Captain Britain (1st series) #13

Issue Date: 
January 1977
Story Title: 
“From the Ashes!” (1st story)

First story:
Gary Friedrich (author), Herb Trimpe & Fred Kida (artists) I. Watanabe (letterer), Marie Severin (colorist), Larry Lieber (editor)

Brief Description: 

First story:
Dr. Synne uses his mental powers to drop Captain Britain into the flames, believing him to have perished there. But, as the hero reaches for his staff, he presses the heretofore unused middle button and a forcefield appears saving his life. Captain Britain leaves the fire to confront Synne one more time. Meanwhile, in Braddock Manor, char-woman Emma Collins ignores her orders and enters the late Dr Braddock’s lab to clean there. Sensibly, she turns off the master switch while she cleans. With the computer off-line, Synne is robbed of his power source and transforms back into a frail human – Dr Braddock’s former lab assistant. Having come back to his senses, he warns Captain Britain of the danger the computer poses before he dies.
The hero races back to Braddock Manor, where Emma has switched on the computer again, which now eagerly awaits its foe.

Full Summary: 

First story:
Captain Britain plummets to a fiery death, thanks to the mental might of Dr Synne. The hero’s dismal departure will usher in his master plan, the villain cackles, to dominate first the entire empire and, eventually, the world!

Elsewhere in Braddock Manor, char-woman, Emma Collins, stands before the late Dr. Bradock’s laboratory. She was never allowed to enter it but that was before his tragic death. After all this time, this room is bound to need a good scrubbing, she decides. Ignoring the ‘Do not enter’ sign, Emma steps into the lab, only to exclaim in amazement that it’s like something from a James Bond set. No wonder the room was off-limits. All that fancy machinery must be terribly important. She’d best be careful cleaning. Emma can’t help but wonder though what it’s all for. The master never said. He probably had his reasons, Emma decides and starts scrubbing.

Back in the village, Synne has dropped Captain Britain into the flames. Within the raging inferno, Captain Britain has momentarily managed to survive, thanks to an air pocket, but he realizes the end is near. He wants at least to die as a warrior with his weapon in his hand and he reaches for the staff, which he had dropped in the fire before when he saved the girl. But, as he grabs the staff, his finger presses the as yet unused middle button of the weapon and, suddenly and miraculously, an invisible forcefield is released which immediately surrounds Captain Britain and protects him from the searing heat.

Scant metres away, Dr Synne proclaims his victory, believing his foe to be slain. Now he shall continue his march towards world domination, the villain cackles. He orders his mentally subjugated subjects to follow as he strides away.

Inside the fire, marveling at his luck, Captain Britain uses his staff to jump and lands right before Synne. As the foes gird themselves for battle, back at Braddock Manor, Emma Collins notices that some of the machines still seem to be running. She decides to disconnect them while she’s cleaning, so she won’t be in danger of receiving an electric shock. She switches off what looks like the master switch, certain that nobody will be able to tell the difference.

In the village, there is a dramatic change, however, as Synne suddenly weakens, allowing Captain Britain to overpower his foe. Cap stands over him, demanding to know the source of his powers. Synne wheezes and turns pale. He cant breathe – it’s his heart. Suddenly, a startling transformation takes place, as Synne’s sharp inhuman features change into those of an ordinary, elderly man who mumbles that the computer has failed him, just as suddenly as it took control of him and now… it’s leaving him to die.

What computer, Captain Britain wants to know. At Braddock Manor, the man who was Synne replies, where he briefly worked as Mr. Braddock’s assistant before he died. With his last words, he begs the hero to save the world and destroy the computer.

Captain Britain gets a closer look at him, realizing he should have recognized him. But he looked so different from when he knew him. The villagers too are free and confused. Cap asks them to return to their homes. He’ll explain later. First he has to return to the source of the nightmare – Braddock Manor. As speed is of the essence, Cap uses his staff as a jumping pole, easily covering several hundred meters with per jump.

Back at Braddock Manor, Emma has finished cleaning and plugs in the switch again
The computer comes back to life, determining what the cause for the power failure was. It receives data about Synne being dead and Captain Britain closing in. Defense plan “M” has to be activated.

Cap races into the mansion, not believing that his father would have created something evil, but, if he did, it’s his task to destroy it. In the lab his father’s creation awaits him – “M” being set to strike instantly.

Characters Involved: 

First story:
Brian Braddock / Captain Britain

Emma Collins
The sentient computer at Braddock Manor / Mastermind II

Dr. Synne
Mindcontrolled villagers

Story Notes: 

This story was published by Marvel UK.
The 2nd story in this issue is a b&w reprint of the first half of Fantastic Four (1st series) #116, the 3rd story reprints the first half of Strange Tales #165.

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