5704 in-depth character profiles from comics, games, movies

Spitfire of the Invaders (Marvel Comics) (early wartime)

Spitfire

(Jacqueline Falsworth) (Profile #1 - 1942-1943)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Spitfire is one of the foremost British heroines in the Marvel Universe. She keeps appearing in weird corners of the MU rather than in the spotlight, but she’s an elder stateswoman for the British super-folks and adventurers. Her career started during World War Two and is still ongoing.

To facilitate reading, this lengthy career is covered in a series of 5 profiles:

  1. Spitfire (1942-43) – this profile
  2. Spitfire (pre-rejuvenation)
  3. Spitfire (1992-2008)
  4. Sptfire (2008-2011)

Okay Axis — here we come !


Background

  • Real Name: Lady Jacqueline Falsworth
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: William, Lord Falsworth (grandfather, deceased), Montgomery, Lord Falsworth (aka Union Jack, father), Jane, Lady Falsworth (mother, deceased), John Falsworth (aka Baron Blood, uncle, deceased), Brian Falsworth (aka Union Jack, aka the Mighty Destroyer, brother), Katherine Ainsley-Jones (distant cousin, deceased)
  • Group Affiliation: Former member of the Invaders, former member of the Women’s Voluntary Service, former member of the SOE (the wartime Special Operations Executive). The Falsworths are also traditionally members of the Hellfire Club.
  • Base Of Operations: England. The traditional estate, Falsworth Manor, seems to be in the Home Counties, and the Invaders used to be headquartered within the Big Ben tower
  • Height: 5’4” Weight: 110 lbs
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Blonde


Powers & Abilities

Spitfire can run and react at superhuman speeds ; when moving at great speed she’s a very difficult target and her wake packs a lot of power. Her enhanced metabolism gives her improved strength, endurance (she can sprint for up to an hour) and ability to withstand impacts.

Jac usually attacks either 

  • with punches (in DC Heroes she usually subs Superspeed for DEX and uses Critical Blows, in particular against low-OV targets such as enemy soldiers ; in DC Adventures she uses Takedown)
  • or by displacing masses of air in her wake, wooshing among opponents and leaving them too dazed and disoriented by the powerful gusts of wind to fight back. In some older material, her wake would even leave her opponents helplessly spinning on themselves then collapsing.

Secondary sources mention the usual assumptions for a speedster in the Marvel Universe (enhanced strength in the legs, enhanced conversion of energy from food, enhanced resiliency of the bones and joints, etc.). Though those are not directly witnessed those are reasonable hypotheses, since Spitfire certainly seems stronger as a heroine than she was as an ordinary person.

The Lady Crichton is a sort of living vampire. But at this stage there’s no sign of it and nobody is aware of that, including Jacqueline. This will only be discovered *decades* after the war.


History

Jacqueline Falsworth is the only daughter of the Lord Falsworth. The Falsworths are politically connected (especially within the House of Lords), influential in the corporate world (Falsworth Industries was prosperous until the 1980s) and have an history of struggling against undead threats and vampires. They have also been friends of the immortal Mortigan Goth for centuries.

In 1913, the Lord Falsworth died. As usual under primogeniture, the eldest son, Montgomery, became the new Lord Falsworth and the younger son, John, had little to look forward to. The bitter John felt insulted by the small allotment his father had left him, and contemplated revenge against his family.

He left for continental Europe to seek his fortune. John ended up in Transylvania – where his life both ended and changed during an encounter with Dracula.

Both John and his brother Montgomery, Lord Falsworth, played a significant role during the 1910s. The Lord Falsworth became a costumed saboteur, spy and commando — the original Union Jack.

As to John, now the vampiric Baron Blood, he became a servant of Imperial Germany. He would later come to work for the Third Reich. Union Jack, along with his international companions of the Freedom Five, would often clash with Baron Blood on the battlefields of World War One, but they never managed to capture or destroy the vampire.

Lord Falsworth had a son, Brian, circa 1919. Jacqueline was born in 1923 or 1924. When they were teenagers, Montgomery started training them in self-defence.

(In the books, Jacqueline is usually said to have been born in 1926. But that conflicts with an account of events occurring in 1940. Our proposed solution — to have her born in the first half of the 1920s instead — coincidentally became the one used by Marvel in later sourcebooks. There also exists one stray reference to her having been born in 1918, which we’ve ignored.)

