Union Jack

Union Jack in his Great War costumeReal Name: James Montgomery "Monty" Falsworth, Lord Falsworth

Identity/Class: Normal human

Occupation: CEO of Falsworth International, scientist; former adventurer, covert government operative

Affiliations: House of Lords, formerly V-Battalion, Invaders, Freedom's Five, Hellfire Club, Secret Service Bureau, MI5, MI6

Enemies: Baron Blood, Hellfire Club, Baron Zemo

Known Relatives: Brian Falsworth (son, Union Jack, deceased); Jaqueline Falsworth-Crichton (Spitfire, daughter); Jane, Lady Falsworth (wife, deceased); John Falsworth (Baron Blood, brother); Cedric, Lord Crichton (son-in-law, deceased); Kenneth Crichton (Baron Blood, grandson); John Crichton (great-grandson), Katherine Ainsley-Jones (distant cousin, deceased)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Great Britain

First Appearance: Invaders #7 (Marvel, 1976)

Powers/Abilities: Union Jack was an exceptional combatant, both unarmed and with pistols, rifles, daggers and swords. Before being crippled, he was a superb athlete in peak physical condition, and he was a capable scientist and pilot. Normally armed with a Webley revolver and steel dagger, when forewarned about facing Baron Blood he would modify his arsenal to include silver, anathema to vampires.

Union Jack in his second costume, worn in the later part of the Great War and in World War IIHistory: James Montgomery Falsworth inherited his father's title just prior to World War One breaking out. His jealous brother, John, upset at being overlooked, left for Europe shortly before the war broke out, eventually making his way to Transylvania following tales of Dracula, whose power John hoped to obtain; instead he fell prey to the vampire lord, and became one of the undead himself. Meanwhile, unaware of these events, Monty became a government operative when war engulfed the continent, operating as a saboteur behind enemy lines as the costumed Union Jack.

Late in 1915 Union Jack twice clashed with the Hellfire Club, first investigating the murder of his friend and recent Club recruit Lt. Esau Shaw (a killing that had actually been committed by Esau's brother Jacob), and then preventing Sir Harry Manners from destroying London by releasing Apocalypse (En Sabah Nur)'s Harbinger from his slumber beneath the Club's London HQ. Operating on the front lines Union Jack battled a temporally displaced Baron (Helmut) Zemo, and later time travelled himself when Zarrko the Tomorrow Man set him up to fight the Fantastic Four's Thing (Ben Grimm). Towards the end of the war Monty joined Freedom's Five, working alongside American flier the Phantom Eagle (Karl Kaufman), French swordsman the Crimson Cavalier, and fellow Britons Sir Steel and the Silver Squire, but towards the end of the conflict he had become disillusioned with war as a way to settle political disputes, and began looking forward to peace, when he was called back from Europe to London to stop a string of murders of prominent individuals vital to the British war effort being committed by an apparently vampiric German agent the press had dubbed Baron Blood. He soon clashed with Blood, discovering Blood was a genuine vampire and preventing the next assassination, but failed to catch the killer or to discover Blood was really his own brother John. With the war at an end, Monty retired.

In peactime Monty became a family man, fathering a son, Brian, and daughter, Jacqueline. However in 1938 Brian and Monty bitterly argued over Brian's pro-appeasement stance, until Brian quit the family home, Falsworth Manor. Soon after Brian and his friend (and, secretly, lover) Roger Aubrey turned up on the front pages of the papers, having gone to Germany and been photographed with Hitler, openly backing appeasement. A heartbroken Monty disowned Brian, and when war broke out soon after, all news of Brian and Roger dried up; the Falsworths believed them dead. In truth, the couple had tried to flee Germany, having realised their mistake, but had been arrested. Locked up separately, Brian had escaped to become the Destroyer, while Roger was experimented on and shrunk by Germany's Project: Crusader to become the amnesiac Dyna-Mite. In 1941 Monty's wife died during the Blitz, and early in 1942 Baron Blood returned, posing as Monty's nephew "John Jr." in order to infiltrate the Falsworth household. Wanting to torture his brother by taking away the last of his family, Blood attacked Jackie in London, but was interrupted by the android Human Torch (Jim Hammond), a member of the Invaders. Befriending the Allied heroes, Monty offered the use of Falsworth Manor as a base and soon redonned his costume to join their ranks as they hunted for the Nazi vampire. Blood kidnapped Jackie, took her to caverns near the manor and bit her; pursuing, Union Jack overheard Blood reveal his true identity, and battled him. Blood crushed Monty's legs with a boulder, crippling him, but while Blood was battling the other Invaders, Monty levered the rock off his legs; it tumbled onto Blood, pinning him to a stalagmite and slaying him, at least temporarily. Treated for blood loss with a tranfusion from the Torch, Jackie gained superhuman powers, and joined the Invaders as Spitfire. Soon after Jackie and Monty encountered and recognised Dyna-Mite when Project Crusader used him and other duped British heroes as part of a plot to assassinate King George VI. With renewed hope Brian might be alive, Jackie, Monty and Roger parachuted into Germany to look for him, and running into the Invaders who were there on another mission; ultimately reunited with his son, Monty and Brian reconciled, and Brian became the new Union Jack while Roger replaced him as the Destroyer.

Post-war, Baron Blood's remains were interred in the Tower of London, despite Monty's requests they be properly destroyed. Monty funded the V-Battalion, wartime heroes now operating as self-appointed world peacekeepers, until Brian was killed in a car crash in 1953. Only learning of his son's homosexuality after Brian's death, Monty took the news poorly and refused to let Roger honour Brian by becoming the next Union Jack. Over the following decades Monty hung on to life, his brain staying sharp while his body slowly declined. After one of Dracula's agents revived Baron Blood, the vampire began a series of slasher murders near Falsworth Manor, taunting his brother. No one else believed Monty's insistent claims that his brother was behind the killings (because Blood had left another skeletal corpse in the Tower to fool everyone), so Monty called in former Invader Captain America (Steve Rogers); assisted by a new Union Jack (Joe Chapman, friend of Jackie's son Kenneth), Captain America finally slew Blood. Monty hung on to life long enough to see his brother's remains destroyed, before finally passing on himself.

Comments: Although originally created by an American creative team, they didn't do too bad a job (e.g. though somewhat of a stereotype - English lord living in a manor house - he wasn't a hopeless stereotype) and later British writers have built on the firm foundation they were given to make him distinctly British. He died in Captain America #254 (1980).

He is visibly the inspiration for Paul Grist's Jack Staff character.

CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with

Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.

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