Captain Britain (1st series) #16

Issue Date: 
January 1977
Story Title: 
<BR> “A Hero unmasked!” (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:

Inspector Thomas intends to unmask Captain Britain, who resists. Before the situation becomes even more ugly, Captain America interferes. He tells the other Captain to run away; he’ll handle the authorities. Captain Britain isn’t about to anger the police anymore and attacks his would-be-savior instead. Thomas decides to let them fight it out and then arrest both. He proceeds to do so, but captain American shows him his orders by SHIELD and the C.I.D. and Captain Britain is integral to that mission. Angrily, Thomas storms away and the two Captains make up. Captain America explains that his mission is about a mysterious computer in Braddock Manor.
The heroes may already be too late, though, as, inside the mansion, the evil Red Skull intends to use the computer for his own goals.

Full Summary: 

First story:

Moments ago, C.I.D. inspector, Dai Thomas, ordered Captain Britain to remove his mask. As the hero refused, Thomas now intends to unmask him himself, leaving Captain Britain in a quandary: should he disobey the law or risk his secret identity? He protests that Thomas mustn’t do this. When Thomas doesn’t listen, Cap kicks him away before he can fully remove the mask.
Angrily, Thomas reaches for his weapon, announcing that he didn’t want to settle this with a gun.
Nor will he, another voice announces, as Captain America joins the fray and asks what this is all about.

Thomas replies that he doesn’t want to be impolite but Captain America is interfering in official police business and they can’t have that, not even from him. So he’d better stand down or be arrested. No way, Cap announces and kicks away the gun. Thomas was pointing at him. He has not time for this red tape. He shouts at Captain Britain to run – he’ll handle the bureaucracy. Surprisingly, Captain Britain attacks him instead! As far as he’s concerned, he’s in enough hot water and he doesn’t need attacked policemen to make the situation worse. Plus, he figures, if he takes the police’s side, maybe they’ll see that he’s no threat. Unfortunately, Captain America easily tosses him to the ground.

The policemen ask Inspector Thomas if they should interfere. He tells them not to. That way, they’ll weaken each other and afterwards they can take both in.

Captain America gives his British counterpart a hand, suggesting he stop trying to impress the cops and let Captain America get him away from them. Grasping his hand, Captain Britain tells him that what he most admires about Yanks is their unbearable trust – with that, he flips Captain America over. Perhaps he gets the message now: he is not a lawbreaker. Losing his patience, the other man snaps that his message is coming in loud and clear. But, in the States, a hero does whatever is necessary to protect his secret identity. Maybe he’s not the genuine article… He’s not in the Colonies now, Captain Britain snaps back, as he reaches for his quarterstaff. Both men get ready for a proper fight.

Inside Braddock Manor, the shrouded figure, who has been watching matters on the computer screen, exclaims “Captain America?! Here?” Could he suspect his presence? He calms himself announcing that his foe doesn’t even know he’s still alive. And he won’t find out until it’s too late. This time his enemy will not triumph. This time Captain America will die while he will rule the world. With that vow, the Red Skull reveals his unholy visage. But, to that end, he continues, he must reprogram the computer for its final assault on mankind. How appropriate that his first victim should be his greatest foe, he announces, as he turns back to the computer screen watching the battle between the two champions.

Outside, Captain Britain finds that his foe is faster than he anticipated, as he can barely evade the other man’s thrown shield. He counters with his quarterstaff and then uses it to kick away the shield. He mocks that Captain America might just be a had-been. Pissed off, Captain America kicks him straight in the chest, intending to teach him a lesson in manners. He doesn’t get far, as suddenly a gun is held to his temple and Dai Thomas announces that they are both under arrest.

Why take him in, Captain Britain protests. Captain America started the trouble. Thomas isn’t interested, until Captain America announces that he is operating under orders from SHIELD, with clearance from the British C.I.D. They’ll find his papers in his belt buckled. Thomas checks the clearance and actually apologizes. Nevertheless, he intends to keep Captain Britain, until Captain America explains that Captain Britain is an integral part of his assignment. He’ll have to stay with him until the mission is completed. Just his rotten luck, Thomas swears. He warns Captain Britain that he won’t rest while he’s still on the loose. As soon as the assignment is finished, he’ll be taken into custody.

Thomas storms off and Captain America tells the other Captain to relax and put that stick away, unless he wants him to break it over his thick skull. Captain Britain still isn’t convinced. The papers might be forged. If he’s really Captain America, why was he able to give him such a tussle? The real Captain America would have made short work of a novice like him. Captain America tells him that he either overestimates him or underestimates himself. His reflexes are fast. With more experience he could hold himself against any hero. But he didn’t cross an ocean to test him. Pointing at Braddock Manor he tells him that his mission is to check out a computer that apparently is inside that mansion. Does he know anything about it? More than he’d believe Captain Britain replies, although he’d forgotten about it during the battle. He’d be happy to brief him, if the other man is willing to forget youthful cheek and agree to be friends.

The two Captains shake hands and, inside the mansion, the Red Skull swears that no amount of information will save Captain America from the wrath of the Red Skull.

Characters Involved: 

First story:

Brian Braddock / Captain Britain

Captain America

Inspector Dai Thomas


The Red Skull

Story Notes: 

This story was published by Marvel UK.
The 2nd story in this issue is a b&w reprint of the first part of Fantastic Four (1st series) #11, the 3rd story reprints the second half of Strange Tales #166.

Issue Information: 
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