World in flames

In 1938, the Munich Agreement drove a rift among the Falsworths. Whilst Lord Falsworth was intractably hostile toward Nazis, Brian saw the virtues of Chamberlain’s  policies. Being pacifists, Brian and his best friend Roger Aubrey (also semi-secretly his lover) left for Germany after a heated argument with the Lord Falsworth, to meet with Germans opposing the war.

Their well-meaning attempt at supporting appeasement backfired. The Gestapo scored propaganda points by having the two young British men appear in the press as National-Socialism supporters. Lord Falsworth was infuriated by the photos, and refused to acknowledge that he had a son anymore.

Both Brian and Roger had been brainwashed into supporting Hitler, then experimented on by the Nazi scientific apparat. However, the two men recovered their free will and escaped to fight behind enemy lines after war was declared. Aubrey became the shrinking Dyna-Mite, and Falsworth was one of the men who wore the costume of the Mighty Destroyer.

Spitfire (Jacqueline Falsworth) during the 1940s

In 1939 or 1940, John Falsworth came back from continental Europe. This return to the familial manor was enabled by Nazi intelligence services. They helped him pass for his own son, John Falsworth II, to explain his lack of ageing. ”John” also explained that he had severe anaemia, to conceal his vampirism.

As he waited for further orders, “John” feasted on a cousin of Jacqueline, Katherine, who had been sent to the manor during the London evacuation programme. Turned into a vampire, Katherine was thankfully cured by drinking the blood of a visiting Mortigan Goth. However, her curse would return decades later.

Young Lady Jacqueline Falsworth was in Norway in 1940, where she was forced to kill an innocent in the line of duty, to protect her cover.

Norwegian woods

The date of the Norwegian incident is specifically given as the 20th of June, 1940. This is puzzling, since not much is happening in late June in Norway (the campaign is over, resistance cells have not emerged yet, Quisling  is not in charge yet, the Royals and other VIPs and soldiers have already been evacuated, etc.). The two *hypothetical, non-canon* approaches we can suggest are :

  1. Jackie was in Norway as an intelligence correspondent during the war for some reason (perhaps she also speaks Norwegian). She got cut off by the rapid advance of the Axis, and spent three months undercover arranging for a return to the UK by late June. Possible inspirations for such a scenario include the movie The Day Will Dawn .
  2. The date given was erroneous and Jackie was actually in Norway in 1943, between Invaders missions. She could have been involved in an operation similar to Errol Flynn movie Edge of Darkness  (to provide weapons to would-be partisans) or in the famous “heavy water sabotage” operations.
  3. After we came up with these hypotheses, Marvel issued a sourcebook with further details. But there are problems. Jacqueline was supposedly on a Special Operations Executive mission (but historically the SOE hadn’t been founded yet) to liaise with the Milorg resistance network (which historically was founded months later).

    This scenario becomes possible if we assume that the correct date for the mission is, say, the 20th of June, 1941.

    The fearless vampire killers

    The Lady Falsworth died during the Blitz. Her distraught daughter joined the Air Raid Precautions organisation in London. A striking blonde, Miss Falsworth would often turn heads, even in these difficult times.

    In 1942, the Abwehr activated Baron Blood. The vampire attacked the Falsworths, but did not manage to kill them. Jacqueline was but lightly bitten, and the ageing Union Jack repulsed the vampire with the help of the Invaders. Blood retreated and resumed his charade as “John Falsworth II”.

    Incensed, the Lord Falsworth returned to action as Union Jack, to Jacqueline’s dismay. She feared that her father would soon follow her mother in death. Jacqueline blamed Captain America for her father’s decision to return to the field.

    Since his cover identity was intact, Baron Blood resumed his attacks. He bit Jacqueline anew, this time more severely, making her weak and emotional. Blood’s next attack resulted in his temporary destruction by the Invaders. Yet, Union Jack’s legs were crushed by a rock and Jackie was left at death’s door.

    The Invaders rushed the Falsworths to a London hospital. However, Jacqueline’s blood had already been transmogrified  by Blood’s bite, and the transfusions didn’t take. Smitten with her, the Torch volunteered for an integral transfusion. He told the doctors that he could regenerate his “blood”, which had unique properties that could save the young woman’s life.

    The Torch passed out from the strain, but Jacqueline was saved.

    Their finest hour

    At this point, the hospital was attacked by a Nazi agent, the Blue Bullet. Springing into action from her hospital bed and moving at superhuman speeds, Jacqueline carried the unconscious Torch to safety before the Bullet could kill him.

    The mix of altered vampiric ichor and the Torch’s unique synthetic blood had granted her superhuman powers. During the battle, Bucky (James Barnes) exclaimed that Jackie was moving as fast as a Spitfire fighter aircraft .

    Electrified, Jacqueline Falsworth volunteered to take her crippled father’s place among the Invaders. Her anger toward Captain America turned to admiration. That was to the dismay of the inexperienced Human Torch, who was still looking for a way to talk to her about his amorous feelings.

    Spitfire (Jacqueline Falsworth) punches a Nazi soldier

    Practising with her speed and creating a super-heroine costume and mask, Spitfire did join the Invaders. She took part to a number of their wartime missions. Among other feats she helped save the royals and Prime Minister Churchill  at least once.

    The Invaders, invading

    Jacqueline and Montgomery Falsworth also recovered the amnesiac hero Dyna-Mite. Recognising him as Roger Aubrey, they sought to help him recover his memory. The Falsworths ended up launching a mission deep in Nazi Germany with the help of an old friend of Lord Falsworth, an anti-Nazi German named Oskar.

    They restored Roger’s memories and learned the truth about Brian, but were captured. Now clad as Union Jack, Brian Falsworth came to the rescue before the Invaders, his father and Oskar could be executed. Though Toro was badly wounded in the fray, everybody made it back to England alive.

    Whilst a captured Nazi scientist was working on reverting the diminutive Dyna-Mite to human size, Lord Brian Falsworth carried on being Union Jack. He served with the Invaders along with his sister. The two preeminent wartime British heroes thus being the children of the Lord Falsworth.

    As to Roger, he became the third man to assume the identity of the Mighty Destroyer, and returned to fight behind enemy lines.


    Description

    During the 1940s, Spitfire’s blonde hair created a trail of yellow flames behind her as she ran. This was caused by both retinal persistence and her speed actually igniting some air behind her.


    Personality

    In her youth, Jackie was somewhat emotional, an out-and-out firebrand, and close to her father. She was both a first wave feminist (an inheritor of the suffragettes ) and a patriot.

    Her Britishisms were exaggerated. She would rate about a 4 on the Cor Blimey Scale, and particularly liked inserting ’ruddy‘ somewhere in her dialogue.

    Spitfire was more reticent to kill than the rest of the Invaders.

    That’s about it – those stories were not quite about characterisation, really.


    Quotes

    “Have no fear, father — for if Union Jack cannot carry the family crest to new glory — then let that be the first task of – Spitfire !”

    Union Jack II : “Don’t get too far ahead of us, girl !”
    Spitfire: “Worry about yourself, brother dear — and the Jerries had best do the same !” (knocks out two Nazi soldiers)


    Sharing

    The links to follow us and/or subscribe to our monthly newsletter are at the bottom of this page.



    Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

    Tell me more about the game stats

    Spitfire (1942/1943)

    Dex: 06 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation : Thrill/Responsibility
    Int: 06 Wil: 06 Min: 06 Occupation : Heroine
    Inf: 06 Aur: 05 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 006
    Init: 026 HP: 040

    Powers:
    Air control: 05, Gravity decrease: 02, Kinetic absorption (Structural only): 02, Superspeed: 08

    Bonuses and Limitations:

    • Air Control is Contingent upon Superspeed and is performed via moving (usually running)
    • Air Control does not allow for flight
    • Gravity Decrease is Contingent on Air Control – it consists of forming a strong updraft under the target object. Spitfire can also
      use it on herself through rapid legs movement heating the air below her.
    • Spitfire can only use up to 3 APs of Superspeed to reduce the time for tasks, and this is further limited to purely physical tasks
    • Superspeed does not allow for EV sub

    Note:
    When receiving a full transfusion of the blood of the original Human Torch, Spitfire’s unique physiology grants her Invulnerability: 12 and Regeneration: 12 while the transfusion lasts. Invulnerability counteracts ageing effects, and both Powers will work to erase ageing and wounds suffered since the last time she was physically 16.

