This third installment of the “Cap-Wolf” saga will stand on its own—although the reason has less to do with the throwdown shown on the cover between Captain America and some obscure X-Men member (Stabbo? Clawboy? Sergeant Snikt?), and more with what happens at the end, which dominates the next three issues and enables us to cover them together in one post. (We also see the return of Bernie Rosenthal in this issue, and that in itself merits a dedicated post.) Also, we have a few panels from New Warriors that reunites Cap—and the team he’s on leave from—with his former colleague Rage.
Captain America #404 opens where the last issue left off, with Cap and Doctor Druid facing a number of werewolves while investigating violent werewolf activity and searching for the Avengers’ pilot John Jameson (who has spent time as a werewolf himself).
Both Cap and Doc engage, albeit one them more directly than the other…
…and given Cap’s concerns about the reinforcements in his “battle-suit” (“combat-suit” in the last issue), maybe his partner is the wiser one.
Nonetheless, Cap is grateful his opponents are not better fighters…
…until he suddenly finds himself floating above the madding crowd, who also cannot see him, both thanks to Doctor Druid.
“That’s no problem, Doc,” Cap says. “The only scent I have is the sweet smell of freedom.”
I’ll let that gag marinate while we check in on Bernie, hoping to catch Cap “home” at last. (Who knows how long “Operation: Galactic Storm” actually lasted in-universe?) After meeting the Avengers’ receptionist, Donna Maria Puentes (whom Jack Kirby introduced in issue #206), Bernie—the huge wrestling fan, as you no doubt remember from issue #271—meets Dennis as well.
Back in Massachusetts, Cap and Doctor Druid roam the streets of Starkesboro, and after Doc wonders if all the humans on the street transform into werewolves at night, Cap remembers when Sam Wilson was briefly one as well. (Thankfully that never happens again!)
As Cap and Druid enter the town hall, they encounter a different kind of beast-man who has been transformed in his own unique way (given that his healing powers made him resistant to the standard treatment given the other werewolves).
Who is the woman? Another blast from the past whom we’ll meet soon enough.
After Wolverine jumps him, Cap realizes pretty quickly than the X-Man is even less calm and tranquil than usual.
Cap does his best to evade the famous adamantium claws while he tries to reason with Logan…
…not an easy task under the best of circumstances, but definitely not now, especially with supernatural forces added to the mix.
Cap finally admits he shouldn’t pull his punches, as he usually does with regular-strength opponents, and hopes putting Wolverine through a Jeep will do the job—but maybe he should have chosen a vehicle with a bit more sturdy top.
Logan gives Cap a headbutt with his adamantium-coated skull, but is stopped from getting all slashy by the woman from above, who injects Cap with something that knocks him out…
…and, in the final panel of the issue, reveals herself to be Deadly Nightshade, now going by Doctor Nightshade, whom we’ve seen occasionally since her introduction in issue #164 (although her best days are to come).
Gee, whatever could she mean by that? You’ll never guess, no way, not in a million years… and won’t you be surprised in the next issue.
Until then, Cap is back with the Avengers in New Warriors #26, chastising former member Rage for doing what Cap refused to do in the last post—and just look what happened, young man!
Cap tells Rage the Avengers won’t be pressing charges—wait, is that supposed to sound merciful? I mean, kids are expected to steal Dad’s car for a joyride now and then, and Rage had a much better reason to do it here. (I guess Cap would know this if he had kids.)
Rage says “uh oh,” but it seems Cap never followed through on his implication—now that’s mercy!
Captain America (vol. 1) #404, early August 1992, “Children of the Night”: Mark Gruenwald (writer), Rik Levins (pencils), Danny Bulanadi, Don Hudson, and Ray Kryssing (inks), Gina Going (colors), Joe Rosen (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Collected in: Captain America Epic Collection: Blood and Glory.
New Warriors (vol. 1) #26 (August 1992): Fabian Nicieza (writer), Darick Robertson (pencils), Larry Mahlstedt (inks), Joe Rosas and Sarra Mossoff (colors), Joe Rosen (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Collected in: New Warriors Classic Omnibus Vol. 1.
PREVIOUS ISSUES: Captain America #402-403 (July 1992)