The Beefeaters of Britain are mostly ceremonial these days, but in the Marvel Universe, the Beefeaters are the heroic version of HYRDA!
Spoilers for The Union #4 ahead!
The Beefeaters exist in Britain today mostly to service tourists, but in the Marvel Universe, they serve as a heroic counterpart to Hydra. In The Union #4, readers are given a brief glimpse of this new and improved version of the Beefeaters.
Formally referred to as Yeomen Warders, the Beefeaters are the ceremonial guards of the Tower of London. In the past, they were responsible for prisoners in the Tower as well as guarding the Crown Jewels. As time has progressed, however, the position has become more ceremonial, and the Beefeaters today also help tourists – conducting tours and posing for photos. But in the Marvel Comics Universe, the Beefeaters, or at least one version of them anyway, are an elite fighting unit, one that mirrors the sinister HYRDA organization in many ways.
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In the latest issue of The Union, written by Paul Grist, with art by Andrea Di Vito, inker Le Beau Underwood and colorist Nolan Woodard, the villainous Doctor Croker Dyle and his team have invaded the Tower of London. They’re searching for the Empire Stone, a magical device used by John Dee, a sorcerer in service to Queen Elizabeth the First, that allowed the British to rule a worldwide empire. Dyle wants it for obvious reasons, and he and his team tear through many of the Tower’s defenses, including a heavily trained paramilitary squad. Dyle and his goons make their way to the chamber where Stone is held, only to be greeted by The Last Beefeater, who tells them they will not pass, and he has taken a vow to defend the Tower to his death. Volcanna, one of Dyle’s associates, shoots fire blasts at him, but he uses his staff to move out the way. He continually reminds Dyle, Volcanna, and the rest of his oath, and that he is willing to die to defend the Tower. It does not come to that, as Volcanna just opts to knock him out with her fist.
The Last Beefeater is unlike any Beefeater seen in our world, and he feels like a call back to their original purpose. Yet what is truly interesting is he tells Dyle and company that if he (The Last Beefeater) falls, more will rise to take his place. Fans will hear echoes of HYRDA’s slogan in the Beefeaters’ boast. Taken in this context, the Beefeaters, as depicted in The Union, are the heroic version of HYRDA – they are both elite forces with highly specialized training, colorful uniforms, and similar mottos. The British side of the Marvel Universe has not been explored at great length, so the Beefeaters being the heroic equivalent of a ruthless terrorist organization adds a unique layer to this under-explored corner of the Marvel world.
It remains to be seen if the Last Beefeater will make another appearance, but in the few pages he is seen, he and the rest of the Beefeaters make a grand impression as the heroic counterpart to HYRDA. The Union #4 is on sale now in print and digital.
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