Captain America #256 (1981)

Did your creative team leave in a hurry because it couldn’t stand Marvel’s editorial policies?  Then call Bill Mantlo for a quick fill-in to get you out of the hole!

Thankfullly, Gene Colan does the art. That’s always a treat.

Captain America fights Druid in a castle.  It picks up right where #254 left off (#255 was an origin recap), with Captain America still in England after taking down Baron Blood. So at least they picked up the fill-in story in-continuity–often not the case with quick fill-ins.

There’s also a flashback, tying the England-based tale to Cap’s days across the pond in WWII.

There are many rumors about why Stern and Byrne left Captain America so abruptly.  Ed in Chief Jim Shooter issued a mandate that all stories begin and end in one issue, but the creative team had already begun a three-parter they were proud of.  Marvel changed its royalties policies.  Stern had planned to leave anyway, and Byrne really just wanted to work with him.  Whatever the reason, it’s a shame they couldn’t work out their differences because this issue is…Not good.  And a not good issue after one of the best, A+ runs in Marvel history, feels really, really bad.  It’s not really, really bad, it’s just not really, really good—which is a big comedown.

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