Captain Britain (1st series) #17

Issue Date: 
February 1977
Story Title: 
<BR> “The Revenge of the Red Skull!” (1st story)

First story:

Gary Friedrich (author), Herb Trimpe & Fred Kida (artists) I. Watanabe (letterer), Goege Roussos (colorist), Larry Lieber (editor)

Brief Description: 

First story:

Captain Britain and Captain America fight their way towards Braddock Manor against hordes of Neonazis. They beat their foes but, anticipating further traps, Captain Britain leads his comrade-in-arms through a secret passage – Braddock Manor’s wine cellar. In the meantime, the Red Skull’s troops recruit Londoners everywhere – preparing for a revolution and Nick Fury and his British STRIKE counterpart, Tod Radcliffe, meet the British prime minister to discuss the danger or resurging Nazism, the mysterious computer at Braddock Manor and the link between the two. The other two men are unaware that Radcliffe is secretly working for the Red Skull. Sneaking away, he receives instructions from his leader to bomb Braddock Manor within the hour.
Captain Britain’s attempt to get them to the computer lab, in the meantime, has led them to a trap – a cell, where they find themselves imprisoned. Moments later, poisonous gas enters the room…

Full Summary: 

First story:

Trying to make their ways towards Braddock Manor, Captain Britain and Captain America find themselves attacked by armed men in bizarre green costumes with prominent swastikas on their chests. They’re like relics from the last World War, Captain Britain observes. He doesn’t know half of it, Captain America retorts. In this day and age, when you see Swastikas, the Red Skull is never far behind.

While he protects himself from their projectiles with his shield, he continues that the war’s been over for over thirty years and those Nazi knuckleheads still don’t get the message. Kicking two other Nazis away, Captain Britain suggests that, if this is meant to be an invasion of England, they are a few hundred thousand men too short.

A man tries to shoot him from the back. Captain America utters a warning cry, while flinging his shield at the villain. Captain Britain repays him by taking care of the Nazis that tries to jump Captain America from above. Scraps like this are making him quite the pro, Britain jokes.

They’ve dispatched of most of them and the rest flees. Captain America warns the younger hero not to get cocky. If the Red Skull is behind this, this was merely the easy first round. As they’ve bought themselves some time, he suggests they head inside and take a look at the computer Captain Britain was telling him about.

Meanwhile, in the heart of London, several Londoners watch the news on a TV in a shop window. The report explains that the strange craft over London is the SHIELD heli-carrier, so there’s no reason to panic. Nice to tell them, before they all ran for cover, some Londoners remark sarcastically. A woman tells them not to make such a fuss. Nick Fury was a great war hero after all. He’s only a yank, a young boy states derogatively. He wants to see Captain Britain. His attitude changes when he - and the rest of the crowd – see a flying car driving past them. One man states excitedly that he bets Colonel Fury himself is inside. A daft contraption for a daft world, another man decides and announces that he’s heading for the pub.

The daft contraption indeed houses Nicholas Fury and a colleague, Tod Radcliffe – deputy director of S.T.R.I.K.E. (Special Tactical Reserve for international Key Emergencies), the British equivalent to S.H.I.E.L.D. The two men introduce themselves and Radcliffe slyly observes that Fury is older than he expected. Is he planning on retiring soon? Sure, as soon as the weirdoes in this world stop killing each other, the older man wryly retorts and adds that the other man should step on it. They’re having an appointment at 10, Downing Street.

Elsewhere, in a seedy Docklands pub, a man discusses the condition of the country with some other pub guests. They are all unhappy with the situation he suggest and the organization he belongs to will soon be running the show if more good men – like them – will join them. The other men are interested, but hesitating. He’s talking about a revolution, after all. And they’ are too old for that, his friend asks. That’s just it, the first man insists. They need the wisdom of age as well as the strength of youth. He asks them to come to their meeting. They have nothing to lose. It’ s for the good of Britain - and the world.

Back at Braddock Manor, Captain Britain suggests that they avoid any further traps by sneaking in through the wine cellar. Following him, Captain America asks how he knew about this entrance. Britain replies that he spent a lot of time around Braddock Manor when he was a lad. Finally, he points to a trapdoor, which leads to a shortcut to the computer lab. If they move quickly and quietly now, perhaps they can deactivate the machine before it detects them.

At the same moment, in an abandoned warehouse in the Docklands, several men are gathered, listening to and looking at a transmission of the Red Skull. This is just one of many meetings taking place in Britain right now, the recruiter tells the two men from the pub. Each day, their numbers increase and, soon, they’ll bring the power-mad capitalists to their knees.

In the transmission, the Skull rants about the living conditions: the poor getting poorer and the rich getting richer, but together they can overcome the inequities of their so-called democratic leaders. In the new order – the Fourth Reich – all men will live as equals. In a frenzy, the costumed men with the swastikas shout Heil, Red Skull!

The men from the pub agree that he makes sense and decide to sign up, while the Skull watching the display via the computer screen gloats at the gullibility of the poor. It was Great Britain whose stubborn will defeated the Führer and he shall make the British pay! He turns his attention to the two captains, the obstacles he must first remove. They have taken the trapdoor and are now only a door and a stairway away from the computer lab.

In the meantime, at 10 Downing Street, home of the British prime minister, the minister himself is informing Fury and Radcliffe that the growing resurgence of Nazism is becoming a threat not only to Britain but the whole world. It must be halted before it reaches the epidemic proportions, which led to WW II. Fury gruffly agrees, but how do they start? Does he figure the computer he sent Captain America to check out is somehow connected to the Nazis? Most likely, the prime minister relies. That’s why he asked them here.

Suddenly agitated, Radcliffe jumps up, stating that he’s receiving an urgent message. May he use the phone in the other room? Is it more important than their current discussion, the prime minister asks impatiently, but Radcliff makes excuses and leaves. In the adjoining office, Radcliffe is receiving a message – via his watch – by the Red Skull, who tells him to proceed with his orders. The two Captains will be dead momentarily. Radcliffe’s S.T.R.I.K.E-force is to destroy Braddock Manor within the next hour.

Radcliffe returns to the others, thinking that the Skull is leaving Fury to him. Anything wrong, Fury gruffly asks. No, everything is simply … perfect, the villain replies.

Back at Braddock Manor, the two Captains have gone through the door, but the stairway… isn’t there. The door they entered through slams shut and Captain America realizes that they’ve walked into a trap. Not a window in sight either – this isn’t a room – it’s a cell!

Precisely, a cell for the condemned, a voice announces over a loudspeaker, a voice Captain America knows too well. They have played into his hands, the arch-villain announces gleefully and now they shall die. The villain bids Captain America farewell, telling him that the last victory belongs to him as deadly gas fills up the room.

Characters Involved: 

First story:

Captain Britain

Captain America

Colonel Nick Fury (director of SHIELD)

The Red Skull

Tod Radcliffe (deputy director of STRIKE and traitor)

Followers of the Red Skull

James Callaghan, British Prime Minister

London citizens

Story Notes: 

This story was published by Marvel UK.

The 2nd story in this issue is a b&w reprint of the second part of Fantastic Four (1st series) #117, the 3rd story reprints a part of Strange Tales #167 with the pages out of order.

First story:

10, Downing Street is the address of the British prime minister.

James Callaghan was Premier Minister from 1975-1979.

Issue Information: 
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