Real Name: William Leese
Identity/Class: Human (World War II era, UK)
Occupation: Cab driver, liaison officer of the Crusaders, Nazi operative, traitor
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: The Crusaders (Captain Wings, Dyna-Mite, Ghost Girl, Spirit of '76, Thunderfist, Tommy Lightning) (his dupes), an unnamed anarchist assassin
Enemies: The Invaders (Bucky, Captain America, Human Torch, Spitfire, Sub-Mariner, Toro)
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: "Code name Alfie" (as called by Dyna-Mite)
Base of Operations: Mobile throughout London (he spent a lot of time driving his cab around)
First Appearance: Invaders I#14 (March, 1977)
Powers/Abilities: None, however Alfie wore a belt which somehow was the power source for the Crusaders' weaponry. He was also a pretty good cab driver.
History: (Invaders I#14 (fb) - BTS) - Alfie somehow became affiliated with the Nazis and was their operative in London for an assassination plot against the king. Later, by appealing to their sense of patriotism, Alfie recruited a group of five British citizens and one American and turned these freedom fighters into "The Crusaders," giving each of them (with the exception of Dyna-Mite) a single special power which they derived from equipment they wore.
(Invaders I#14) - As part of his ruse, Alfie was driving his cab behind a remotely controlled limousine when the limo exploded. The Invaders were flying overhead in Namor's flagship, so they landed to investigate. They met Alfie, who told them it was an anarchist who threw a bomb into the car and took off running into St. James Park -- all of which was really a distraction to send the Invaders on a wild goose chase.
Meanwhile, on the grounds of Buckingham Palace, the real anarchist stopped the limousine of King George IV and tried to assassinate him, but Dyna-Mite saved the king just as the other Crusaders arrived. This event prompted the king to replace the Invaders with the Crusaders as his guard of honor for the next day's planned dedication ceremony of the battleship H.M.S. Hornblower. When Alfie heard this news report announced on his cab's radio, he laughed because his plans were coming to fruition.
(Invaders I#15) - Alfie drove to a darkened dock on the River Thames to the Crusaders' secret meeting place and demonstrated to them how he controlled their powers by switching off Ghost Girl's power. He then told the Crusaders that the Invaders were secretly traitors for the Nazis. But Alfie's whole plan was to arrange for the Crusaders to guard the king rather than the Invaders, who'd be more likely to catch on to an assassination plot.
Later, Alfie drove to another secluded waterfront spot -- Euro Importing LTD. -- but unknown to him, Dyna-Mite was hiding in his coat pocket, spying on him. Alfie radioed his superiors to report in, but when he signed off with a "Heil Hitler!", this confirmed the suspicions of the diminutive Dyna-Mite regarding Alfie's true loyalties. Spotting Dyna-Mite, Alfie knocked him into the river and drove off, but the tiny titan survived, crawled out of the river, and got a warning to the Invaders.
Alfie had arranged for an explosive champagne bottle to be used by the king at the ship christening ceremony. As the Invaders fought the duped Crusaders, the Sub-Mariner threw the booby-trapped bottle away, where it harmlessly exploded in the water. The Crusaders then learned the truth about Alfie's treachery.
Alfie, who was watching the ceremony in the crowd, climbed into his cab and sped away, but the Human Torch threw a fireball in his path, causing him to swerve and drive off London Bridge. The cab exploded as it plunged into the water, presumably killing Alfie.
With the power source to their equipment destroyed, the ashamed and discouraged Crusaders threw off their now-useless equipment.
Comments: Created by Roy Thomas and Frank Robbins.
The whole assassination plot had kind of a convoluted "only-in-comic-books" feel to it -- Alfie himself said to the Crusaders (in his thick Cockney accent) when their suspicions about him were aroused: "Would an enemy of Great Britain 'ave given you six super-powers instead o' six Nazis?" -- well, yeah, that WOULD have been the more simple and logical plan...but maybe the Nazis also wanted to stir up suspicions amongst the Allies about their super-heroes while they were at it.
I think that the belt that Alfie wore was actually a remote cut-off safety switch for the Crusaders' equipment rather than the power source itself -- just in case they ever turned against him -- so ironically, they may have thrown away equipment that was still functional. In fact, (purely speculative) I think someone recovered some of Tommy Lightning's equipment and used it to become Electro-Man.
The Crusaders received their own entry in Marvel Legacy: The 1970s Handbook.
The Crusaders were patterned after DC's "The Freedom Fighters" -- Captain Wings/Black Condor, Dyna-Mite/Doll Man, Ghost Girl/Phantom Lady, Spirit of '76/Uncle Sam, Thunderfist/Human Bomb, Tommy Lightning/The Ray.
And also worth noting is that these two issues of Invaders were a "pseudo cross-over" with DC's "The Freedom Fighters" #'s 7-9 (published around the same time), wherein the Freedom Fighters also battled a group called "The Crusaders" who were patterned after the Invaders -- Americommando/Captain America, Barracuda/Sub-Mariner, Fireball/Human Torch, Rusty/Bucky, Sparky/Toro.
Alfie's real name and nationality were revealed in the Crusaders' entry in OHotMU A-Z Hardcover#3.
Profile by John Kaminski
Alfie has no known connections to:
A lone gunman who attempted to kill George VI with a broomhandle mauser, he was stopped by the timely intervention of Dyna-Mite.
Invaders I#15, p11, pan3 (main image)
Invaders I#14, p31, pan6 (head shot)
Invaders I#15 (April, 1977) - Roy Thomas (writer/editor), Frank Robbins (pencils), Frank Springer (inks)
Last updated: 10/09/06
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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