Captain Britain (1st series) #15

Issue Date: 
January 1977
Story Title: 
<BR> “… Once upon a Death Wish!” (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:

Desperate about his role in the death of his parents, Captain Britain offers no resistance, as Mastermind intends to kill him. However, when Mastermind shoots the charwoman, Emma Collins, who happens to enter the lab, Captain Britain fights after all. Noticing that Mastermind isn’t solid all the time, Cap realizes that he is a projection of the computer and smashes the lens, thus destroying this manifestation of the computer. He phones for an ambulance and carries Emma outside, where the police led by Dai Thomas are already waiting. Thomas arrests him and orders him to show his face, while secretly a shrouded figure slips into Braddock Manor to take control over the computer. In the meantime, on the SHIELD Helicarrier hovering over London, Nick Fury orders Captain America to check out the computer at Braddock Manor and enlist the help of Captain Britain.

Full Summary: 

First story:

Reminded of his parents’ death and his role in it, Captain Britain wishes to die and the mysterious Mastermind seems all too willing to fulfill that wish. Captain Britain buries his face in his hands, moaning that he can’t live with the guilt. He expected sterner stuff from a “superhero,” Mastermind mocks. Captain Britain explains that he didn’t seek his powers or his mission. They were offered to him by forces beyond his understanding. But he accepted them, Mastermind reminds him. He made the choice.

Not out of vanity, Cap defends himself. He wanted to fight injustice. Noble motives aren’t enough. He lacks moral fibre, his foe replies. He points his gun at him. That moment, they are interrupted, as the charwoman, Emma Collins, enters looking for her dust pan. Mastermind shoots her and Captain Britain decides he’s not yet ready to die while such evil walks the world. He dives for his quarterstaff. Nevertheless, Mastermind angrily announces that he’s finished.

At the same moment that Mastermind fires at him, Cap presses the second button of his staff and its forcefield engulfs him and protects him from the deadly laser ray. Using his staff to propel himself forward, Cap jumps right at Mastermind – and right through him, as though he weren’t there!

Studying his foe, he notices a beam of light from the computer aimed straight at Mastermind. Captain Britain understands what his foe is now and, more importantly, how to beat him. He throws the staff at the computer’s projecting lens and, when it hits its aim, Mastermind disappears. He was right, Captain Britain announces. It was a three-dimensional projection - a hologram.

What else is the computer capable of, the hero wonders, as he carefully picks up the inured Emma and carries her out of the lab. He calls for an ambulance, emotionally drained, praying that this won’t end with his having more innocent blood on his hands – while the computer watches and plots.

Hovering above the streets of London is SHIELD’s famed Heli-Carrier, making the Londoners who are not used to the sight nervous. Inside, Nick Fury is addressing Steve Rogers aka Captain America, telling him that this may be the biggest job he’s ever tackled. Their orders came straight from the Ministry of Defense, who is suspecting that some commies are building a supersecret computer complex in Britain. They asked SHIELD to help out. And for that they need Captain America? Steve asks incredulously. Fury tells him to get into his longjohns and pick up his orders on the way out. Oh, and if he runs into a costumed clown named Captain Britain, he should check him out as well. Intelligence thinks he might be tied in to the computer somehow.

Back at Braddock Manor, Captain Britain carries Emma outside to the waiting ambulance. Unfortunately, that’s not the only thing waiting, as Cap finds himself surrounded by the police, led, of course, by his favorite representative of law and order, Inspector Dai Thomas.
Thomas orders his men to take the injured woman and turns to Cap, demanding to know what happened to the woman and whether he was responsible.

Cap has no time for explanations. He has to get back to the computer. Thomas takes his silence for an admission of guilt. Angrily, he rants that first Captain Britain all but wrecks London battling that Hurricane fellow. Then, there’s the strange business of the murder of someone named Synne in one of the nearby villages. Cap was at that scene as well. And now the woman! He’s no hero, but a public menace!

Captain Britain finally protests. But he hasn’t got the time to explain - he’d better make time, Thomas threatens. He wants answers and he doesn’t care whether he gets them here or inside the Yard. He can’t talk now, Cap states and Thomas order his men to arrest him.

Brian knows that whichever decision he makes now will be wrong but, even as he ponders his desperate dilemma, a hooded person steals inside the computer lab. The hooded man gloats that, thanks to the police, he has the chance to slip inside and take control of this complex. And when he’s done, no power will stop him from gaining control over all of Great Britain and, eventually, the domination of the entire world. He touches a button and a screen lights up. Satisfied, he sees that the computer’s hostages – Captain Britain’s siblings, Betsy and Jamie –are still well-guarded. Then he switches the screen to another grim sight, Captain Britain being held by policemen, while Thomas is about to unmask him.

Characters Involved: 

First story:

Brian Braddock / Captain Britain

Nick Fury

Captain America

Emma Collins

Inspector Dai Thomas


The sentient computer at Braddock Manor / Mastermind II

Shrouded mystery villain

(on the computer screen )

Jamie Braddock

Elisabeth “Betsy” Braddock

Story Notes: 

This story was published by Marvel UK.

The 2nd story in this issue is a b&w reprint of the third part of Fantastic Four (1st series) #116, the 3rd story reprints the first half of Strange Tales #166.

Issue Information: 
Written By: