Captain America (1st series) #406

Issue Date: 
September 1992
Story Title: 
<BR>(1st story) Man and Wolf: Part 5 of 6: Leader of the Pack

(1st story) Mark Gruenwald (story), Rik Levins (pencils), Danny Bulandi (inks), Joe Rosen (letters), Gina Going (colors), Ralph Macchio (edits), Tom DeFalco (kibbles & bits/editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

(1st story)

In Central Park in New York, Bernie continues her quest on finding Dennis Dunphy to no avail. Meanwhile, at X-Force headquarters, Cable learns that Feral has left and is determined to find her. Up in Starkesboro, Cap-Wolf is put into the pit by Nightshade. Once in the pit, Cap is able to defeat the leader and takes charge of the wolves. He then learns that also in the pit is Wolfsbane, who helps him learn how to talk in his new form. Leading the wolves, Cap gets them to work together so they can escape the pit. Making their way through the compound, they decide not to break Wolverine from his cell. Eventually, they encounter Moonstone and Nightshade and are able to overpower them. After tossing Moonstone in the pit, Cap learns from Nightshade that Jack Russell is the catalyst for the wolf serum. When Cap gives the order to strap Nightshade to the table, she gives up that Dredmund is at the church with his friend, Doctor Druid, who is being held captive. At the church, Cap breaks in and sees Dredmund slice Druid’s neck with a knife which covers the moonstone in blood and which Dredmund proceeds to jam into his ow throat. With that, he begins his transformation, much to Cap’s horror.

Full Summary: 

(1st story)

Captain America has been turned into a werewolf! And after a brief period of freedom, he has come back to the person responsible for his condition, the deadly Doctor Nightshade.

Perched above a pit with a metal grate over top of it, Nightshade orders Cap-Wolf into the punishment pit. He’s been a bad beastie running about and scaring the poor townfolk. Disobey her and she swears he’s never going to know what it’s like to be human again. Obey her and… well, they’ll see what they can arrange.

Leaping into the pit, Cap thinks – Her words… confuse. Know shouldn’t trust her. But what else do? Need to make her change me back… back to what? Human! Not wolf. How make her down here? Shouldn’t have come here. So hard to keep thoughts straight. Slamming the cage shut, Nightshade remarks that it’s nice to know she hasn’t lost her touch. She always had a way with the beasties.

Inside the pit, Cap thinks – Figures in darkness… more wolf-people. Coming closer… what they want? Trying to… to… what word… intimidate me? Stay back…! Not come closer or…! Big white wolf… others slinked off when he came out… what he want? Fight me…? Why he want fight? He leader of pit-wolves? Wish I could talk! Pouncing…! Know what to do! Remember from other… form! Sidestep…! End this quick! Others backing off… ears down… I beat leader…?

Nearby, Dredmund Druid finishes chaining Doctor Druid to the wall and placing a metal face-mask on him. As he does, he tells him “you, who are about to die, I curse you!” For years he has studied the wisdom of the ancient Celts, gathered followers and used modern techniques to advance the belief in the old faith. He has suffered numerous setbacks in his efforts. He has been persecuted, beaten, incarcerated, even stricken in stature. But he persevered, he prevailed against all odds. Still, despite all he has striven for, he, Anthony Druid, has continued to be hailed by the short-sighted populace as the master of Druidism. No longer! He has been defeated in occult combat and with his imminent demise, he, Dredmund Cromwell, shall be acknowledged Druid Supreme! His coming to Starkesboro is most fortuitous. Had he not stumbled into his clutches, he’d soon have come looking for him. Right after he finishes his business there. Now, with this ceremonial knife, he relieves him of this annoying lock of hair. His vanity appears to be another thing he has not mastered. The next time he unsheathes that knife, at moonrise tonight before his loyal populace, it shall be his throat he slices.

Back in the pit, Cap-Wolf thinks – Wish could ask… what these wolves did… that they down here like me... Just then, one of the females of the group steps forward and asks Captain America if he recognizes her. She’s Wolfsbane, formerly of the New Mutants, now with X-Factor. It is him, in’ it? How’d an Avenger like him get there? He’s not naturally wolfen like her, he couldna heard the call of the wild which compelled her to leave her friends without a word an’ come north only ta get herself captured. They gave him the potion, din’ they? That’s what they did to most of her fellow cellar dwellers. Guess they couldna break his spirit either. Oh, they’re goin’ ta try, sending Moonhunter in twice a day to try to whack them into line. Cap looks at her and thinks – Girl can talk… how? Need to learn. Walking up to Cap, Wolfsbane puts her hand up against the side of his face and asks him that he’s tryin’ t’ talk, isn’t he. He’ll have to learn a whole different way t’ do it. Relax his throat…now try to say something as if he’s tryin’ t’ sing a high note. Gently now… Concentrating, Cap utters rrrrrmust rrrrrrget rrrrrfreeeee!

Elsewhere at that moment, Shatterstar informs Cable that Feral is missing. When Cable asks how long, Shatterstar replies that he last saw her at lights out last night. Cable says they’ll find her.

In the pit, Cap-Wolf tells the wolves around him – Rrrrrneed to rrrrbe freerrr… rrrnot locked uprrrr… because we rrrrefuse to obey rrrlaws set by rrrtown leaderrrr. Rrrimprisonment unlawful… rrrcharged with rrrno crime. Rrrrwe can be frrrrree if we join togetherrrrr. Pointing up to the top of the pit, Cap tells them – Rrrrrup there… rrrescape. Rrrrform pyramid… rrrrbiggest at bottomrrr. As they pyramid begins to form, Cap thinks – Understood my words… Working together… do what no one could alone. Reach trapdoor… locked! Must break it… or rebellion nowhere… No option. Up to me. Must… break… lock…! Super-soldier and wolf serum… magnify strength. Now help people out!

In Central Park, Manhattan, Bernie Rosenthal asks some cops if they’ve seen a man who is six foot six, red hair, yellow shirt, moving slowly. The cops promptly inform her that if they’d seen someone like that, they’d have remembered. Walking away, distraught, Bernie thinks to herself that he wishes the officer was right. But Dennis Dunphy is not all there upstairs. He shouldn’t have yelled at him and run off. Bernadette Rosenthal, you’re a real piece of work.

Back in Starkesboro, City of Wolves… Moonhunter and Nightshade step into Dredmund’s study. Dredmund informs them that tonight is the last night of the full moon, when all his months of planning come to fruition. Everything is in place. He even has that idiotic pretender to Druidic glory where he wants him. Now he wants them to make certain that nothing goes wrong between now and tonight. They’ve both filled their quota of mistakes. One more, and he’ll literally throw them both to the wolves. Now get out!

Outside Dredmund’s study, Moonhunter tells Nightshade to relax. The only things that can go wrong are down in the pit. They guard them, everything’ll be jake. Nightshade proceeds to tell Moonhunter to go on ahead, she’ll be along in a minute. As Moonhunter heads off, Nightshade thinks to herself that she’s going to have to make her move quickly or all will be lost. If she can just get Moon to remove his mask, she’s certain she can break Dredmund’s hold over his mind.

Back in the pit, Cap-Wolf thinks – Just one more to bring up… the one I beat to become the leader of the pack… Just remembered something. Came here to look for somebody. Who was it? Friend of mine, named John. One of these… him? With the wolves gathered, Cap tells them – We’rrrrrre free… now find scientist… rrrmake herrr change us backrrrr. Rrrrquietly… follow me… As they pass by a nearby cell, Wolverine jams his claws out of the window and yells at them to let him outta there. Turning towards Wolfsbane, Cap asks her – Rrrjoin us…? Rrrrcan we trrrust himrrr? Wolfsbane replies that ordinarily, yes, but the scent of enchantment hangs about him. As they depart the area, Cap says – Rrrrwe’ll be back for you, Wolverrine.

