Captain Britain (1st series) #24

Issue Date: 
March 1977
Story Title: 
<BR> The Fall of the Fourth Reich? (1st story)

First story:

Gary Friedrich (story), Gary Friedrich & Larry Lieber (Dialogue), John Buscema & Tom Palmer (artists) Irv Watanabe (letterer), Larry Lieber (editor)

Brief Description: 

First story:

Captain Britain has to fight the law, as Inspector Dai Thomas means to arrest him. Not only does he escape but he steals the police car as well. Using the radio, he alerts Nick Fury to the location of the Red Skull’s headquarters. Fury leads a squad of S.T.R.I.K.E. agents with jetpacks there. The Skull expects the attack but first leaves a bomb with the captured Captain America and Prime Minister Callahan. Captain Britain finds them and intends to toss away the bomb but, at that moment, it detonates. In the meantime, Lance Hunter still hangs on for his life at Big Ben, unable to reach the germ bomb the Red Skull planted there.

Full Summary: 

First story:

Lance Hunter, director of S.T.R.I.K.E. holds on for his life as he dangles from the large hand of Big Ben.

Captain America is held prisoner in an underground fortress, death aimed at him from every direction.

And Captain Britain is trapped by the unshakeable suspicion of Chief Inspector Dai Thomas. Cap implores the inspector to listen to him. The prime minister’s fate, perhaps even the fate of the country, is at stake. He must contact S.H.I.E.L.D. If not, he will be handing the country to the Red Skull on a silver platter.

Still training his gun on the young hero, Thomas tells him to save his breath for the interrogation. He is under arrest. He doesn’t know why Cap feigned his death at Braddock Manor but they’ll get the truth from him at the Yard. Instead, Cap hits him in the stomach with his quarterstaff, announcing that he can’t oblige when the life of a nation hangs in the balance. Swinging his staff, he forces the other policemen to back off and then jumps over them to their car.

As Thomas shouts at them to stop him, Cap simply drives away. The policemen apologize to Thomas but, as they point out, the quarterstaff makes a formidable weapon and they are unarmed. Thomas had a gun. If he couldn’t stop him, how could they? Angrily, Thomas orders them to alert Scotland Yard, muttering that he will se that costumed catastrophe brought to justice.

Rotten luck, Captain Britain thinks, running into the one policeman who hates his guts. Using the radio within the car, he identifies himself as Thomas and requests emergency clearance to the S.H.I.E.L.D. Heli-carrier. Seconds later, within the Heli-carrier above London, Nick Fury’s second-in-command, ‘Dum-Dum’ Dugan, answers the call telling him Fury isn’t there. Cap insists on speaking to Fury and Dugan patches him through to him, as he is currently subbing for Commander Hunter at S.T.R.I.K.E. central.

Fury tells Cap –still mistaking him for Inspector Thomas – that he isn’t here to take on local police problems. So, if someone heisted a bank or mugged a broad – he is barking up the wrong tree. Cap curtly tells him to shut his trap and listen. He has got the location of the Red Skull’s hide-out.

At that moment, a dog runs across the street. Trying not to hit it, Captain Britain swerves the car, loses control of it and crashes into a wall. Fury shouts at him over the radio to answer, afraid that he has lost contact at this most crucial moment. Captain Britain is groggy for a moment but finally remembers what he was trying to tell Fury. He takes up the radio again and tells Fury where to find the Skull.

Seconds later, Nick Fury announces a code red alert. He wants every man combat-ready on the double. He’ll lead the air assault himself. He tells a desk agent to contact Hunter and tell him they had no time to hang around waiting for him to show.

Hanging around is just what Commander Hunter does, as he desperately pulls him himself up to the clock hand, before it gets any lower. Finally, he succeeds but there is still a problem. With the clock’s hand at that angle, he cannot reach the bomb. He has to hang on and wait, till the hand moves into the right position, which will take another twenty minutes.

Captain Britain, in the meantime, climbs out of the car wreck and makes his way back to the Skull’s headquarters.

Inside that building, the Red Skull addresses his prisoners, Captain America and British Prime Minister James Callahan. The Skull informs that that Captain Britain has no doubt altered security forces to his location. But that alters nothing, for the Fourth Reich is more than capable of meeting any assault of force and destroying it. Neither of them will live, though, to witness his ultimate triumph. He shows them a small ticking device, which he then tosses carelessly on the ground before their cell. While he will be guiding his troops to victory, he informs them, this device will explode and they will die. He will seal he corridors as he leaves. They have ten minutes left to contemplate their defeat.

Maybe it is their defeat, Captain America announces, but it isn’t the Skull’s victory. There’ll always be someone to oppose him. Always! Wordlessly, the Skull marches out and the device keeps on ticking.

He has stared death in the face several times that day, Callahan admits. It doesn’t get easier. He knows, Cap replies, but they aren’t finished yet, with Captain Britain out there.

The Skull’s troops inform their master that the computer indicates a large invasion force approaching from the air. The Skull orders a counter attack. Fury’s troops are closing in from the air, flying courtesy of their jetpacks. Fury instructs them to be ready for anything and not to fire until he gives the word. They can’t risk the P.M. getting killed.

Captain Britain has found his way back inside the Skull’s lair and races through the corridors, intent on rescuing the two prisoners. He wonders why there are no guards in sight.

Back in the cell, Callahan bleakly announces that they’ve almost run out of time. There can’t be more than a minute left.

In another part of the building, the Skull points at the incoming S.T.R.I.K.E. team, telling his men to prepare to attack for the glory of the Fourth Reich. Spare none, he orders them. Annihilate all.

Captain Britain, in the meantime, has reached the cell. Captain America tells him to grab the bomb and pitch it – fast. Captain Britain jumps towards the device. One moment later, it detonates.

Characters Involved: 

First story:

Brian Braddock / Captain Britain

Captain America

Colonel Nick Fury (director of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

‘Dum-Dum’ Dugan (Fury’s second-in-command)

Commander Lance Hunter (director of S.T.R.I.K.E.)

S.T.R.I.K.E. agents

Prime Minister James Callahan

Chief Inspector Dai Thomas


The Red Skull

The Skull’s Nazi troops

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) #121, the 3rd story reprints the first part of Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. #3, the fourth story reprints the first part of Marvel Team-up #9

The strip switches to black and white from this issue onwards, just like the reprinted strips.

Issue Information: 
Written By: