Super Spider-Man and Captain Britain #247

Issue Date: 
November 1977
Story Title: 
The Devil and the Deep!!

Jim Lawrence (writer) Ron Wilson (pencils) Pablo Marcos’ Studio (inks), Larry Lieber (editor)

Brief Description: 

Kharkov has Captain Britain brought aboard to have him killed in a more sadistic manner there. Leaving the hero to his robot octopus, Kharkov offers the stolen prizes to his guests, an assortment of politicians, dictators and businessmen, in exchange for certain favors, which will harm the United Kingdom. Slaymaster demands to be paid and Kharkov tries to have him killed. The attempt fails and Slaymaster throws him to the sharks. Captain Britain, in the meantime, has managed to free himself and, after calling in the Royal Navy, confronts the villain. Managing to defuse a bomb Slaymaster intended to detonate, Cap also beats the mercenary, who falls to the same sharks that killed Kharkov.

Full Summary: 

Kharkov and Slaymaster watch Captain Britain struggling with Kharkov’s mechanical octopus. The machine jabs him with a needle and injects him with an unknown substance. The hero feels his arms and legs going numb as he drops his scepter.

Kharkov announces that they will have him brought aboard to better watch his death struggles. As he has Britain put into the ballast tanks, he explains to Slaymaster that Cap is totally paralyzed, but aware of his surroundings. He has the sea-cocks of the yacht (which doubles as a submarine) open and explains that the waters will rise and the hero will slowly down. In addition, when the tanks open, his piranha fish will swim in gnawing on Captain Britain as he drowns.

Slaymaster impatiently tells him to get down to business. Kharkov agrees. No point in dwelling on Slaymaster’s blunder in letting Britain trace him, after all.

Meanwhile feeling comes back to Captain Britain as his fingers touch the star scepter. He manages to free himself from the robot, but that means the piranha tank opens.

Unaware of the struggle going on below, an odd group of overnight guests gather on deck to observe the fantastic scenery. Kharkov explains that each of them wants to ascertain a certain rare object. He is now able to gratify their wishes… for a price.

He shows a German gentleman named Kraus the golden griffin, which he may add to his collection, merely by agreeing that his factories will buy no more British steel.

He turns to the Africa monarch Mbotu, offering him Gunn’s Grand Prix winning race car, if he cancels his contract for those British aircraft.

To Sheik Hassan, he offers the imprisoned model for his harem, if he cuts off all oil to Britain.

To an US senator he offer a rare Spider-Man comic for his ill son, if he votes against that U.S. loan to Britain.

A Japanese gentleman is enticed with Archer’s priceless Samurai sword, if he scraps his plans for an electronics plant in England.

Together, they can deal a death blow to Britain’s hopes for more jobs and a brighter future. And she will own her downfall to Kharkov, the ‘dirty foreigner,’ whom her bankers once refused and sent to prison for embezzlement! He shows them to a cabin with radio telephones on which they can call their nations and fulfill their part of the bargain.

Meanwhile, Britain fights for his life against the robot octopus. And, while Kharkov’s guests are on the phone, Slaymaster impatiently demands to be paid. Kharjov shows him to his safe. While he slowly opens it, Slaymaster becomes suspicious. As the safe doors open, Kharkov swings aside to evade machine gun fire, which hits Slaymaster in the chest. But to Kharkov’s astonishment, the villain is still alive, thanks to his bullet-proof gear. Furiously, he attacks Kharkov promising him that he will go overboard to feed the sharks.

At that moment, Britain manages to stun the monstrosity and finally makes his escape out of the tank. Kharkov’s seamen attack but they are no match for the hero.

In the meantime, the guests are eager to claim their prizes, only to find that they are now dealing with Slaymaster, who informs them that he is now demanding ransoms from them.

Suddenly, Captain Britain joins them, promising that they will all face justice in England along with Slaymaster. Cap hits Slaymaster, who throws an acid bomb at him, which Cap fends off with his forcefield. Slaymaster grabs the imprisoned model and tosses her at Cap. Slaymaster dashes onto the bridge and tries to reset the autopilot. The sailor informs him that Cap already radioed the navy.

Cap attacks again and Slaymaster tries to set up the yacht to explode, while he plans to flee to France. Before Slaymaster can escape, Cap tosses his sceptre at him, hitting him in the back. The impact of the stunning blow sends the assassin crashing through the ship’s railing and to the frenzied sharks.

Cap, in the meantime, has prevented the bomb from going up, secure in the knowledge that he can leave the rest to the royal navy.

Characters Involved: 

Brian Braddock / Captain Britain


Konrad Kharkov

Kharkov’s sailors

Senator Admas, Sheik Hassan, Herr Kraus, King Mbotu, Mr Yaboshi

Story Notes: 

This story was published by Marvel UK.

The issue contains three reprinted backup stories:

The first part of Amazing Spider-Man (1st series) #169, the first part of the Thor (1st series) #21 and the first part of Avengers (1st series) #123

first story

The story is a bit of a logical mess with Cap first losing his scepter outside the ship, then suddenly having it again without any explanation.

This is the last issue with original Captain Britain stories. Issues #248 –253 reprint Marvel Team-Up #65-66 by Claremont and Byrne, which chronicle Captain Britain’s visit to New York and his fight with Spider-Man against Arcade. Interestingly enough, the reprinted stories have new splash pages, courtesy of John Byrne. After the Team-Up story, Captain Britain no longer had an original strip. The character returned as a co-star in the Black Knight storyline that ran through issues #1 to 63 in the British Hulk comic. Issue #60 spun Captain Britain back into his own strip in Marvel Super Heroes #377 by Dave Thorpe and Alan Davis, which eventually led to the famous Moore / Davis run.

While Slaymaster appears to have perished here, he actually returns in The Daredevils #3.

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