Reaching a door, Cap-Wolf opens it to reveal Moonstone and Nightshade on the other side. As soon as they see them, Cap tells his followers – Rrrrrrrr subdue them, rrrrbut don’t hurrrt them! Just then, Nightshade is attacked by a number of the wolves. Hearing her scream, Cap exclaims – Rrrr I said no hurrrting. We need herrrr to change us back rrrrr. Making his way over there, Cap yanks the wolves off of Nightshade. Lying on the ground, Nightshade wonders how they could’ve escaped. She’s got to figure out how to use this to her advantage against Dredmund. But they’re so out of control. She better cooperate till she thinks of a way to get back on top of this insurrection. With Moonstone out of commission and held captive by the wolves, Cap tells his followers – Brrring him herrre. Want to see who this is. Rrremove mask. Once he sees the man’s face, Cap thinks – Thought this might be John… but it’s someone I never saw before. Turning to Nightshade, Cap asks him who he is. Nightshade answers that his name’s Zachary Moonhunter. Dredmund found him before she came to work for him. That’s all she knows. Cap then order the wolves to – Make surrrre he has no weapons. Then drrrrop him in the pit.

Inside the laboratory, Cap sees another wolf lying on a table and asks what they’re doing with him. Nightshade answers that it’s Jack Russell. He’s been donating blood, from which they concoct the werewolf vaccine they’ve administered to the Starkesboro residents. He came by his lycanthropy super-naturally. Cap then orders her to release him now. Once Jack is freed, Cap tells Nightshade to make an antidote and change them back to what they were. Nightshade asks or he’ll do what. She knows him, even in wolfen form he would not let harm befall a poor defenseless woman like her. After Cap gives the order to strap her to the table, Nightshade panics and tells him that his friend Druid is in grave danger. He’d better forget about her and try to save him. He’ll find him in the church.

Inside the church, Dredmund addresses the wolves sitting in the pews and tells the moonchildren of Starkesboro that they are gathered there tonight under the full moon to witness his rite of passage, his ascension into secular godhood. For months now they have asked him when he is going to join them in unleashing his wild side. He told them there were forces of natured he had to contend with first. At last the final detail has been settled, and by the blood of his enemy, tonight he shall become one with them all. Holding a knife up to Doctor Druid’s neck, Dredmund states that the blood of the ancients pulse through his veins. Yet he is an unworthy vessel for their grandeur and glory. With this blade he shall spill his blood upon the deliverance stone, thereby sanctifying…

Just then, Cap-Wolf bursts through the door. Upon seeing him, Dredmund orders his followers to stop him, do not let him near him at all costs. As he is attacked, Cap thinks – Man in helmet… I recognize! Fought him before… called himself the Druid. He’s mastermind of all this… not Nightshade…? Other Druid tied to stone. Must get to him before…

Holding his knife up to Druid’s neck, Dredmund tells him it’s time to die, and slices his neck. Cap notices this and believes that he’s too late. Kneeling down, Dredmund remarks the moongem drenched in blood of a mystic shall be unable to cloud his intellect as it did John Jameson, its previous possessor. He shall absorb the full measure of its godly power with none of its side effects. Jamming the moonstone into his neck, Dredmund tells Captain America that he’s too late. Nothing can stop him from pressing this gem to his throat. Seeing Dredmund beginning to morph, Cap wonders – What is happening to him? Changing before my eyes… into what?

Characters Involved: 

(1st story)

Captain America

Doctor Druid


Cable, Shatterstar (all X-Force)

Wolfsbane, Jack Russell, various other unnamed werewolves and residents of Starkesboro, Massachusetts


Doctor Nightshade

Dredmund Druid

Bernie Rosenthal

Various unnamed policemen and visitors to Central Park

Story Notes: 

This issue also includes:

2nd story – “Diamondback! Fight on Skull Mountain,” depicting Diamondback and Crossbones battles against Blackwing, Cutthroat and Jack O’ Lantern at the site of the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

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

Dredmund Druid was stricken in stature back in Captain America (1st series) #256.

Dredmond's statement of "you, who are about to die, I curse you!" is a play on the famous Latin phrase dating back to Roman times, "We who are about to die, salute you!"

Issue Information: 
Written By: