MISS EMELIA WITHERSPOON
Real Name: Emelia Witherspoon
Identity/Class: Human psychic (U.K. citizen)
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Excalibur (Captain Britain (Brian Braddock), Cerise, Feron, Kylun, Lockheed, Meggan, Micromax, Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner), Phoenix (Rachel Summers), Shadowcat, Widget), Harris, Nightcrawler's Technet (Bodybag, Chinadoll, Ferro2, Joyboy, Ringtoss, Scatterbrain, Thug, Waxworks), Psylocke, Alistaire Stuart, Dai Thomas, Scotland Yard
Enemies: Jamie Braddock, Necrom, Sat-Yr-9 and her troops
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: London, England
First Appearance: Excalibur I#44 (Late November 1991)
Powers/Abilities: Emelia is clairvoyant. She possesses an acute intuitive insight in coming events. She is specifically able to get impressions of the future, predicting events with a fair degree of temporal and geographical accuracy (she seems to know the names of places where events will happen, rather than getting a topographic position). She is also able to sense the presence of living beings, detecting the unconscious mind of a shrunken Micromax at one point.
History: (Excalibur I#44 (fb) - BTS) - Miss Emelia Witherspoon built a strong reputation with Scotland Yard as an accurate clairvoyant. Eventually she predicted a series of robberies; taking her warning seriously, airtight security was prepared employing the most sophisticated surveillance systems, but in spite of this the police failed to stop the thefts or even detect the thief. Reasoning that the crimes were being carried out by a para-human agency, Commander Dai Thomas decided to call on Excalibur for assistance.
(Excalibur I#44) - Dai took Emelia to Excalibur's lighthouse base, where he introduced her to Nightcrawler and explained the case. Emelia expressed admiration for Nightcrawler's looks and especially his fur, but the business-minded Thomas was disappointed to find the rest of Excalibur was absent, leaving only Nightcrawler (with a broken leg) and the extra-dimensional beings known as the Technet in residence. Emelia enquired why the Technet could not help, and when Nightcrawler pointed out that the idea was ridiculous (the Technet being somewhat inept), Thomas noted they were desperate and Emelia added ominously "this is merely the prelude."
(Excalibur I#45 (fb) - BTS) - Emelia predicted the next theft would occur at Major Mainwaring Museum, Warmington-On-Sea on a specific night.
(Excalibur I#45) - In spite of Emelia's warning, the thief successfully stole another antique from under the noses of the Technet. Back at the Lighthouse, Emelia delivered another prediction; the thief would next strike at the Brum-Art Gallery in four days time.When Dai Thomas tried to get more precise information, she informed him that clairvoyance was not an exact science. Exacerbated, he expressed the opinion that F.I.6 (a government division run by a rival of his, also investigating the crimes) were probably getting more from their Esper division. Emelia disagreed, stating that "the precognitive wavelengths are being disrupted by the force that shields this ghostly thief".
Four days later "Nightcrawler's Technet" (with all new costumes and team identity) successfully stopped the next theft, capturing the homunculus which had been committing the thefts, though not its distant controller. As the group boarded their aircraft to return to the lighthouse, a jubilant Thomas noted his F.I.6 rival's annoyance, but was warned by Emelia not to succumb to euphoria. She told her compatriots this was only the first encounter, and that worse was to come. Nightcrawler asked her what was going to happen, but she replied that a "fog of uncertainty" past which she could not see concealed the future, and that perhaps there was nothing left to see beyond it. Dai nervously joked "The end of the world is nigh, eh?", to which Emelia seriously responded "Quite possibly."
(Excalibur I#49 (fb) - BTS) - Emelia picked up a psychic disturbance in the Docklands area of London, and informed Dai Thomas.
(Excalibur I#49) - At the site she directed the police to, they located the shriveled up corpses of a number of F.I.6 operatives. Walking amidst the rubble, Emelia sensed a presence, faint, tiny, semi-conscious and struggling to awaken. Seconds later she was startled as Micromax, a size-changing F.I.6 operative, grew explosively upwards right in front of her. While he explained that his fellows had been slain by a being called Necrom, and that he had only escaped a similar fate by shrinking until he passed out, Emelia sensed with horror that the life-sucking villain was heading for Excalibur's lighthouse.
(Excalibur I#50) - Dai, Micromax and Emelia raced to the lighthouse in a helicopter piloted by a man called Harris. As they neared the edifice, they saw it surrounded by a dazzling lightshow. Emelia stated ominously that "it has begun". Dai asked her incredulously if she meant the end of the world, and she replied that was a possibility. She told him that forces beyond mortal comprehension were at work, obscuring the future from her humble clairvoyance. Seconds later Micromax spotted Necrom below them, and jumped out the helicopter intending to land on the villain.
(Excalibur I#50 (fb) - BTS) - Presumably the pilot landed the helicopter. After the battle with Necrom had ended, Emelia, along with everyone else present at the lighthouse, received an irresistible compulsion to flee (sent to them by Roma, who was aware of the lighthouse's imminent destruction). They piled into Excalibur's jet, and headed for Braddock Manor, and arriving at the same time as the rest of Excalibur were teleported there by Roma. Along with everyone else, Emelia entered the Manor, where she presumably made arrangements for transportation home.
(Excalibur I#55) - Emelia went to a party at Braddock Manor, accompanied by a sulking Dai Thomas, who was annoyed at her insistence that he wear formal attire. She chatted to Nightcrawler and asked him about the absence from the party of Kylun and Feron, and later watched with amusement as Cerise shocked Nightcrawler with a prolonged kiss. She was playfully waving to Lockheed, the team's dragon, when she was stunned by a violent clairvoyant flash. Psylocke, Captain Britain's telepathic sister, read from Emelia's mind that the flash involved Alysande Stuart, who was upstairs changing for the party. The heroes raced upstairs to find Alysande dead with a broken neck
(Excalibur I#55 - BTS) - While Excalibur was upstairs, Emelia and Dai were knocked out by tranquilizer darts fired by agents of Sat-Yr-9, who had invaded the Manor.
(Excalibur I#55) - Psylocke sensed Emelia's distress and informed the others. Nightcrawler teleported downstairs to find Dai and her unconscious, just before he too was tranquilized.
(Excalibur I#56) - Emelia spent the next sixteen hours a twisted grotesque, transformed like most of her friends by the reality warping powers of Jamie Braddock, until Meggan broke free from his control. Meggan pummeled Jamie until his concentration was broken and everyone reverted to normal. Emelia watched as Excalibur battled and overcame Sat-Yr-9's forces, and witnessed the villains' departure. Thanks to Nightcrawler's timely intervention, she narrowly avoiding being struck by their escape vehicle as it smashed through the Manor's exterior wall. As everyone tried to come to terms with what had happened, a visibly shaken Emelia was helped by Dai and Psylocke out the Manor into the fresh air.
Comments: Created by Alan Davis and Mark Farmer.
Warmington-On-Sea, site of the first theft predicted by Emelia in Excalibur I#45, is a fictional small town on the south coast of England, and the location of a British sitcom "Dad's Army", set during the Second World War. The title refers to the fact that during the war, as a last line of defence against possible invasion, a number of British men were trained as part-time soldiers, the Home Guard, ready to activate full time should the Germans make it to British shores. Because all the fit adult males not in vital war-related jobs were called up for the armed forces and sent to fight overseas, the Home Guard largely consisted of elderly men, earning them the nickname "Dad's Army". In the TV show the commanding officer of Warmington-On-Sea's Home Guard unit was the pompous Captain Mainwaring. Evidently, he may well have had a Marvel universe counterpart who was eventually promoted to Major.
Emelia enters Braddock Manor at the end of Excalibur I#50. Excalibur I#51, apparently set the very next day (Dai Thomas mentions that he only left the group at the Manor "last night") shows virtually everyone, excepting Dai, Emelia and Harris (the helicopter pilot) at the Manor, asleep and recovering from their ordeal. So either Emelia was asleep at the Manor and not depicted, or more likely she departed at the same time as Dai did.
It's possible that Emelia attended the funeral of Alysande Stuart, shown at the end of Excalibur I#56. However, only a few of the mourners are identifiable, and she isn't among them; Emelia didn't know Alysande, having seen her briefly for the first time on the night Alysande was murdered, so it's entirely possible she didn't attend the funeral. Thus for the purposes of the history above, I've presumed she didn't attend. Likewise, I have left off the history Excalibur I#125, Brian and Meggan's wedding. Even though Emelia isn't visible in any panels of this issue, I find it difficult to believe she wouldn't have been there (unless she was dead), given that everyone else of any significance to Excalibur, even several of their enemies, got invited.
Emilia's appearance, and perhaps her persona, seems to be based on British actress Margaret Rutherford, and in particular her portrayal of Agatha Christie's amatuer slueth Miss Marple.
Thanks to Jordan Brodie for pointing out the Emilia snafu!
Miss Emilia Witherspoon has no known connections to
Excalibur I#49, p14, panel 4 (full body shot of Emilia)
Excalibur I#49, p14, panel 6 (close up of Emilia's face)
Excalibur I#44, p.18, panel 4 (Emilia meeting Nightcrawler)
Excalibur I#55, p.21, panel 1 (psychic flash)
Excalibur I#44-45 (November-December, 1991) - Alan Davis (writer/pencils),
Mark Farmer (inks), Terry Kavanagh (editor)
Excalibur I#49-50 (April-May, 1992) - Alan Davis (writer/pencils), Mark Farmer (inks), Terry Kavanagh (editor)
Excalibur I#55-56 (October-early November 1992) - Alan Davis (writer/pencils), Mark Farmer (inks), Terry Kavanagh (editor)
First Posted: 12/17/2004
Last updated: 02/03/2006
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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