Captain Britain (1st series) #30

Issue Date: 
May 1977
Story Title: 
Panic in Piccadilly!

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

Brief Description: 

Captain Britain finds himself unable to stop either the hawk from wreaking terror or capturing the mastermind behind it. While busy saving people, he is unable to save his flame, Courtney Ross, who is badly injured. When the police, led by Dai Thomas, shows up, Hawk disappears, intent on battling Captain Britain another day, while Cap changes to Brian Braddock to avoid facing Thomas.

Full Summary: 

It’s panic at Piccadilly as Lord Hawk orders his miniature hawk – an engine of destruction – to strike at Captain Britain, raving about the need to purify the land. The artificial bird lets loose eyebeams, which Captain Britain can barely evade, thanks to his agility. He had intended to go home and study the blueprints of the hawk to find a way to defeat it, but there’s no chance of that now. He somersaults up with his quarterstaff and balances precariously on a street lantern, hoping he doesn’t endanger civilians here.

As the hawk makes another pass at him, Cap presses a button on his staff and is engulfed by its protective forcefield the next moment. However, the bird rams him and the forcefield both throwing him off-balance. Will the forcefield also cushion him from the fall, the young hero wonders.

Lord Hawk dreads this moment as well, as the bird is plummeting downwards. Not wanting his magnificent machine to be smashed, he presses the emergency programme button – to find it isn’t working. Cap lands hard, while the emergency programme has taken effect at the last moment. The bird soars upwards again.

Elsewhere, Scotland Yard to be exact, Chief Inspector Dai Thomas learns of the ongoings at Piccadilly. Hang the bird, he decides and orders his people to keep the superhero contained until he arrives. He’s had it with that costumed creep, he swears while grabbing his hat and coat. He orders his men to put out a call to all units. They are going to Piccadilly!

Meanwhile, at Piccadilly, the bird still wildly attacks its surroundings.
Captain Britain decides to change his strategy. Instead of attacking the bird, he will concentrate his efforts on the madman who controls it … before he destroys the city. He tries to reach Lord Hawk, who has his back turned to him. But suddenly the madman turns to find the young hero has survived the fall. But the hero won’t stop him, Hawk gloats, pointing out a child about to be killed by debris thanks to one of the hawk’s attacks.

As expected, Captain Britain jumps towards the child to pull him to safety. He does so at the last moment and returns him to his grateful mother. Gratitude is hardly the sentiment within a speeding police vehicle, however, as Thomas impatiently tells the driver to step on it. It’s time to capture the masked menace.

Captain Britain tells the mother and her child to get out of here before the psycho strikes again. But suddenly a familiar face shows up, as Brian Braddock’s flame, Courtney Ross, calls out to Captain Britain. Unaware of the danger of a nearing bus, she runs towards him and is hit. Cap runs to her unconscious form, his thoughts racing. He blames himself: first his parents, now Courtney. Is he destined to destroy everyone he cares for?

Grief and guilt are premature, however, for the ambulance driver inform him that she is badly hurt but alive. As the ambulance pulls away, a civilian angrily tells him to help them if he is a hero. Captain Britain pulls himself together, but still guilt nags at him: even the blasted bird is his own creation. He vows to find a way to end this menace. Hiding in a doorway, Lord Hawk has other plans. He’ll retreat – to plan his next move.

And moments later, as a desperate Captain Britain searches for his foe, the next threat arrives – in the form of the police intent on capturing him. Wanting to avoid capture Cap runs into a dead end street, where he transforms into his normal self. Moments later, Brian Braddock passes Thomas, who is reading his officers the riot act. How could they lose Captain Britain?

A few blocks away, Lord Hawk, using his homing device, realizes that Captain Britain is leaving. But he won’t escape - he’ll hunt him down and kill him eventually!

Characters Involved: 

Brian Braddock / Captain Britain

Courtney Ross
Chief inspector Dai Thomas
Innocent bystanders

Lord Hawk

Story Notes: 

This story was published by Marvel UK
The issue contains three reprinted backup stories:
The first part of Fantastic Four #124; the third part of Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD #1 and the first part of Marvel Team-Up #11.

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