Captain Britain (1st series) #39

Issue Date: 
July 1977
Story Title: 
<BR>A Throne Threatened!

Bob Budiansky (plot), Jim Lawrence (script) Ron Wilson, Pablo Marcos (artists), Brian H. Moore (inks), Irv Watanabe (letters),Larry Lieber (editor)

Brief Description: 

In a mindless trance, Captain Britain attacks the queen, who is in turn saved by the Highwayman - all part of a plot to have the Highwayman ingratiate himself with the queen on the Manipulator’s behalf. Cap is captured and led away, but flees, as soon as he regains control over himself. While he tries to figure out what happened to him, with his siblings’ help, the Highwayman exchanges the queen’s diamond ring with the Manipulator’s mindcontrol ring. The next day, when Brian Braddock sees the queen’s Jubilee celebration in Portmouth, the Manipulator takes control of the queen and her Highness announces that she will lead the Royal Navy to Africa, to reconquer Umbazi.

Full Summary: 

In a mindless trance produced by the rays of a mysterious gemstone, Captain Britain turns up at the Silver Jubilee ceremony and launches an attack on the queen herself before a horrified crowd. “Down with the female tyrant!” Captain Britain shouts, as he lunges at the monarch. The prince consort bravely tells his wife to get behind him and, among the awestruck onlookers, Chief Inspector Dai Thomas is unsure what to do. He can’t shoot at Cap in this crowd. And the Manipulator smiles.

Cap swats a security guard aside, as he lands before the queen. The despot is doomed, he announces. What befell the house of Kennedy will now befall the house of Windsor. Suddenly, the Highwayman, on his cycle, is driving up the stairs to the balcony, announcing that will save their “noble monarch.”

Cap recognizes him as one of the men from the underground lab. Why is he coming after him? He’s only fulfilling his mission. The Highwayman drives nearby him and hits him with his chain, but misses. He comes at Cap again and Captain Britain tries to concentrate to create a wall of energy with his scepter but his thoughts are too blurred. It doesn’t work.

He pries up a plank for a makeshift weapon and throws the board at his foe. A laser blasts from the Highwayman’s cycle and blasts the timber to bits.
Finally, with no way left to fight off his relentless attacker, Captain Britain dives to safety.

Highwayman drives after him, intending to finish him off. Cap pulls out one of the tent poles and swats the Highwayman off his cycle. Cap rushes at him angrily, trying to explain that he’s only carrying out the master’s orders. The Highwayman tells him to save his breath and a stunray comes his monocle, flattening Captain Britain. Silently he congratulates himself – the Manipulator’s scheme worked better than even he hoped.

Chief Inspector Tomas gruffly thanks him but tells him not to push his luck. If he takes the law into his own hands again, he’ll nick him so fast it’ll make his head spin.

Meanwhile, Captain Britain awakes to find himself helplessly chained, while the queen herself thanks the Highwayman, who asks if he could have a private tour round Buckingham Palace. As Captain Britain is led off in chains, the Manipulator smiles, for soon Elizabeth herself will be under his control much as that musclebound fool.

Soon, as microphones and TV cameras record Captain Britain’s defeat, tiny alarm bells suddenly ring in the chained crusader’s brain. The brightness washes away the fog in his mind and he realizes what he has done. Desperately, he tears at his steel chains, as he is being led inside the police car, where Thomas triumphantly announces that he’s flouted the law for the last time.

However, Thomas has laid the Star-Sceptre between them, close enough for Britain to reach. As his fingers touch the mystic weapon, he wills a concentration of force field energy within a steel link, which, under the mounting pressure, snaps. Willing his sceptre into flight, the young hero zooms through the car’s roof, away to freedom.

Later, at his brother’s Chelsea flat, Brian discusses his dilemma with his siblings, Betsy and Jamie, who are horrified at his actions. He was under some kind of hypnosis, he explains. But how, Betsy asks. Brian is unsure. He just has a fuzzy memory of being in a kind of underground lab, strapped to a strange machine, with a dazzling light shining in his face and a voice telling him exactly what to do. And he could swear that the Highwayman is somehow in on the plot. And if that is true, the queen is still in terrible danger.

The next day, the Highwayman arrives at Buckingham Palace for his promised tour. As he is being led around, he sees that one of the exhibitions is the queen’s favorite diamond ring, which he quickly exchanges with an imitation that has the Manipulator’s stone.

Some time later, Bran Braddock reaches Portmouth, the next stop in the queen’s Silver Jubilee celebration. He sees her Majesty on the Royal Yacht. Unknown to Brian, the Manipulator also watches until, it’s time to press a fateful button, which beams a signal to the gemstone in her Majesty’s ring. Queen Elizabeth hears the Manipulator’s orders and complies.

As the gem’s rays beam out, hypnotizing the entire fleet, her Majesty’s words are broadcast about the harbour. She will lead them to Africa, she announces, to reconquer Umbazi for its rightful ruler. Brian can’t believe he’s hearing this. Now the queen is brainwashed and not even Captain Britain can stop the Royal Navy.

Characters Involved: 

Brian Braddock / Captain Britain

Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Braddock

James ‘Jamie’ Braddock

Chief Inspector Dai Thomas

Queen Elizabeth II

The Duke of Edinburgh

Security Guards


The royal Navy
The Highwayman

The Manipulator

Story Notes: 

This story was published by Marvel UK.

The issue contains two reprinted backup stories:

The third part of Fantastic Four #127 and the second part of Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD #6.

This is the last issue of Captain Britain (1st series). His adventures are continued in Super-Spider-Man & Captain Britain #231 through #247.

first story

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

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