Avengers, Cable, Captain America, Capwolf, comic books, comics, Danny Bulanadi, Doctor Druid, Halloween, J. Jonah Jameson, John Jameson, Man-Wolf, Mark Gruenwald, Marvel Legends, Moonhunter, Nightshade, Rik Levins, Starwolf, werewolf, werewolves, Wolverine, X-Force, X-Men
On this menacing Monday, I am looking at another of the 31 comic books for the Halloween season. As always, not all of these stories feature the holiday, but all of them will be appropriately themed for Halloween.
Spoilers dead ahead.
Today’s featured story is from Captain America #402-408.
Straight outta Marvel Comics in 1992.
“Man and Wolf” was written by Mark Gruenwald with pencils by Rik Levins and inks by Danny Bulanadi. Our tale starts off with an anonymous man being attacked in the woods by a werewolf. Later we are shown that Wolverine in on the case. Back in New York City, Captain America is concerned about his missing pilot, John Jameson. John is son of the Daily Bugle’s J. Jonah Jameson and is also the Man-Wolf.
Next, we see a man in a pit, whipping werewolves. Moonhunter is his name and he’s about as ’90’s as they come. Sporting a leather jacket with huge shoulder pads, a blank metallic face mask with red eyes, and “hair” made of barbed wire. Moonhunter’s job is to keep the werewolves in line here.
Cap checks in with Jameson’s father, J. Jonah, and then seeks out the aid of former Avenger, Doctor Druid to find John. Cap and Druid travel to where the man from the beginning was attacked only to be confronted by another werewolf. Suddenly, the werewolf has a noose slipped around her neck and is raised into the air by Moonhunter riding a sky cycle.
Issue 403 has Captain America and Doctor Druid confronting Moonhunter. Later, they discover a small town. Inside a church, they find druid artifacts, implying that this christian church is now being used for another purpose.
Wolverine makes his way into the same town and is accosted by a group of werewolves. After blasting him repeatedly with a shotgun, Moonhunter manages to capture the X-Man. Further into town, Cap and Druid are surrounded by a mob of werewolves.
Part three starts with Druid and Cap fighting the werewolf horde. Then, Nightshade, a scientist working for the unseen villain, experiments on Wolverine in a lab. Moonhunter goes to his boss, Dredmund, to report on Captain America and Doctor Druid. Dredmund is now in possession of the Moonstone, a jewel that gave Jameson his abilities as Man-Wolf.
Exploring the town, Captain America is attacked by Wolverine, now under the control of Dredmund. Cap is overpowered by Wolvie and awakens in a lab with Nightshade standing over him. She then injects him with a serum that will turn him into a werewolf!
This issue starts with Captain America changing into a werewolf. Cap breaks loose as his thoughts become feral. Elsewhere, Doc Druid investigates their nemesis in an effort to defeat him. Dredmund finds him and the two face off.
Wolverine ambushes the now transformed Capwolf, who holds his own against the mutant. Moonhunter tries to lasso Cap as we saw him do previously. However, due to the werewolf serum mixing with the super soldier serum already in him, this makes Cap an even more powerful werewolf. As such, he drags Moonhunter behind him by the lasso as he seeks out Nightshade in an effort to cure himself.
Capwolf confronts the other werewolves being held in the pit as Doctor Druid is captured by Dredmund. Elsewhere, leader of X-Force, Cable learns that team member, Feral has gone missing. Due to the machination of Dredmund, feral creatures are being called to the small town. This is what brought Wolverine there also.
Back in the pit, Capwolf gets his fellow prisoners to form a giant werewolf pyramid to reach the top of their cage. With the freed werewolves in tow, Cap leads them against the others and Dredmund and his goons. They overpower Moonhunter and unmask him. Apparently he’s just a guy named Zachary Moonhunter. The ’90’s, right? At least it’s not Blackagar Boltagon.
In the church, Dredmund slices Doctor Druid’s throat and uses his blood to empower the Moonstone.
Part six opens with Dredmund transforming into Starwolf. Presumably, a cosmic-powered werewolf entity. Capwolf fights Starwolf in the church when Cable shows up, having already recovered Feral.
Dredmund attempts to crush Cap and Cable with a slab of a Stonehenge-like rock. Capwolf positions his shield so it takes the brunt of the blow. Wolverine, now free of Dredmund/Starwolf’s influence frees the pair.
Capwolf lunges at Starwolf and pulls the Moonstone from his throat. Cap tosses the stone to Cable who destroys it. Standing over the defeated Dredmund, Wolverine approves of Cap’s new look.
Issue 408 acts as an epilogue to the “Man and Wolf” storyline. Nightshade is now working with our heroes to return the townspeople to normal. As she is administering the cure to Cap, a strange doppelgänger appears through a portal.
The creature attacks Cap as he is becoming human again. Now recovered, Doctor Druid tells Cap that the being is not really alive. Taking advantage of this loophole to his moral code, Captain America impales the bizarro Captain on his own buzzsaw-like shield.
Both now recovered, Doc Druid and Cap make their way home with Moonhunter. They fly off on his sky cycle with Cap’s in tow.
Later in the issue is a back up story with Moonhunter applying to become Cap’s new pilot after Jameson decides to leave the post earlier.
Throughout the comics, is a back up story starring Diamondback. This tale was published bi-weekly and so the main story is shorter. Presumably, this back up is to fill out the page count of the book to accommodate this. Diamondback’s story does not relate to the main tale.
This is another comic that is featured on “crazy comic book” lists on the internet. It’s not that weird of a story. If anything its the “Captain America as a werewolf” concept filtered through the ’90’s that makes it strange. Essentially a Silver-Age story done in a more contemporary setting.
A strange p.s. to this story is an action figure that was released a couple of years ago. As part of the Marvel Legends line, this Captain America toy was issued with an alternate wolf head. Obviously, inspired by this story line.
Come back tomorrow (hairy, shield-throwing fingers crossed) for another comic book tale for Halloween.