PARASITES

Membership:  Uncle Lex, Hal, Nettle, Peeping Tom, Ramora, Siren, Snap, Spasm, (former) Moley, the Cherubim (AC/DC, Fern, Giggles, Lump, Quill)

Purpose: To steal for Uncle Lex

Affiliations: (former) Cherubim

Enemies: Anyone in authority, the police, the creature from Peeping Tom's nightmares, (former) the Cherubim

Base of Operations: An underground den under a bridge, London

First Appearance: (mentioned, Peeping Tom and Spasm seen in shadows) Captain Britain II#12 (December 1985); (whole group seen properly) Captain Britain II#13 (January 1986)

History: (BTS) - Britain had suffered under the effects of a devastating reality warp create by the powerful mutant Mad Jim Jaspers. Although he had finally been defeated by the efforts of Captain Britain and his allies, the repercussions of this period of instability still affected the country, with a number of people, mainly children and new born babies, remaining in the transformed states they had been during the Warp. These beings became known as Warpies.

(Captain Britain II#13 (fb)) - A year ago Lex Christian followed a feeling he couldn't explain, and took the train to London. When he arrived at Euston Station he had no job, no plans, no real idea of why he travelled to the capital. Soon after he arrived he came across Siren and another Warpie living on the streets, and he took them under his wing.  As time passed he gathered more young Warpies to him, teaching them to steal for him, and gaining the nickname Uncle Lex. One of the Warpies, Moley, built a den for them under a bridge.  But Moley disobeyed Uncle Lex in some unspecified way, and Uncle Lex taught him a lesson (it's implied that Lex killed him, but whatever happened, he was no longer one of the Parasites afterwards).

(Captain Britain II#12 - BTS) - Following a break in at Hamley's Toys in Regent Street by the Cherubim, Detective Constable Richard Thompson speculates that there may be a link between the bizarre children he and his fellow officers encountered, and the juvenile gang dubbed "the Parasites". His report is passed to his superior, Detective Inspector John Morrow, who forwards it to the Resources Control Executive (RCX)

(Captain Britain II#12) - Peeping Tom and Spasm spot the tired Cherubim trudging along a darkened street.

(Captain Britain II#13 - BTS) - Spasm and Peeping Tom approach the Cherubim, and offer them shelter at the Parasites hideout. The exhausted and hungry Warpie children agree.

(Captain Britain II#13) - The next morning Snap informs Uncle Lex that the Cherubim have woken up. Nettle provides them with breakfast while Uncle Lex explains to the newcomers how the Parasites came to be formed. He inducts the Cherubim into his "family" and for the next three weeks they learn to steal alongside the rest of the Parasites. They get a glimpse for the first time of Uncle Lex's darker side when Snap makes the mistake of mentioning Moley in front of him. Lex lashes out, striking Snap across the face, and when Lump asks who Moley was, Lex sinisterly warns Lump that Moley was a naughty boy, and warns Lump not to be naughty too.

The next day the entire gang attempt to rob Vector Gayles jewellery shop. Their biggest job yet, and in daylight, the plan is to use Giggles' light bending powers to render them all invisible. But Giggles loses concentration when he decides to frighten the security guard by appearing just in front of his face. With all of the children now visible and carrying trays of stolen jewels, they panic and bolt. Snap teleports, but in his haste to get away materialises in front of a double-decker bus. The others watch in horror as it hits him. The Cherubim want to go back and help him, but the rest of the Parasites display casual indifference - after all, they have the jewels they came for.

Back at the den Quill and Fern try to express the Cherubim's upset at what has happened and at the callous attitude shown by the rest of the gang. But Uncle Lex is too busy planning to go for bigger and better things - "An army of Warpies answerable only to me!" - and states that there are plenty more where Snap came from. Fern decides that her group is leaving, because things are wrong, not fun any more. Lex informs her that no-one leaves him, but they are welcome to try; and the Parasites close in...

(Captain Britain II#14) - Quill takes on Spasm, Hal holds off the shocking AC/DC with his hurricane-like breath, and Fern entraps Nettle, only to fall prey to the Parasite's paralysing spines. Lex watches briefly as the Cherubim and Parasites battle, then slips away to check on Siren. The outcome of the battle doesn't bother him, because as long as he has this child he can and will gather more Warpies to his cause.

Back at the battle the tide gradually turns in the Cherubim's favour (probably because of their training and teamwork that RCX instilled in them). Hal blows AC/DC into the river, but Quill drags them out before they can drown. Spasm, who had raced forward to attack and is knee-deep in water, misses Quill and instead manages to electrocute himself.  Fern realises that Quill's skin is too thick for the other Warpies' barbs to pierce, and Quill swiftly takes his new opponent out of the fight. Ramora tries to leech the life out of Giggles, only to find nothing to steal, and is knocked out by the feedback. And Lump tries to bring Peeping Tom's nightmares to life, an action which backfires dramatically. Tom, able to see everywhere, even into other dimensions, has become inured to horrors, and isn't easily scared. To produce something that he actually fears means that Lumps' power drags an eldritch horror into the den. Giggles flies at the creature, while Fern desperately urges him to make warpspace and send it home. Giggles and the creature vanish, and second later the cheerful Warpie returns to our reality.

Recognising that he can't force them to stay, Lex tries one more time to talk them Cherubim into sticking with the Parasites. They refuse, and ignoring his comments that they'll miss all the fun, the interesting times that are coming for people like them, the Cherubim walk away. But Giggles looks back and winks, which Lex considers a beginning... 

COMMENTS: Created by Mike Collins and Mark Farmer

In case it isn't obvious, there's a clear parallel between Uncle Lex and his gang of Warpie children crooks, and Charles Dickens' Fagin character with his gang of child thieves.

We never did find out the final fate of the Parasites. Several of them may well have died during the battle with the Cherubim; at the end of the fight only Lex, Hal and Peeping Tom are seen to be still standing. Lex had plans to gather more Warpies together to form an army, but I suspect subsequent developments outwith his control put a halt to this plan. We know that the Cherubim ended up back in the custody of the RCX, which suggests that the government agency tracked them down following the police report of their break in at Hamley's. Given that RCX were busy at the time collecting their own Warpie army, it's entirely likely that they nabbed the Parasites too. Custody of Siren would have helped RCX gather the large number of Warpies they had in their possession, and tracking Siren down is easy - you just follow your own Warpies as they are drawn to her. As RCX later discovered, a lot of the Warpies began to spontaneously return to normal, so even if some of the Parasites evaded the net, they might have become human again anyway. Any that were left and were in RCX custody would eventually have been recruited by Mastermind for his assault on Otherworld and the Captain Britain Corps. And this in turn would mean that any of the survivors would have been turned back to normal humans by Captain Britain using the power of Excalibur. However, it is also possible that the Parasites, or some of them, escaped  all of this, and are still out there. Lex's plans will have been messed up somewhat by the reduced number of Warpies available to him, but an ambitious young lad like him could still do a lot of damage with just a couple of superpowered children. Whatever happened to them, as things stand their fate remains a dangling plot thread waiting to be tied up.

Profile by Loki

CLARIFICATIONS:

The Parasites are in no way connected to and should not be confused with:

Uncle Lex is in no way connected to and should not be confused with:

Hal is in no way connected to and should not be confused with:

Moley is in no way connected to and should not be confused with:

Peeping Tom is in no way connected to and should not be confused with:

Ramora has no known connection to:

Siren has no known connection to:

Snap is in no way connected to and should not be confused with:

Lump of the Cherubim is in no way connected to and should not be confused with:


Uncle Lex

James Lexington Christian came to London from an unspecified other part of the U.K. He was drawn there for reasons he originally couldn't explain, although it later appears likely that it was Siren's silent call that brought him. He soon discovered the Warpie child (being looked after by another Warpie who could be Snap, though this isn't certain). Using her, he gradually pieced together a gang of superpowered children, whom he taught to be thieves, committing muggings and break-ins at his instigation. While Lex planned their capers, he himself didn't appear to take part in them; he's a no risk to himself kind of guy.

Uncle Lex, as he liked to be called, brooked no challenges of any sort to his authority, and had a hair-trigger temper (he strikes Snap without warning merely for mentioning Moley's name). Deliberate on the part of the writers or not, the way he refers to the absent Moley as having been a bad boy, a naughty one, is reminiscent of the way abusive parents act with their children, and may give hints to his own home life and why he left.

In spite of his lack of an obvious power, he claims to be a Warpie himself, and certainly the rest of the Parasites fear him, in spite of their own abilities. It may be that he is able to understand and draw out the full potential of another Warpies' powers; during the battle between the Cherubim and the Parasites, he runs a commentary in his head describing exactly what they are capable of. Additional evidence in this area is the way the Cherubim's powers appear to grow in the three weeks they are with him: Giggles light and sound shows expand to become the ability to warp reality itself, Lump's mental illusions of people's fears becomes the ability to actually manifest those fears in real form, and so on.

-- Captain Britain II#13 (13(fb), 13, 14


Hal

Hal's background before he became one of the Parasites is unknown. Its likely that he was abandoned or thrown out by his family after becoming a Warpie. His upper body was distorted and exaggerated, and he could blow with gale force intensity, sufficient to send others flying.

