Can’t put it off any longer, so here we go… the second half of the “Man-Wolf” story that began in issue #402 concludes in these three issues, following the events at the end of the last issue (shown again at the beginning of issue #405 below). Because Captain America is… not himself for most of these issues, we can go through them fairly quickly. Also, everyone’s favorite webslinger pays a visit to Avengers Mansion to see Cap, even though Cap took a leave from the team in issue #402—but as they say, “once an Avenger…”
As Captain America #405 opens, we see
Deadly Doctor Nightshade about to inject Cap with some mysterious potion, the effects of which I cannot begin to imagine…
…oh wait, now I remember. (I’d blocked it out.)
Everyone, meet Capwolf. (Sigh.)
This is the way Cap’s thoughts will be for a while—his true self will gradually come through, and when it does I will highlight it, but until then, there is not much to show.
Instead, let’s look in on Bernie Rosenthal, who met the temporarily brain-damaged Dennis Dunphy in the last issue and is now taking a stroll through Central Park with him and Jarvis… until Jarvis gets called away and Bernie lets her inner wrestling fan out.
She also forgets about his condition, apparently.
It gets worse: Bernie loses track of Dennis, who wanders the park until we see him again in issue #408.
Back to Cap, who is fighting other werewolves when he’s jumped by another feral beast also brought to you by the letter W.
After they fight for a couple pages, Cap gets away; he ignores Moonhunter’s lasso and finds his way back to Starkesboro and Nightshade, who manages to entrance him.
In Captain America #406, Nightshade drops Cap in the “punishment pit,” where he confronts a number of other werewolves…
…including a large white one whom he takes to be the leader, and in order to defeat him Cap forces himself to think rationally.
We learn there are other wolf-related characters in the pit, including a New Mutant who gives Cap some background information…
…and helps him speak. (I’m not sure Cap has enough voice training to appreciate her advice, but oh well.)
I have to admit, every time I see “THE PIT” I think they’re at a metal concert—maybe they will go to one after they get free, which is Cap’s priority after he takes charge of the werewolf pack and gives a patented Captain America inspirational speech, urging civil disobedience against an unjust authority (rrrrrr).
After he realizes he was able to bring the pack together, Cap climbs the pile to break the lock on the overhead door…
…and his legendary resolve reveals itself through his success (aided by extra wolf-strength).
While leading the pack to the cells holding other werewolves, Cap remembers that he was looking for John Jameson… but just as he’s about to free Wolverine, Moonhunter and Nightshade find them, and Cap urges his fellow werewolves to take them down without hurting them. (Good thing they didn’t get to let Wolverine out!)
They easily defeat the two humans—and find Jack Russell, the original “Werewolf by Night”—but before they can force Nightshade to change them back, she tells Cap that Doctor Druid is in danger. Cap finds him just in time to see Demon Druid slit his throat and use it along with moonstone to transform himself into a werewolf while retaining his human rationality.
The first page of Captain America #407 recaps the current situation while also emphasizing that, even in werewolf form, Cap is still the hero we respect and admire.
After Demon Druid transforms into Starwolf (“God and man and beast in one”), Cap struggles to fight him until an old friend appears…
…courtesy of Jack Russell, and when Cap sees the other werewolves ready to back him up, it is his turn to be inspired.
Oh, did I forget to mention Cable showed up, looking for Feral, a wolfish X-Force member who was also drawn to the wolfish vibes of Starkesboro? When he starts shooting, Cap has to fight him to protect the werewolves good and bad.
Cap takes out Cable’s big-boy gun as only a Capwolf can.
Starwolf wraps Cap and Cable in a carpet—seriously—but after a newly liberated Wolverine frees them, Cap lunges at his true enemy and dislodges the moonstone from his throat, ignoring the tremendous pain caused by holding the mystical gem.
After Cable crushes the moonstone, Cap learns that Doctor Druid is still alive, and gets an unwelcome compliment from Logan.
Will Cap remain a werewolf forever? Will he ever find John Jameson (or did he already)? And when are we getting an “Infinity War” crossover in Captain America? Find out in the next issue.
But before then, we pop into Amazing Spider-Man #366, where Peter needs some information about the Red Skull, who may have been involved with his parents, long thought deceased but who suddenly appeared at his door. Not only is the Red Skull (officially but incorrectly) presumed dead, as of Captain America #394—about which Cap is skeptical, to his credit—but the timing of Peter’s parents’ story implies they were involved with the 50s Red Skull instead, who was killed (on the modern Skull’s orders) in Captain America #347.
(It will come as no shock to learn that this “Richard Parker” and “Mary Parker” are imposters, thanks to the Chameleon, as is revealed in Amazing Spider-Man #388. Peter takes this news very poorly, as you might imagine.)
Captain America (vol. 1) #405, late August 1992, “Dances with Werewolves”: Mark Gruenwald (writer), Rik Levins (pencils), Steve Alexandrov (inks), Gina Going (colors), Joe Rosen (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Captain America (vol. 1) #406, early September 1992, “Leader of the Pack”: Mark Gruenwald (writer), Rik Levins (pencils), Danny Bulanadi (inks), Gina Going (colors), Joe Rosen (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Captain America (vol. 1) #407, late September 1992, “Lord of the Wolves”: Mark Gruenwald (writer), Rik Levins (pencils), Danny Bulanadi (inks), Gina Going (colors), Joe Rosen (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Collected in: Captain America Epic Collection: Blood and Glory.
Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 1) #366 (September 1992): David Micheline (writer), Jerry Bingham (pencils), Randy Emberlin (inks), Bob Sharen (colors), Joe Rosen (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Collected in: Amazing Spider-Man Epic Collection: The Hero Killers.
PREVIOUS ISSUES: Captain America #404 and New Warriors #26 (August 1992)
NEXT ISSUE: Captain America #408 (October 1992)