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Captain Britain (2nd series) #11

Issue Date: November 1985

Story Title: The House of Baba Yaga

Staff: first story
Jamie Delano & Alan Davis (co-creators), Annie Halfacree (letters), Ian Rimmer (editor)

Brief Description:
Their travels have taken Captain Britain and Meggan to the snowy wilderness of Russia, where Meggan plays with the wolves. Afterwards, looking for shelter, she takes Brian to an abandoned house she has found. When they begin to kiss, however, she turns into an aggressive lizard-like form and a repulsed Brian flees. Meggan searches the house for the source of that impulse and, in the cellar, she finds the witch Baba Yaga and murdered zombie women who were killed by men and since then have taken to cannibalism, particularly to eating men. Captain Britain is entrapped by the witch’s magic and about to be made the next meal. Luckily, Meggan instinctively uses magic and her powers to burn the place and the witch and her followers down. Afterwards, both of them wonder if Baba Yaga was the reason Meggan’s ancestors left this place. Moments later, they are suddenly taken to the South American past.

Full Synopsis:
A snowy wilderness… Captain Britain watches as Meggan courses the ancient snow-sheathed land of her ancestors in the company of wolves, intoxicated with the wild magic that has grown within her. As he sits at the fire, the lonely wind plucks her name from his lips. He calls the food is ready and suggests she tell her friends to go home.

Feral Meggan tells him not to worry. They won’t bite him. She turns to her normal self. She apologizes for looking so fierce. It’s the power. Don’t let it make him scared of her. He assures her he isn’t scared. It fascinates him.

He knows she’d just as soon curl up with the wolves… and he doesn’t want to stop her rediscovering her roots. But he wishes they could find some shelters. His forcefield protects him from the cold, but he misses having a roof over his head. She has an idea and grabs his hand, leading him on until they reach an old house she found earlier.

Brian hesitates. Something feels wrong about it. It’s just because it’s an old empty house, she tells him. He’ll be all right when he gets a fire going.

They state a fire inside the hearth. What does she think of Russia then? he asks. It’s wonderful, she assures him. So big and cold and empty. She thanks him for bringing her, for taking her to all those places. It’s been quite a grand tour so far, he agrees. What did she like best? Bali? The Himalayas? Egypt? It’s all been amazing, she admits. Much better than watching it on TV. She feels alive now.

Yes, it’s a wonderful world, all right, he agrees suddenly bitterly. He thinks of his brother, dead in Africa. He thinks of his sister, lost to him in the bitterness of Britain. She shushes him and they kiss.

A moment later, he draws back disgusted and horrified when she has shifted shape to become a snake like being. With a cry of horror, he withdraws and flees into the night.

The power leaves Meggan limp, as if abandoned by some ghastly tide. Scoured by the force which swept her, she weakly lets the house comb her into the depth of its dangerous geometry. But slowly a reckless anger lights a fire against the still cold. Something had entered her and tried to make her hurt the Captain… something old and dry and hungry and this is where it lives.

She finds a small hut constructed of human bones. Who’s there? Meggan calls out. A skeletal crone with snake hair exits the hut, asking if she has forgotten the name of Baba Yaga. No, she smells the blood of the snake in her veins. She calls Meggan “daughter” and bids her come forward and greet her sisters.

Corpselike women rise from the ground and surround Meggan. Baba Yaga urges Meggan to embrace her family. She is home. Did she not bring the offering of flesh? Meggan turns away disgusted. They are not her sisters. She brought them nothing.

Why does she lie? Baba Yaga asks. Even now the offering is thrust struggling into the earth. Just as once her sisters were thrust, still breathing, into the graves of their husbands. The food comes. Eat with them!

Outside, Captain Britain still runs in panic. Then he stops, thinking of Meggan. Suddenly, vines from the ground grab him and drag him downward.

Elsewhere, Baba Yaga tells Meggan that once they were many. They feasted nightly as new daughters brought their offerings of dead flesh. But as the centuries passed the snake blood ran thin in the veins of women, the Earth is less bountiful now.

The zombie women press closer to Meggan. Disgusted, she hits one of them, her blow destroying its body. Baba Yaga tells her to be still. The food is here.

Bound by vines, Captain Britain hangs tied from the cave’s ceiling. He asks Meggan for help.

Baba Yaga takes out her dagger. The food calls her name. Is her appetite not stirred?

Deep inside Meggan ancient legends of darkness and bloated fear struggle for recognition. Fighting nausea with anger, she wrestles forgotten words to her lips and spits them like sparks. She begins to glow. With of wood and witch of water… Fire will save us from the slaughter.

Calling her traitor, Baba Yaga panics. Cap begins to free himself. Meggan glows ever brighter.

Fire to scorch you… fire to torch you. Fire to send you screaming back to hell!

She tosses flames at Baba Yaga. The whole place begins burning brightly. She is not their sister! Meggan shouts. Burn!

Brian drags her out of the burning house. And they watch. Afterwards, she calms down. She did it again, didn’t she? He’s afraid, she did, Brian replies wryly. She just got so angry, so scared. She doesn’t know what got into her.

If this was the area that her ancestors came from, he is not surprised they left, he muses. He’d sooner be a gypsy wandering forever than live with roots like that.

If she promises not to do it again, will he hold her hand? she asks. This power frightens her. She needs something solid to hold. Hugging her, he assures her she will be able to control it better in time. Things won’t take her by surprise.

A hand touches them from behind. They disappear and then reappear, surrounded by Inca pyramids.

Characters:
Captain Britain
Meggan

Baba Yaga
Baba Yaga’s followers

Fascination (unseen)

Notes:
Baba Yaga is an evil witch who stars in many Russian fairy tales.

This issue also includes the following stories:
Dalek Killers by Steve Moore and Dave Lloyd
Showdown by Steve Parkhouse and Dave Lloyd
Midsummer Madness by Jamie Delano
Playgrounds and Parasites by Mike Collins, a Cherubim spinoff from the Captain Britain main story.

This Issue has been reprinted in:
Captain Britain By Alan Moore & Alan Davis Omnibus (Trade Paperback)

Issue Summary written by: Ruth


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