    Skills:
    Acrobatics (Athletics, Dodging): 08

    Bonuses and Limitations:
    Acrobatics is Contingent on Superspeed

    Advantages:
    Connoisseur, Familiarity (British nobility customs), Language (German), Schtick (Fists of Fury), Misc.: Jacqueline is a fairly senior English noble and enjoys some social privileges due to her rank.

    Connections: Invaders (Low), Mortigan Goth (Low), British nobility (Low), Human Torch I (Jim Hammond, High), Roger Aubrey (Low)

    Drawbacks:
    Secret ID, MIA toward defending women’s rights


    Design Notes

    The wartime entries stick with the statting conventions for formulaic WWII dashing, two-fisted Allied heroes since that’s exactly what she is. We don’t see her in action that much, but there’s not reason to suppose she wouldn’t be close in abilities to, say, Firebrand (Danette Reily).



    Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG Print Friendly

    Tell me more about the game stats

    Spitfire (1942/1943) — Averaged PL 8.4

    STR STA AGL DEX FGT INT AWE PRE
    00 (02) 01 (03) 01 (03) 02 (03) 02 (04) 01 01 02

    Powers

    Superspeed ● 40 points (Sustained)
    – Speed 7, Quickness 3, Leaping 4
    – Movement 1 (Water-Walking 1)
    – Enhanced Agility 3, Enhanced Dodge 1, Enhanced Parry 2
    – Improved Initiative 2, Defensive Roll 1, Evasion 2, Instant Up, Quick-draw
    – Acrobatics 5 (+11), Athletics 10 (+12)

    Superspeed punches ● 7 points
    Close attack 4, Takedown, Move-by Action, Power Attack

    Superspeed wake Array ● 8 points

    • Mini-whirlwind — Cone Area Move Object 5, Close, Limited 2 (to gas, vapour, smoke, etc.)
    • Violent gust of winf — Burst Area Move Object 4, Close, Limited 1 (Direction – up and away)
    • Generate a strong updraft — Movement 1 (Burst Area Safe Fall, Affects Others)
    • Kick up dust and debris — Environment 1 (Visibility -5)
    • Crosswinds — Environment 1 (Impede movement 2 ranks)

    Unique physiology ● 21 points
    – Protection 4 (Limited 2 – to Structural Impacts)
    – Feature 1 (A full transfusion from the Human Torch (Jim Hammond) will thoroughly heal and rejuvenate Spitfire)
    – Feature 1 (Jackie’s blood will set most vampires on fire)
    – Enhanced Strength 2, Enhanced Stamina 2, Enhanced Agility 2, Enhanced Dexterity 1, Enhanced Fighting 2

    Combat Advantages

    Close attack 6 (10 w/Superspeed punches), Defensive Roll 2 (3 w/Superspeed), Improved Initiative 2, Evasion 2, Instant Up, Move-by Action, Power attack, Quick-draw, Takedown

    Other Advantages

    Benefit 1 (Senior British nobility), Language (German)

    Skills

    Acrobatics 5 (+11), Athletics 10 (+12) , Deception 3 (+5), Expertise (British nobility) 4 (+5), Insight 5 (+6), Perception 5 (+6), Persuasion 4 (+6)

    Offense

    Initiative +11
    Unarmed +10, Close, Damage 2
    Unarmed w/superspeed +14, Close, Damage 2

    Defense

    Dodge 12**/8 Fortitude 7
    Parry 10**/8 Toughness 6**/5/3*
    Will 8

    * Without Defensive Roll
    ** With Superspeed

    Complications

    • Motivation Thrill/Patriotism
    • Identity Secret identity, though it’s a weak case
    • Honour As a noble, and as 1930s feminist

    Power levels

    • Trade-off areas Attack/Effect PL 8, Dodge/Toughness PL 9, Parry/Toughness PL 8, Fort/Will PL 8
    • Point total 134 Abilities 20, Defences 20, Skills 11, Powers 73, Devices 0, Advantages 10. Equiv. PL 9.

    Notes

    For the meaning of “Structural Impacts” and other groups of Descriptors, see the protective Powers usage description in our New Rules for DC Adventures.

    By Sébastien Andrivet

    Source of Character: Marvel Universe (Invaders volume 1, mostly)

    Helper(s): Rpg.net’s Britpack, Jo Beverley’s article on writing about British nobility ; Capita_Senyera, Chaplain Chris, Darci.

Subscribe to our MINI-NEWSLETTER !

One bare-bones e-mail per month. Plain text. Short. To the point. Learn more.