang flee, leaving Captain Britain to inform his ally that something is very wrong with this world.

(Marvel Superheroes#378) The heroes are spotted by the police, who open fire almost immediately. Captain Britain garbs Jackdaw and takes to the air, landing at a rubbish tip where a few questions directed at some tramps soon establishes that this is not the Captain's Earth. When he says as much, Jackdaw tries to downplay this to the tramps, claiming that he had received a recent blow to the head. The tramp sympathetically offers to let him have swig of his bottle, which Captain Britain declines. However Jackdaw snatches the bottle and drinks half of it in one swallow, becoming extremely drunk in seconds. The Captain berates him, and tells him he has to go back to find Merlyn and get some answers. The inebriated elf assures him that inter-dimensional hopping will be no problem for an elf of the Order of Cthonos, and promptly vanishes - only to briefly reappear to claim his hat which he had left behind in his drunken stupor.

(Marvel Superheroes#380) Captain Britain is in conversation with the evolved rat Algernon when Jackdaw returns from his sojourn, still drunk, and now riding a surfboard. The Captain chastises his partner, and refuses to believe he has been to see Merlyn. The sozzled elf then mistakes the rat man for Seamus, an old crony from the days of the Green Knights campaign. Captain Britain has just dragged the overly friendly drunk off poor Algernon when the Avant Guard crash the party. The Guard use their umbrella weapons to send Jackdaw and Britain tumbling into a weird other dimension, but Jackdaw uses his own teleporting abilities to return them to where they were. With the Captain easily overcoming their forces, the Guard try a different tack, using a devolvo-ray to turn first Algernon (whom Jackdaw still thinks is his friend Seamus) back into a normal rat, and then Captain Britain into a chimp.

(Marvel Superheroes#381) Sobered by the sight of his friend being turned into a chimp, Jackdaw attempts to evade the clutches of the Avant Guard and to blast them with his psychic powers. However they are unaffected because their minds are too deep, "like oceans". Too tired to teleport the elf accepts his capture with a wistful glance at his former comrade.

He is taken to the Avant Guard's boss, Saturnyne, and locked into some sort of analysing machine, which classifies him as an "upper primate, variant alpha blue", place of origin "Earth Green Alpha One". Saturnyne attempts to question the elf, but he refuses to talk unless she turns his friend back to a human. Saturnyne explains to him that her mission is to force the development of this backward Earth before it retards the progress of all the others, attempting to win him over, but the elf sticks to his original demand: bring back the Captain. His request proves unnecessary as at that moment the restored hero bursts through the door and takes Saturnyne hostage to force the Avant Guard to release his pointy eared companion. Now freed, Jackdaw suggests to Britain that perhaps Saturnyne's cause might be a worthy one. Before they can make any final decision on the matter, Earth 238's ruthless defenders, the Status Crew, break in through the roof.

(Marvel Superheroes#382) Battle ensues, but when one of the Status Crew aims a bazooka at Captain Britain while he is temporarily stunned, Jackdaw interposes himself, and appears to be blown up.

(Marvel Superheroes#383) Sometime later, when the battle with the Status Crew has ended, Captain Britain wanders the streets of the bleak and twisted London. He finds some solace in making a young child's dreams of magic come true by flying her across the night sky. And in Otherworld King Arthur, Merlyn and an injured Jackdaw watch him do so.

(Marvel Superheroes#386) Captain Britain is arguing with one of the Avant Guard, who is refusing to help him prevent a street fight, when Jackdaw returns. His arm still in a sling, and with a bandage around his temple, he is now clad in a caped superhero outfit (embossed on the chest and back of the cape with a letter J). He claims to have teleported out of the way of the explosion at the last second (in fact he has been in Otherworld, but Merlyn told him not to divulge this), and tells Captain Britain he has a plan to stop the fight.

While Captain Britain tries to delay the imminent scrap, Jackdaw teleports off and returns with a tea trolley, offering cuppas. The angry crowd is unimpressed, and it takes a major dose of his mental powers to push the people present into drinking the brew, which is not tea, but rather the evolutionary fluid being used by Saturnyne's people to advance this world. Exposed to the fluid, the two sides settle their differences amicably, while the two heroes return to Saturnyne's base for the final phase of the Push. All seems to be going well, and the extradimensional crew are having celebratory drinks when suddenly the world goes mad. It is the start of the Jaspers Warp.