Given the name, I'd ASSumed he had stinky breath, i.e. HALitosis--Snood.

-- Captain Britain II#13 (14


Nettle

Nettles was a Warpie whose body was elongated and covered in sharp spines which could paralyse victims.  Individuals like Quill had skin too tough for her barbs to penetrate, and in battle Quill appeared to slash her across the throat. This injury took her out of the fight, and may well have killed her.

-- Captain Britain II#13 (14


Peeping Tom

Peeping Tom has huge, insect-like eyes. According to Lex, he can see everywhere, through anything, even into other dimensions. In spite of the potential drawbacks of a power like this, he seemed a happy individual - the only time he lost his constant grin was when Lump manifested his greatest fear. He appeared to have no combat abilities, and wasn't seen to go on jobs with the rest of the gang, so it's likely he acted mainly as an intelligence gatherer for them.

-- Captain Britain II#12 (13, 14


Ramora

Ramora was a young girl with six small tentacles where her arms should have been. Lex described her as being a "life-leech, a soul stealer". She could latch her tentacles onto the face or body of an opponent and drain the life out of them (it's implied by Lex that she might also be able to control someone by doing this). Giggles was immune for some reason (Lex suggests there is nothing there for her to feed off, and since he clearly has life, he's probably saying that Giggles lacks a soul), and when Ramora tried to drain him, she was knocked out or killed by the attempt.

-- Captain Britain II#13 (14


Snap

Snap could teleport by snapping his fingers. For some unknown reason, the design on the chest of his costume changed whenever he did so, with the white centre shrinking (see picture in main text above to see what I mean). He had been one of the original members of the Parasites (and may have been one of the two first recruited by Lex), and had been friends with the departed Moley. A chance comment by him that he missed Moley sent Lex into a rage, and got him a punch across the face for his troubles. The next day, when the robbery at the jewelers shop went wrong, Snap teleported without thinking about where he was going. He landed in the street just in front of a double decker bus. From the reactions of those around, he was certainly run over, and it's likely (but not guaranteed) that he was killed.

-- Captain Britain II#13 (14


Spasm

Spasm could generate electricity from his hands, allowing him to shock anyone he touched. He wasn't immune to this power himself, and when he hit the water he was standing in during the fight with the Cherubim, he electrocuted himself. Whether or not he survived is unknown, especially if he passed out while still standing in the river. Since Spasm was one of the most callous about the fate of Snap, if he did drown while his teammates ignored his plight to deal with their own problems, this would be a bit of poetic justice.

-- Captain Britain II#12 (13, 14


Siren

Siren was a babe in arms who somehow drew other Warpies to him or her. Lex describes the child as "the immortal child whose eyes never open. Crying for attention...to be cared for. A cry that's never heard. Except by us. The children of the Warp." This may well mean that in addition to the telepathic summons Siren sends out, the child also doesn't appear to have aged in the year since Lex found it ("immortal child"). Lex came across the baby being cared for by another Warpie about a year back, and as the months passed, the number of Warpies drawn to Siren has gradually grown.

-- Captain Britain II#13 (flashback only); Captain Britain II#14 (in person)


Moley

Moley was a Parasite who "built the den", which implies either digging or earth-manipulating powers. Somehow he did something that upset Lex: "He was a bad boy. He was naughty." His fate thereafter is unknown, but given Lex's violent temper and his reaction to Snap mentioning his name, it is heavily implied that Lex beat him to death. 

-- Captain Britain II#13 (mentioned only)


The Creature from Peeping Tom's Nightmares

The creature Peeping Tom sees and fears comes from an unspecified dimension far removed from our own. It's large, and covered in fang-filled mouths, eyes and tentacles. Before it can do any harm, Giggles "makes warpspace" and takes it away from Earth.

The dimension Giggles took the creature to.Moments later Giggles emerges from a portal to a dimension that resembles (to me at least) Dormammu's. This might be the actual home of the creature, but then there's nothing to imply Giggles would have known where it came from, and he might just have dumped it in the nearest convenient universe.

It's worth noting that in the brief time it was in our dimension, the creature did nothing that would imply it was hostile. Everyone just assumed it was, based on its appearance. Considering the hostile way people judged the Warpies using the same criterion, this strikes me as a little hypocritical of them.

- Captain Britain II#14 


Appearances:
Captain Britain II#12-14 (December, 1985 - February, 1986) - Mike Collins (writer/pencils), Mark Farmer (inks), Ian Rimmer (editor)


Last updated01/03/04

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