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Captain America (1st series) #405

Issue Date: Late August 1992

Story Title:
(1st story) Man and Wolf: Part 4: Dances with Werewolves

Staff:
(1st story) Mark Gruenwald (story), Rik Levins (pencils), Steve Alexandrov (inks), Joe Rosen (letters), Gina Going (colors), Ralph Macchio (edits), Tom DeFalco (leader of the pack/editor in chief)

Brief Description:
(1st story)
In Central Park in New York, Jarvis has to leave Bernie Rosenthal and Dennis Dunphy alone. After he does, a mugger steals Bernie’s purse and she gives chase, leaving Dennis alone. When she returns, she can’t find Dennis and begins to panic when she can’t find him anywhere. Up in Starkesboro, at the church, Doctor Druid continues his investigation and discovers a gem-stone that he wonders if it is the source of the power and the werewolves. Just then, he is accosted by Dredmund and they engage in a battle of wills that Dredmund eventually wins. Meanwhile, Nightshade injects Captain America with a serum that transforms him into Cap-Wolf. Unable to speak, Cap-Wolf uses his new-found strength to escape his captors and runs off into the forest. There, he is attacked by a number of werewolves sent by Dredmund to track him down. Cap-Wolf is able to escape their grasp and once he is attacked by Wolverine, is able to defeat him as well. Nearing the town, Moonhunter lassoes him but is unable to subdue him. Once in the town, Cap-Wolf makes his way to Nightshade, who is able to convince him to listen to what she says and obey her if he wants to be changed back into his human-form.

Full Synopsis:
(1st story)
Inside her laboratory, Doctor Nightshade holds a syringe up to Captain America’s arm and proceeds to tell him that he doesn’t know what a treat this is being able to ply her trade upon his exquisite physique again so soon. But unlike the last time he managed to thwart the effects of her mutagens, she assures him this time he will not. Captain… get ready to howl!

As soon as she injects the serum into Cap’s body, he transforms from human form into that of a werewolf – Cap Wolf. Ripping free of his bonds, Cap growls and thinks to himself – Trapped… out… find way out… Opening… where… must be… somewhere… Just then, Dredmund Druid orders Captain America to stop. Cap thinks to himself - Voice… bad voice… not listen… bad… Shiny thing (shield)… mine… take… Not listen… take shiny thing… not listen… Make way out… now… Breaking through a door he thinks – Still not out… climb up… get out… must run free…

Eventually, Cap is able to escape the building, much to the shock of the on-looking townspeople. Out… bright… sun too bright… hurts… eyes… Feel funny… sick inside… Up above, Nightshade informs Druid that this shouldn’t have happened. Her serum’s never given any of the subjects such phenomenal strength before. Dredmund replies that it appears that her potion interacted with his super-soldier serum. She should have anticipated it. Nightshade begins to argue, but then immediately concedes. Yelling down to the townspeople, Dredmund orders them to stop that wolf.

When one of the female townsfolk turns to her husband, John, he says to Dredmund that he’ll tear them apart, it’s not right. Another agrees, they’re not wolfen. Using his powers, Dredmund states then he’ll make them and transforms the on-lookers into werewolves and orders them to go hunt him down. Turning to Nightshade, Dredmund points out that Captain America did not revert to human in sunlight. She gave him… Nightshade interjects and says her new compound, yes. He’ll be easier to track. In the woods, Cap thinks – Woods… run free… need to run… need to run… need to run…

In Central Park, Manhattan, Jarvis, Bernie Rosenthal and Dennis Dunphy go for their walk. As they do, Jarvis informs Bernie that they’re all hoping that Mr. Dunphy’s mind will work its way out of its amnesiac condition if they are patient and understanding. Looking down at his watch, Jarvis exclaims “look at the time!” and tells Bernie that he’s afraid he’s going to have to return to the mansion and supervise the weekly pantry stocking. She’ll have to excuse them.

Just then, Bernie asks Jarvis if he minds if Dennis stays out a little longer. It’s such a nice day. She promises to bring him back by dinnertime. Jarvis agrees and takes his leave. Holding on to Dennis’ arm, Bernie leads him through the park and asks him that he was an Unlimited Class wrestler before he was Cap’s partner, huh? That’s great. Before she went to law school and had to bury her head in law books all day, she was a big wrestling fan. She’d watch it on TV all the time. Did Cap ever mention to him that his old girlfriend was a fan of them? Probably not. She remembers how Cap used to tease her about spending so much time watching mindless entertai…

Stopping herself mid-sentence, Bernie apologizes and then asks him who all he fought. Red Zeppelin? Meathook? Just then, a mugger rushes up to them and steals Bernie’s purse and begins to run off. Pointing to the mugger, Bernie yells “he took my purse! He took my purse! Do something Dennis! Throw that bench at him or…or…! Blast it! Stand there like a big dummy! I’ll chase him!”

Back in Starkesboro, at the church, Dr. Druid hopes that Captain America doesn’t think he deserted him. No, he is certain he can handle himself while he uses the distraction he’s providing to search for the hidden power behind this town of werewolves. This church seems most promising. While nothing in the rest of the town seems out of place, not its shops or taverns or dwellings, this church is unusual. All of its conventional religious symbols have been removed and replaced by Druidic artifacts. He is the foremost authority of Druidism in this country, yet he was unaware of this town being a center for the nature worship of the ancient Celts. This, quite obviously, has something to do with the lycanthropic population of this town.

Just then, Druid enters a private study and says beyond the chance, here is where it really gets interesting. The occult artifacts here rival his own collection. And what is this blood-red crystal suspended in this bell-jar? It has markings reminiscent of the Moon’s pockmarked face, and the feel of an object of great preternatural power. To examine it further, he must remove it from… At that moment, Druid senses something moving behind him. Turning around, he sees a figure in the shadows and wonders how is it he did not sense his approach. Placing his helmet upon his head, Dredmund Druid tells the intruder that he does not belong there. Facing his new foe, Druid senses that this man has considerable power. He’d better try to put him under mental control with all due haste. As they engage in a battle of the mind and wills, Dredmund introduces himself and asks who his foe is. After Doctor Druid states his name, Dredmund remarks that he’s heard of him. Druid says he can’t say the same.

Nearby, Cap-Wolf knees in the forest and thinks – Hard to think… not feeling right… feel different… What happened to me… what am I? What was I? What do they want from me? When the pack of werewolves approach him, Cap thinks – Ask them what I am. Can’t speak. Words in head, but lost in throat. Must tell them I’m not enemy. Not a hider, not hunted. Person who… who made us this… is enemy! Come… follow me… we can fight him… force him to change us back… to what we were… Understand me…? No…! Surrounding me… growling… going to attack… Not going to waste energy fighting not-enemies… Just then, Cap-Wolf leaps high into the air and escapes his enemies. Legs…! Not know I could leap so high… Go back to human-town… find enemy… force to turn me back…

Just then, Cap-Wolf is attacked by Wolverine, who descends on him from above. Cap-Wolf thinks – Man with long claws…! Know him… forgot name… Sharp claws… shiny thing stops them…! Wants to kill me… No reason to fight… Maybe he understand me… Must find person who makes us animal! After Wolverine slashes him across the shoulder, Cap-Wolf remarks – Thought he was understanding me… Pain… blood… heartbeat… can’t stop… At that moment, Cap-Wolf lashes out, slashes Wolverine across the face, picks him up with one arm with ease, tosses him into the on-coming werewolf attackers and then runs off.

Inside the church, Druid and Dredmund continue their battle. As they do, Druid remarks that he is the master of all Druidic arts and disciplines, the master of the mind. Yet… he is resisting him. He is exerting enough sheer mental force to give him a cerebral hemorrhage. How can he still be standing?!? Dare not lose concentration even for a moment, first one of them who blinks – loses. Could he be augmenting his might with some outside agent? That floating gem! He has to destroy it somehow.

Back in Central Park, Bernie laments the fact that she was unable to catch up with the thief. She better apologize to Dennis. She shouldn’t have yelled at him like she did. She was just so… so… Looking around, Bernie wonders where Dennis went. This is where she left him! After asking a man nearby if he’s seen a guy about 6 foot 6 with red hair, the man answers that he can’t say he had. Five minutes later, Bernie thinks to herself that she’s checked the whole area, asked a million people, no one seems to have seen him wander off. Maybe he walked back to Avengers Mansion? She’d better call and see. After calling the Mansion and asking to speak with Dennis Dunphy, she learns that he’s not there. With great concern, Bernie remarks that she’s in trouble.

In Massachusetts, Moonhunter is aboard his sky-cycle and radios in to base that he’s found “Flaggy.” Looks like he got away from their golden boy, “Wolvereeno.” Don’t worry, they have a real man on the job now. Expect ‘im back in ten minutes or less. Out! Continuing to run, Cap-Wolf thinks – Hear noise above… machine noise… heard before… Not turn around… keep running… At that moment, Moonhunter lassoes Cap-Wolf around his neck. Once the lasso wraps around his neck, Cap-Wolf thinks – Choking…! Silver-rope! Silver-face on the machine! Not let him choke me… Using his immense strength, Cap-Wolf is able to jerk Moonhunter off his sky-cycle which proceeds to crash into a nearby house. As he is drug down the street, Moonhunter remarks that the fall knocked the wind out of him, padding took the brunt of it. He didn’t anticipate such strength. He’s not going to let go, make him wear himself out dragging him.

In Dredmund’s lair, Druid states that this is tricky. He can’t let up on his resistance for a moment. Yet, he has to divert enough concentration to levitate that wolf head-dress over to that bell-jar… If he realizes what he’s up to, it’s all over. Just then, Druid crashes backwards with a loud thud. Triumphantly, Dredmund exclaims that he got him. He found an area of his brain not focused on resisting him, and concentrated his attack in that spot. Standing over his beaten foe, Dredmund remarks, Anthony Droom, alias Doctor Druid, the world’s leading authority on Druidism… fah! He has been defeated, overwhelmed by his superior might. There is room in this world for but one supreme Druid, and henceforth that man shall be him. Death awaits the vanquished!

Nearby, Cap-Wolf has made it into the town of Starkesboro. He thinks – Inside town… need to find Doctor-woman… make here change me back… Standing on a balcony outside her laboratory, Nightshade sees Cap-Wolf and states that he must’ve eluded Wolverine and she can see Moonhunter couldn’t stop him. The fact that he turned back must mean…

Calling out to Captain, she asks him that he’s not looking for her, is he. Once Cap-Wolf leaps up to the balcony, Nightshade tells him that if he hurts her, any hope he has of changing back to human is lost forever. Does he understand? Good. Now be a good boy. Put down his shield and come with her inside. If he behaves, they may be able to work out something to their mutual satisfaction. Seeing Cap-Wolf comply, Nightshade remarks that he’s doing it, becoming docile at the sound of her voice, the scent of her pheromones. Ahhhh! Good to see the old queen of the werewolves hasn’t lost it.

Characters:
(1st story)
Captain America, Dennis Dunphy (D-Man) (all Avengers)
Doctor Druid

Wolverine

Moonhunter
Doctor Nightshade
Dredmund Druid
Various unnamed werewolves and residents of Starkesboro, Massachusetts

Jarvis (Avengers associates)
Bernie Rosenthal

Notes:
This issue also includes:

  • 2nd story – “Diamondback! Cross Country” depicting Diamondbacks’ time as a captive of Crossbones, escape from Avengers headquarters and ascent of the Colorado Rocky mountains.

    D-Man was rescued by U.S. Agent and Falcon and put into Avengers care in Captain America (1st series) #400-401.

    Captain America thwarted Nightshades efforts back in Captain America (1st series) #391.

    Issue Summary written by: Wendigo (David M.)


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