|Captain America (1st series) #403|| || |
Issue Date: Late July 1992
(1st story) Man and Wolf: Part 2 of 6: City of Wolves
(1st story) Mark Gruenwald (writer), Rik Levins (penciler), Danny Bulandi (inker), Joe Rosen (letterer), Gina Going (colorist), Ralph Macchio (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief), Rik Levins & Danny Bulandi (cover art)
In New York, Jarvis and Dr. Kincaid continue to monitor Dennis Dunphy’s condition. Back in the Massachusetts town of Starkesboro, Captain America attempts to free the female werewolf from the clutches of Moonhunter but is unsuccessful, losing his sky-cycle in the process. Moonhunter takes the werewolf to Doctor Nightshade, who determines that the werewolf is Ferocia, a wolf-woman from K’Un-Lun. She takes this information to her master, Dredmund Druid, and discovers that he has repaired the moongem they got from Jameson, which is bringing all of the wolf-like creatures to this town. Just then, they hear an alarm announcing that an intruder has entered the town. The intruder, Wolverine, engages in battle against a number of werewolves and is eventually taken down after four shotgun blasts from Moonhunter. Meanwhile, Cap reaches Doctor Druid and they make their way to Starkesboro, where they are quickly surrounded by a number of werewolves.
Somewhere in northern Massachusetts, the star-spangled Avenger and his mystical companion, Doctor Druid, have come to investigate a possible connection between the area’s so-called “werewolf murders” and the disappearance of John Jameson. So far they’ve found no sign of Jameson, but there is definitely a werewolf on the loose, as well as what appears to be a werewolf-wrangler.
Hovering above in his sky-cycle, Moonhunter has a noose wrapped around the female werewolf’s neck and is pulling her up towards him. Looking up, Cap wonders who that is, but quickly determines that it doesn’t matter. He can’t stand by and let him hang someone, even if that someone is a werewolf who just mauled Doctor Druid. When he tosses his shield up at the cable to free her, he notices that it’s no good; the cable’s too tough to sever. Once he pulls the werewolf up close, Moonhunter shoots it with darts, which put it to sleep. As he flies off, he tells Cap that he’ll see him later. On the ground, Cap catches his shield and then remarks that the stranger wasn’t trying to kill the thing, just subdue it.
Rushing over towards Doctor Druid, Cap asks him how he’s doing. Sitting in a trance-like state, Druid replies that he’s stopped the bleeding and he’s almost past the pain. He then tells Cap to pursue the interloper, he’ll be okay. Leaping onto his own sky-cycle, Cap thinks to himself that he’ll toss the first-aid kit down to Druid as soon as he gets airborne.
Up in the sky, Moonhunter remarks to his captive that he’s got her all strapped in as tight as it gets; it’s time to haul. Flying through the sky, he asks her what she’s doin’ strayin’ so far from the city. And attractin’ high-profile attention yet? That was a big bad Avenger he was playin’ patty-cake with. Some a’ them hairbags crack him up, they must not know how good they got it.
Just then, Moonhunter notices that shield-thrower’s givin’ chase. He’ll just slow down a little ta let ‘im catch up, then hold onto yer stomach. Doing a 180 in the air, Moonhunter deftly flies his sky-cycle behind Cap and proceeds to blast him from behind. All he has to do now is veer around the smoke an’ another champeen of justice becomes sky pizza thanks ta….
Looking up, Moonhunter is shocked when he sees Cap descending upon him. Cap recalls that the shield on his back protected him when the back engine blew. Shockwave hoisted him skyward, luck and skill did the rest. Grabbing hold of Moonhunter’s sky-cycle, Cap acrobatically twirls and kicks Moonhunter in the face. Absorbing the blow, Moonhunter remarks that if it wasn’t fer his padded mask, that might’a really hurt. Kinda like his spiked knuckles to his chin. Dodging Moonhunter’s swing, Cap tells him he missed but he won’t and proceeds to connect with a punch to Moonhunter’s chest. Moonhunter retorts that his mug ain’t all that’s padded, now eat silver. With that, Moonhunter shoots Cap which knocks him off the sky-cycle. As Cap falls to the ground, Moonhunter tells him s’long sucker. AN’ just so’s he don’t meet the reaper without knowin’ who killed him… ah, he’s prob’ly outta earshot already.
Soon, Moonhunter flies over a sign that reads “Welcome to Starkesboro. A nice place to live. Population 932.” Perched near the sign is Wolverine who watches the sky-cycle pass overhead. Radioing in, Moonhunter informs base that he bagged an unidentified stray. He’s comin’ in. Landing his sky-cycle, Moonhunter remarks that the streets are clear t’night. Dredmund must be havin’ one o’ his midnight masses. The doc’ll wanna check this one out, figure out why she bolted. Carrying his captive, Moonhunter adds that this is one-tight muscled she-wolf, she must work out. As two of the werewolves growl at him, Moonhunter calls them Gary and Mike and tells them to fuel up the cycle and check the right throttle. It’s been sticking.
Inside the lab, Moonhunter tells the female doctor that he has a live one. Found ‘er twenny miles from there. An’ now what? Two a’ the guys didn’t recognize her. That means, either she’s been crankin’ out these furpeople faster’n anyone can keep track or she ain’t one a theirs. While one of the werewolves is strapped to the table, the doctor tells Moonhunter to bring her there.
At Avengers Headquarters located in New York, Dr. Kincaid has Dennis Dunphy strapped to an observation table. As he does, he tells him that he just has one more test and that’ll be it for today. Just then, Jarvis steps into the room and asks Kincaid how Dennis is. Has he reached a diagnosis? Kincaid informs him that he has a preliminary one. Apparently oxygen deprivation, probably incurred during the time he was submerged beneath arctic waters, affected his brain and that’s what’s induced the selective amnesia he’s currently suffering from. When Jarvis asks him what the chances are of recovery, Kincaid replies that it’s too soon to tell. Leaning down, Jarvis tells Dunphy that he’ll return to walk him to his quarters as soon as the doctor’s finished. As he walks away, Jarvis wonders if Dunphy will be like this for the rest of his life. Will the Captain insist they care for him there?
In Massachusetts, Cap crashes through some tree branches on his way to the ground. Once he lands on the ground, he recants that it wasn’t one of his better landings but at least he’s still in one piece. He doesn’t know which hurts more. The branches that broke his fall or the two slugs he took to the chest. The slugs may not have been able to penetrate the various reinforced layers of his combat-suit but they still sting like nobody’s business. Looking over at the wreckage of his sky-cycle, Cap remarks that it’s not going anywhere. He better see how Druid’s doing.
Fifteen minutes later, Cap reaches Druid. Upon seeing him lying on the ground, Cap thinks to himself that he looks… Moving closer to him, Cap nudges him and calls his name. Opening his eyes, Druid informs Cap that he was just sleeping. After he did all he could for himself through meditation, he decided to rest till he returned. When Cap asks him how he feels, Druid replies that he’s well enough to move. Rising to a standing position, Druid mentions to Cap that he heard an explosion. Cap answers that his sky-cycle blew up, thanks to his fright-wigged foe. Druid asks if the Avengers can send him another and Cap states that they could, but since this is a private mission, he’s reluctant to involve any of his teammates unless absolutely necessary. Druid says they won’t need them. Now that he’s touched the wolf, he will be able to track it down by its psychic aura. Cap proceeds to ask him if he’s sure he’s up for hiking.
Meanwhile in Starkesboro, the female nurse enters a church and calls out to master and asks them if they’re there. As she walks through the empty church, she remarks that mass must be over. Opening the door to the vestry, she again calls out to the master. The master, Dredmund, tells her (Nightshade) to come in.
When Dredmund asks what she needs, Nightshade tells him that Moonhunter captured a stray werewolf, and it wasn’t one of theirs. Dredmund asks if she’s certain, and Nightshade replies yes. She has tentatively identified the stray as Ferocia, the wolf-woman from the Chinese province of K’Un-Lun. They met a few months ago. Holding up a gem, Dredmund states that it must have been this. Nightshade sees it and asks the moongem Jameson procured, he’s restored it already. Dredmund replies yes, though he’s yet to plumb the depths of its arcane potential. Still, its mystical emanations must be acting like a beacon, drawing werewolves to this site. They had best be prepared for further visitations. Dredmund then asks her to examine this Ferocia and determine the base of her lycanthropy, perhaps she can be used to speed up the conversion of their populace. Nightshade answers that she’ll see to it at once.
Just then, an alarm sounds. Upon hearing it, Dredmund exclaims that there’s an intruder in their city. Nightshade tells him that she wouldn’t worry, the Night Patrol will make short of whoever it is.
Nearby, Wolverine is engaged in battle against a number of werewolves. As he slashes away at them, Wolverine remarks that he didn’t figure his investigation of the “werewolf murder” in these parts would lead to a whole flamin’ town of suspects. There’s too many of ‘em to fight off with fists; he had to pop his claws. They’re a persistent bunch of furballs. Leavin’ him no choice but to slice an’ dice ‘em.
While Wolverine continues to fight against the gang of werewolves, Moonhunter arrives on the scene. Readying his rifle, Moonhunter thinks to himself that this isn’t good. First Captain America, and now that mutant Wolverine. He let the Captain slide, but Wolvie there’s inside the city limits. After four blasts from his shotgun, Wolverine finally falls to the ground. Once he does, Moonhunter orders the other werewolves to get off of their fallen foe and to make themselves useful and take him to Doc Nightshades.
Two hours later, Doctor Druid and Captain America reach the city limits of Starkesboro. Druid proceeds to inform Cap that the werewolf is nearby. Walking through a covered bridge and into the town, Cap tells Druid the sun will be up in a few hours. Does he want to rest before they proceed? Druid answers no. His wound’s fine. The walk’s invigorated him. It may behoove them to locate their werewolf before daybreak transforms him back to human.
As they delve deeper into the town, Druid states that there’s something… unusual about this town. When Cap asks him what he means, Druid replies that the pall of mysticism hangs over these environs like an invisible fog. It is as if this place were a hotbed of arcane activity. Just then, the duo is surrounded by a horde of werewolves of various sizes and colors. Looking around, Druid tells Cap that he wishes he had convinced him to take that breather.
Captain America, D-Man (both Avengers)
Ferocia (wolf-woman from the Chinese province of K’Un-Lun)
Various werewolves (Mike and Gary are the only ones named)
Dr. Kincaid, Jarvis (Avengers associates)
This issue also includes:
2nd story – “Diamondback! Taken to Task,” depicting Diamondbacks’ time as a captive of Crossbones and her training.
D-Man was rescued by U.S. Agent and Falcon and put into Avengers care in Captain America (1st series) #400-401.
Issue Summary written by: Wendigo (David M.)