Captain Britain (1st series) #25

Issue Date: 
March 1977
Story Title: 
<BR> … Gathering of Gladiators! (1st story)

First story:

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

Brief Description: 

First story:

Captain Britain takes on the brunt of the bomb, thanks to his forcefield. He frees Captain America and Prime Minister Callahan and, together, the two heroes intend to join the battle. Nick Fury and the S.T.R.I.K.E agents are fighting the Skull’s troops. Fury himself intends to take out the Red Skull, however the sight of Captain America, whom he believed dead, distracts him long enough for the Skull to blast him in the chest. The Skull then teleports away. Captain Britain recognizes that the computer is similar to the one at Braddock Manor and uses it to follow the Skull. Both of them arrive at Big Ben, where Lance Hunter is still trying to reach the germ bomb.

Full Summary: 

First story:

Captain Britain throws himself on the detonating bomb left by the Red Skull to kill the captive Captain America and Prime Minster Callahan.

At the same time, above the hidden headquarters of the Fourth Reich, Nick Fury leads an airborne S.T.R.I.K.E. squadron toward the battle against the Red Skull.
As they fly closer to their goal, Fury addresses the men telling them that he doesn’t know if they are as good as his boys from S.H.I.E.L.D, but they better be, because this is no dry run! It’s for real. If they don’t clobber the Skull and his goons, they’ll take over the whole blamed world.

Back in the underground, Captain Britain has not only survived but his forcefield, activated by pressing the second button on his staff, took the entire brunt of the explosion. He pries the staff between the bars and starts pulling, until finally the bars give way, causing him to fall back in a rather unheroic position. Grabbing his staff, he tells his compatriot to come on. The show isn’t over yet.

Captain America tells him to slow down. He assumes that Britain has reached Fury, who is now leading an attack force here. If so, they need to get the prime minister to safety first, before leaping into battle. That won’t be necessary, Callahan announces, pointing out that the Skull will most likely need all his troops for battle. So he should have no trouble taking his leave.

Captain America is unsure but Captain Britain points out that the path was clear from here to the exit. If the prime minister heads into that direction, he’ll reach the street. Callahan wishes them good luck, adding that all Britain will pray for their victory. With the politician leaving, the two heroes run to join the fray.

And above them, the Dockland sky seems to explode in a fiery paroxysm of death and destruction, as a modern battle for Britain begins between Fury’s troops and the Nazis. Fury announces that they should have gotten the message from World War II. The Nazis aren’t wanted here – not now – not ever!

Watching from below, the Skull revels in the battle. There is no greater thrill than armed conflict, man fighting man, dying for causes beyond himself. He touches a picture of Adolf Hitler, thinking that he aches for the victory denied to his Führer years ago – the conquest of the pigheaded British.

Up in the sky, Fury comes to the conclusion that they are holding their own. It doesn’t escape his notice that the Skull is watching the battle from a safe distance, rather than taking part. Suddenly, an agent warns him and takes out the Nazi, who meant to shoot him. Fury commends him. Apparently, they measure up after all. But they have more Nazis to knock off and he intends to nail the red-on-the-head chief down there. However, as he flies down, the Skull has already noticed him and points his gun at Fury, announcing that, to the fall of Britain and his destruction of Captain America, he will now add Fury’s death.

That very moment, the two Captains enter the room. Fury sees them first and is astonished – he believed the men to be dead. Taking advantage of his foe’s distraction, the Skull shoots him right in the chest. Captain America cries out in denial, blaming himself.

The Skull now sees him as well. He has no idea how he survived but he means to rectify the situation. He aims his gun at Captain America. Captain Britain jumps at him and kick him right in the face.

Captain America intends to take the Skull out himself but the villain orders him to back off. If he takes one more step, the Skull will press this button and the blood of eight million people will be on Cap’s hands.

He’s bluffing, America announces. Has he forgotten the germ bomb in Big Ben that is timed to explode at midnight, the Skull reminds him. Surely he realizes that it can be detonated sooner. Cap isn’t buying it but Captain Britain tells him to back off. Even if it is a bluff, they can’t afford to call it with stakes that high.
The stakes are too high to let the Skull call the shots, Captain America insists, undeterred. He has to get him. But while they were disputing, the Skull gained enough time to activate his mini-teleportation device. And so, he disappears before their eyes.

He blew it, Captain America berates himself. The Skull killed Fury, now he’s going to kill everyone else and he let him get away. It’s not over yet, Captain Britain insists. Taking a good look at the computer, he announces that it is similar to the one his father designed. If he can operate it, he can get back on the Skull’s trail, for the device that enabled the Skull’s escape is operated by the larger computer. Therefore, it must be set for the same destination as the mini-computer. He activates the computer’s teleporter, hoping to arrive where the Skull did. He tells his comrade he’ll try and stop the bomb and disappears.

Back at Big Ben, the situation is getting desperate, Lance Hunter still hasn’t managed to reach the firing mechanism. Perched somewhat more comfortably against the upright smaller hand, the Red Skull announces that he is wasting his time. Nobody can thwart the Red Skull.

He sounds very sure of himself, Captain Britain, who has suddenly appeared on a dais below them, announces. But then he didn’t expect him to show up, did he?

Characters Involved: 

First story:

Brian Braddock / Captain Britain

Captain America

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

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

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

Prime Minister James Callahan

The Red Skull

The Skull’s Nazi troops

in the Skull’s picture

Adolf Hitler

Story Notes: 

This story was published by Marvel UK.
The 2nd story in this issue is a b&w reprint of the second half of Fantastic Four (1st series) #121, the 3rd story reprints the second part of Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. #3, the fourth story reprints the second part of Marvel Team-up #9.

Issue Information: 
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