(Marvel Superheroes#387) Everyone is forced to evacuate the base, outside of which they are confronted by the Status Crew and the Fury, a killing machine designed to eradicate superheroes. Jackdaw watches stunned as it takes Captain Britain's best shot without effort. In spite of the elf's protests that she cannot abandon them, Saturnyne and her men rapidly flee the dimension. Dimples, Saturnyne's assistant, is left behind and dies seconds later. Jackdaw barely has time to react before he too is on the receiving end of the creatures wrath. One blast blows him in half. The dying elf tries to reassure his friend that all will be well and that Merlyn will snatch him away like he did last time, before expiring in his friend's arms.

(Marvel Superheroes#388) Rescued from the Fury by Mad Jim Jaspers, Captain Britain is exposed to an unnerving ride on board the lunatic's flying teapot. At one point he finds himself at a tea party attended by  twisted versions of most of the people he has met on the Crooked World of Earth 238. The most prominent of these visions is Jackdaw.

(Daredevils#1) As Merlyn and Roma reconstruct the dead Captain Britain, Merlyn mentions with regret that he could not risk saving Jackdaw this last time in case it jeopardised his chances of saving Captain Britain.

(Mighty World of Marvel#10) Attempting to confront the Mad Jim Jaspers of Earth 616, Captain Britain suddenly finds himself back on Earth 238, with Jackdaw still alive. Then elf explains that he was struck by Jaspers reality warping powers, and that everything he has experienced since is an hallucination. But Jackdaw mentions that the Captain's parents are dead, something he should not have known. Demanding to know where he learned this, Captain Britain grabs at his friend, only to have him rip apart in his hands like paper. This timeslip was the illusion, not the events that happened subsequent to the start of the Jaspers Warp on Earth 238.

Comments:  Created by Dez Skinn, Steve Parkhouse, Paul Neary and John Stokes

It's possible that Jackdaw was among the large group of unnamed elves who worked for Moondog on Otherworld (they first appeared in Hulk Comic#13/2 (May 30 1979)), but there is no way to know for sure. Originally the Otherworld elves were extremely short (when we first meet one of them, he is only about knee high) and very feral looking, like tiny humanoid foxes. Gradually they got larger (the same elves, not other, taller ones being introduced). Jackdaw when we first meet him is also quite feral and small enough to fit in a saddle bag, but by the time he reaches Earth 238 he is no longer furry and he resembles one of Alvin and the Chipmunks  with his chubby face (I normally like Alan Davis' art, but his interpretation of Jackdaw is an exception). This could be put down to simply a different artist's different style, but at Merlyn's funeral we again see Otherworld elves drawn by Davis and they are furry faced. The only explanation I can come up with is that the elves can alter their features, possibly with illusions.

Its also interesting to note that according to Saturnyne's scanner Jackdaw is native to Earth Green Alpha One. So is this the official designation of Otherworld? Saturnyne seems familiar enough with elves to suggest she may have met some before.

Other information gleaned from her analyser is that Jackdaw is 138cm tall, weighs 40.2 kg, and has psychic powers increased by a factor 10.3, with dimension spanning abilities.

To me Jackdaw was one of the most squandered possibilities in the entire Crooked World saga. From a strong start in the Black Knight story, he soon became Captain Britain's comic relief. By the time Moore pulled the plug it he had been so badly mishandled that it was a mercy killing. In spite of this I retain a fondness for the character, and find it sad that so many of the writers who have worked on Captain Britain since he made it big across the Atlantic in Excalibur have no clue as to the significance this character and his untimely death had for Captain Britain - months later, when the Special Executive come to take the hero to testify for Saturnyne at her trial his response is "Saturnyne who as good as killed Jackdaw?". The loss of the "only friend" he had on Earth 238 still runs deep.

He should never be revived, any more than Bucky or the original Captain Marvel should be, but he should never be forgotten either.

CLARIFICATIONS: No known connections to

Jackdaw, a foe of the Hulk and Captain America, now known as Blackbird


Last updated: 08/17/02

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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