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!

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.

Anyway, Captain America fights a druid in a castle.  Art is good.  And at least 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 story in continuity–often not the case with quick fill-ins.

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