Captain Britain (1st series) #38

Issue Date: 
June 1977
Story Title: 
<BR>When Hero turns Villain!

Bob Budiansky (plot), Jim Lawrence (script) Ron Wilson, Pablo Marcos (artists), Mike Esposito (inks), Irv Watanabe (letters), Larry Lieber (editor)

Brief Description: 

Captain Britain flies after the Highwayman and confronts him, but still suffering from the aftereffects of the accident he is no match for his foe and is beaten unconscious. He awakes in the underground laboratory of the Manipulator, Highwayman’s boss and former ruler of Umbazi. Manipulator intends to use him to get to the Queen by way of a mystic gem with brainwashing properties. A little later, a brainwashed Captain Britain publicly attacks the Queen, witnessed, among others, by Chief Inspector Dai Thomas.

Full Summary: 

While Brian Braddock lies bruised and unconscious near Jacko Tanner’s bomb-wrecked car, their swaggering attacker, the Highwayman, roars off triumphantly into the night. So much for fun and games, the villain cackles. Now that he’s had his sport, it’s time to keep his date with the Manipulator.

Presently, Brian’s eyes open and he remembers how they got clobbered by that insane motorcyclist. He pulls the unconscious Jacko Tanner from the wreckage, hoping he’s suffered no internal injuries. Touching his amulet, Brian turns to Captain Britain and, using his star scepter, he gives chase to the villain and lands right in his path.
Unimpressed, the Highwayman switches on the cycle laser beam, which Captain Britain manages to stave off with his sceptre’s forcefield. Angrily, he swings his sceptre and hits the villain in the face.

In London, the population is celebrating the Queen’s Silver Jubilee and the Manipulator silently scoffs, wondering what’s keeping the Highwayman. Does he think that, just because the Manipulator no longer rules Umbazi, means he will wait on any cheap mercenary? He is ten minutes late. Were he still in Africa, he’d have his head on a pole for that insolence. He decides to return to his underground laboratory.

Appointments are the least of the Highwayman’s concerns, as he takes a barrage of blows from Captain Britain. Yet the relentless punches lack their usual impact and the effects of the car crash have even thrown off the superhero’s timing, leaving him open to the Highwayman’s hammering counter attack. The tide of battle surges back and forth. Seeing an opening, the Highwayman throws three of his stud-bombs at the hero. With his reflexes rocky from the road crash, Captain Britain can barely direct the star sceptre’s energy to shield himself from the blasts. The Highwayman follows this attack up with a stunray blast from his monocle and by hitting Cap with his chain.

Cars collide wildly on the motorway, as bug-eyed drivers gape at the epic donnybrook. Cap tries to fly away until his head clears but the Highwayman catches him with his chain and throws him against a tree. Cap is knocked out. Laughing, the Highwayman leaves, the unconscious Captain Britain in tow.

Miles back, Jacko Tanner awakes, finding that neither the cyclist nor Brian are around. He decides that Brian left like the coward he is without even giving Jacko a hand.

Some time later, Captain Britain slowly regains consciousness and finds himself bound to a high tech chair in an underground laboratory. The Manipulator is in a better mood: now he can use the nation’s superhero to enslave its monarch. The Highwayman doesn’t understand. The Manipulator shows him a gem, explaining that both Captain Britain’s fate and that of the Queen lie in this mystic stone. A gem unearthed in his onetime African serfdom of Umbazi. He will clamp the stone in a holding device, and switch on a powerful beam of coherent light, aimed through the jeweled lens so that the stone’s ray fall on the third eye area of the prisoner’s brain… thus beginning operation “Target Royal.”

Later. her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, is speaking to the crowd of wellwishers gathered, including one Chief Inspector Dai Thomas. Thomas looks up to the Captain Britain crouching among the treetops. Cap jumps at the queen, announcing, “down with the royal family! Death to the Queen!”

He warned theYard about Britain! He told them he was no good, Thomas swears. Now the costumed creep is attacking the Queen herself. But this time he will have his guts for garters!

Characters Involved: 

Brian Braddock / Captain Britain

Jacko Tanner

Chief Inspector Dai Thomas

Queen Elizabeth II


The Highwayman

The Manipulator

Story Notes: 

This story was published by Marvel UK.

The issue contains three reprinted backup stories:

The second part of Fantastic Four #127; the first part of Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD #6 and the third part of Marvel Team-Up #13

first story

The Silver Jubilee in 1977 was the celebration of the 25th year of rule by Queen Elizabeth II.

Issue Information: 
Written By: