MAGIC BOOTS MEL
Real Name: Melanie "Mel" Kapoor
Identity/Class: Extradimensional (Earth-61112) human
Occupation: Freedom fighter, former student
Group Membership: Braddock Academy
Affiliations: Black Knight (Dane Whitman), Captain Brian (Brian Braddock/Captain Britain), Captain Britain (Dr. Faiza Hussein/Excalibur), Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers), Computer Graham (Graham Toulson)
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: British Museum, London, U.K.;
formerly Braddock Academy, Essex, U.K.
First Appearance: Avengers Assemble#15AU (July 2013)
5'2" (by approximation)
Weight: 115 lbs. (by approximation)
Powers/Abilities: Mel's magical boots grant her supernaturally good football (soccer) skills.
She can kick items with immense precision, for example booting an egg across a room without cracking the shell, and can hit distant targets with unerring accuracy - allegedly "any kick, any distance, back of the net, every time."
She was training to use this power in combat, kicking items such as grenades, and was able to take down an Ultron by kicking one such explosive into its mouth hole from a considerable distance, thus bypassing its external defenses.
When dribbling (the skill of dodging and weaving while using technical maneuvers to prevent a rival player taking the ball from you, changing direction suddenly without warning so that your opponent cannot anticipate where you are going next) she was allegedly untouchable.
History: (Avengers Assemble#15AU (fb) - BTS) - Mel Kapoor was a student at Braddock Academy, and possessed a pair of magical boots that gave her supernatural football skills.
She was one of a few pupils boarding over during the Easter break, and thus was at the school when Ultron's forces invaded Britain. She escaped with headmaster Captain Britain (Brian Braddock) and ultimately joined him and other survivors, including a handful of Braddock's MI-13 teammates and American visitor Captain Marvel, hiding out in the magically-shielded British Museum. Despite everything, Mel maintained a positive attitude, which in turn helped maintain morale amongst the other survivors.
(Avengers Assemble#15AU) - When Captain Britain returned from a scavenging run with food and an injured child, he asked Mel to start distributing the latter while he took the child to Dr. Faiza Hussein for medical treatment. Captain Britain began chatting with Captain Marvel and Black Knight about another new arrival, Computer Graham. Spotting that Captain Britain didn't want Black Knight to remain part of the discussion (because he was fighting an inner struggle to prevent his Ebony Blade transforming him into an even greater danger than the Ultrons) and that the Knight was becoming annoyed about being benched, Mel distracted the Knight's attention by interrupting and asking his help with distributing the food. Shortly after this, she found the room where the Captains and Graham had slipped off to; correctly surmising they were planning a mission against the Ultrons, she volunteered her services helping with the "robot-duffin'-up" (robot beating up) mission.
(Avengers Assemble#15AU - BTS) - Brian said no and when Mel persisted, he said no again and again every way he could think of, but Mel persisted, aware the world needed everyone who could to stand up and fight, and sure she was as ready as she could be. In the end, Brian gave in.
(Avengers Assemble#15AU) - After Brian passed the mantle of Captain Britain to Faiza, taking the new codename Captain Brian for want of a better choice, he, Captain Marvel, Mel and Graham snuck over to St. Paul's Cathedral, the Ultrons' main staging post in London, hoping Graham's ability to interface with computers would allow him to disrupt the robots' systems. Brian advised Mel that if anything happened to her more powerful adult protectors, she should retreat, dribbling as fast as she could rather than running, since she was impossible to hit when dribbling.
The two Captains attacked the robots surrounding the cathedral, destroying two out of three giant Ultrons, but found themselves occupied demolishing hordes of smaller Ultrons, leaving them unable to finish off the third. As it loomed towards Mel and Graham, Brian shouted out to Mel to use maneuver N-9. Calling out to get its attention, Mel kicked a live grenade into the Ultron's open mouth. The internal explosion bypassed the robot's armor and blew its head clean off, prompting a delighted Mel to celebrate her "goal" with a taunting football chant.
Brian congratulated Mel with an A-Plus assessment grade as the quartet mounted the cathedral stairs and entered the building, but they were confronted by a giant Ultron head, apparently the co-ordinator for the robots in Britain, protected by dozens more robots. While Graham battled it in cyberspace, the others battled the robots. Judging the situation too dangerous for the only partially trained student, Brian ordered her to retreat, but she protested. Before he could continue the argument, Brian realized Ultrons were coming round on Mel's flank, and screamed at her to break to the right, but his warning came too late, and Mel was slain by the Ultrons' energy blasts.
