Marvel UK; 10p

Under what is pretty easily the worst cover of the entire original series, Captain Britain #24 heralded two major changes for Marvel UK’s weekly comic (more specifically, it’s only weekly comic with original content, the rest were reprints).

First, while the 23 previous issues were color comics, the series switches to black and white interiors with this issue. The change was jarring as this was in the middle of the “Fourth Reich” story pitting Captain Britain, Captain America, and Nick Fury and the forces of S.H.I.E.L.D. and S.T.R.I.K.E. against the Red Skull.

Second, the art team of Herb Trimpe and Fred Kida, who had been on the book since Captain Britain #1, were replaced by penciller John Buscema and inker Tom Palmer. While Trimpe and Kida had done great – and very enjoyable – work on the book, the classic Avengers team of Buscema and Palmer make the switch to black and white a bit more palatable.

The series was a weekly, and other than the lead Captain Britain story, the issues were comprised of black and white serialized reprints of Marvel stories (this issue, for instance, contained the first of two parts of Fantastic Four #121). Since the lead stories were only seven pages (that still made for 28 pages most months), the action had to be compact. It also generally left things on a cliffhanger in true comic book fashion.

The Fourth Reich story is pretty standard Red Skull stuff, but it’s very well executed, and the Buscema and Palmer team added just a bit more depth to it (Kida and Palmer would end up alternating inking duties over Buscema across the next few issues).

If you’ve never read the Captain Britain stories from that era, this arc is probably the best of them, and this issue is a high point… despite the cover.

– J.C. Vaughn