Captain Britain (1st series) #28

Issue Date: 
April 1977
Story Title: 
Night of the Hawk!

Gary Friedrich (story), Gary Friedrich & Larry Lieber (dialogue) John Buscema & Tom Palmer (artists) , Larry Lieber (editor)

Brief Description: 

A slumbering Brian Braddock recalls how he gave a toy-sized mechanical hawk to an old friend of the family - Professor Scott - a friendly eccentric who had always loathed the modern world. He doesn’t know that Scott is friendly no longer and has had the hawk changed into a weapon, which he uses to attack factories. Aware of the fact that Braddock will sooner or later put two and two together, Scott phones him and asks him for a visit. After saving his charwoman from a bunch of thugs, Brian intends to do just that. But a chance meeting with Courtney Ross prompts him to pick up a newspaper, which reports the attack on the factory and shows a picture of the hawk. Brian realizes that Scot is behind this and runs off to face him as Capatain Britain.

Full Summary: 

Night-time, and a slumbering Brian Braddock dreams of recent events.

(Brian’s dream / memories)
He recalls how recently he constructed a mechanical toy-sized hawk – swifter and more maneuverable than the real thing – and presented it as a gift to Professor Scott, an old friend of the Braddocks.

Unknown to Brian, Robert Scott was more than pleased. He was also mad – mad enough to transform a token of kindness into an armed monstrosity, a winged weapon of terror, which even now, while Brian sleeps, is sent to attack a factory, meant to destroy this source of pollution.

The hawk sweeps into the complex, unaware that it is being detected and film-recorded. Finally, it finds its target – a room full of inflammable materials – and attacks. Little missiles are fired at the room and the hawk files away as the conflagrations starts, back to its happy master, who announces that the next day they will eliminate another threat to mankind, until they have finally purified the land.

Brian awakes relaxed from his sleep and is happy that he has a day off - it is Sunday after all. He recalls Professor Scott’s letter and remembers the man: he always found him kind and gentle, though others thought him an eccentric.

(Brian’s memories)
He still recalls how his students ridiculed him when he claimed that that without a return to its chivalrous past, the country would be doomed. Finally, he could no longer endure the derision. One evening while visiting the Braddocks, he announced that he was through teaching. Chucking away his career, mistrustful of the modern world, the professor lost interest in everything except his lifelong hobby of hunting with hawks. But even that pleasure ended tragically as the professor found that pollution killed his pets. He had nothing left, he told Brian. Taking pity on him, the young man spent two months constructing an artificial hawk. As Captain Britain, he tested it and found that the bird was faster and more agile than he was. For a moment, he was almost fearful and stated that he was glad the hawk would be entrusted to a kind and trustworthy old gentleman In the wrong hands it could be a menace.

Enough daydreaming, Brian decides and calls the professor to thank him for his note. Seemingly delighted, the old man asks him to come over for the afternoon, stressing that he gets few visitors. Madly, he thinks that the sooner Braddock arrives, the sooner he will die.

Running to his pet, he announces that they have to destroy Brian. Even though he has treated him most kindly, he will become a bitter foe, once he learns to what purpose Scott has turned his gift. Young Braddock is too much a part of this time to oppose it, he continues. He doesn’t rage with indignation at a society whose polluted air destroyed his birds.

Originally, Scott considered Brian’s gift thoughtful, but it did not lessen his feeling of loss, until he chanced upon his scheme for revenge. He set out for the docks, where he found a man to carry out his plane. And so, he watched as the harmless toy was transformed into a weapon of destruction. But the other man expected them to commit crimes for profit with the hawk. Instead, Scott shot him, telling him he was beneath contempt. He intends to improve mankind, not ravage it. And so he will, he vows angrily.

Meanwhile, as Brian prepares for his visit with Scott, he hears a noise outside the window to find his charwoman Mrs. Anderson being attacked by three thugs. He touches his amulet and, the next moment, Captain Britain swings down to attack the thugs. The men run and Cap stays behind to look after the shocked woman. As she comes to, the woman angrily rants that he attacked the men so he could steal her purse himself. If he isn’t a thief, why is he wearing a mask? She shouts for the police and Cap quickly leaves.

A moment later in a back alley, he changes back to Brian Braddock, who wryly hopes that her screams won’t reach chief inspector Dai Thomas.

Suddenly, he runs into Courtney Ross. Happy to see him, she asks where he was for so long. They started to think he’d dropped out of school. She urges him to join her for tea. Brian stalls, telling her he wants to buy a newspaper. He exclaims ‘no’ when he sees the headline: Factory sabotaged!, along with a picture of the hawk the security cameras took. Naturally, he recognizes it.

Telling Courtney he has an appointment he ‘s late for, he leaves, knowing he has to see the professor at once. His host already impatiently waits for him.

Characters Involved: 

Brian Braddock / Captain Britain
Courtney Ross
Mrs Anderson (Brian’s char woman)

Professor Scott / Lord Hawk

Three thugs

in Brian’s memories
Brian Braddock / Captain Britain
James and Elizabeth Braddock (Brian’s parents)
Professor Scott

in Lord Hawk’s memories
Lord Hawk
Criminal engineer

Story Notes: 

This story was published by Marvel UK
The issue contains three reprinted backup stories:
The first part of Fantastic Four #123 (retouched) ; the first part of Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD #1 and the second part of Marvel Team-Up #10
first story

It is unclear when Brian constructed the bird, for Scott as his parents are still shown to be alive when he intends to do so, but when he tests the bird (allegedly two months later), he is already Captain Britain, whom he became after his parents’ death.

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