Comments: Created by Al Ewing (writer), Jackson Guice (pencils) and Tom Palmer with Rick Magyar (inks).
It should go without saying that since this was the Magic Boots Mel of the alternate Age of Ultron timeline, a world whose history only recently diverged from that of Earth-616, presumably Earth-616 also has a Magic Boots Mel who is a student at Braddock Academy.
When Mel destroys the Ultron with a grenade, she triumphantly chants "You're going home in a robot ambulance" at her downed foe. This is, sadly, an all-too accurate depiction of the "wit" frequently displayed by some British football fans, and is a version of the chant "You're going home in a XXX ambulance" (replace XXX with either the region or city the singer comes from, or by "speeding" or an appropriate swear word), which is either mockingly directed towards an unfortunate opposing team's player if they are injured on the pitch, or as a threat to the rival team's fans, promising a fight after the game.
It seems Brian Braddock is fully embracing his role as a headmaster. Not only does he grade Mel's destruction of an Ultron as "A-Plus," but when he tells her to retreat, he notes that she is not trained for "A-Level Fighting" - in England, students mostly sit GCSE's (General Certificate of Secondary Education) in Year 11 (roughly 15-16 years old), and then many go on to do A-Levels, which they sit in Year 13 (roughly 17-18 years old). Given the nature of Braddock Academy as a school for potential superheroes, they apparently have some classes on topics, such as fighting, that other schools don't generally teach.
For a character with only one appearance and a handful of panels, there's a lot of hidden Easter eggs for those who know their British comics and genre fiction in this issue. Mel has a load of influences behind her. There's the movie influence - she's a British Indian teenage girl who is obsessed by football (sorry, British character - not going to call it soccer when that's not what we call it here), just like the lead character in British comedy Bend It Like Beckham. Then there's the Doctor Who influence - she speaks like 1980s Doctor Who companion Ace with the kind of slang adults think teenagers use, shares the first name of Ace's predecessor Mel Bush and the surname of later British Asian companion Anji Kapoor, and if you think those similarities might be coincidences unintended by writer Al Ewing, there is Mel's maneuver N-9, kicking a grenade, which recalls Ace's use of homemade explosive Nitro-9, and the scene of the Ultrons walking down the steps with St. Paul's Cathedral which not only resembles Doctor Who's Cybermen doing the same in the 1968 story The Invasion but even has the Ultrons in the same positions and stances.
Mel's name might also be a subtle nod to the most famous British football comic strip. Since most British comics were weekly anthologies, they couldn't stick to one genre, and football was one of the more prevalent, with the longest successful undoubtedly being Roy of the Rovers (running from 1954 to 2001), a player for the fictional team of Melchester Rovers. Her football jersey resembles the top worn by Danny, leader of the long-running (1954 and still running) Bash Street Kids strip in the Beano (launched 1938 and still going, having gone past issue #3800 in 2015). But probably the largest inspiration for her comes from Billy's Boots, the story of Billy Dane, who loves playing football but is lacking in skill until he discovers the old boots of the late professional Charles "Dead Shot" Keen; while wearing the boots, he becomes a brilliant player, often finding his feet choosing where to go with no direction from himself. Though his suspicion is never explicitly confirmed during more than twenty years of stories, he becomes convinced that they are haunted by Dead Shot, who is effectively playing the matches for him. We have no indication of how Mel came into possession of her boots, or the manner in which they empower her (beyond being "magic"), but it wouldn't be surprising to find that she has a similar deal going on.
Profile by Loki.
Magic Boots Mel has no known connections to
images: (without ads)
Avengers Assemble#15AU, p15, pan4 (main image)
Avengers Assemble#15AU, p9, pan7 (headshot)
Avengers Assemble#15AU, p7, pan6 (kicking cans)
Avengers Assemble#15AU, p16, pan5-6 (Brian warning Mel, Mel dying)
BBC publicity still for Doctor Who "The Invasion" (top)/Avengers Assemble#15AU, p7, pan3 (Ultron's marching near St. Paul's Cathedral, bottom)
China figurine of Bash Street Kids' Danny
De Wondersloffen van Sjakie #2 cover (The Magic Boots of Sjakie, Dutch TPB of Britain's Billy's Boots, depicting Billy Dane and the ghost of Dead Shot Keen)
Avengers Assemble#15AU - Al Ewing (writer), Jackson Guice (pencils), Tom Palmer with Rick Magyar (inks), Jake Thomas (assistant editor), Lauren Sankovitch (editor).
Last updated: 04/18/16
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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