Captain America (1st series) #408

Issue Date: 
October 1992
Story Title: 
(1st story) The Final Fate of Cap-Wolf: Dark Dawn

(1st story) Mark Gruenwald (writer), Rik Levins (penciler), Danny Bulandi (inker), Joe Rosen (letterer), George Roussos (colorist), Mike Rockwitz (editor), Ralph Macchio (group editor), Tom DeFalco (loose end/editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

(1st story)

In her laboratory, Nightshade she uses the serum she created to transform the white wolf into his human form – John Jameson. As she begins to change Cap-Wolf back into his human form, evil Cap arrives on the scene and attacks. During the commotion, Cap is injected with the serum and begins to change back into human form. Even though he is exhausted, he is able to defeat evil Cap. With that out of the way, he turns his attention to transforming the rest of the citizens back into humans. Outside, the authorities have arrived and Nightshade and Dredmund are taken into custody. Cap makes sure the mayor is going to assist with the impending investigation, bids Jack Russell and Wolfsbane goodbye and has a heart-to-heart conversation with Jameson, who quits as his pilot. Cap then finds his new pilot in the form of Moonhunter and they head home. In Central Park, Dennis Dunphy is attacked by the evil incarnation of D-Man and drug into the water.

Full Summary: 

(1st story)

Dredmund, lord of werewolves, has been defeated. But for the star-spangled Avenger, there are still a few more matters to take care of before his mission here in Starkesboro, Massachusetts is over. Matters like the transformation of the populace of this hamlet from werewolves back to human beings. It is a populace whose ranks now include himself. Fortunately, he has two allies in his quest: his fallen enemy’s former right hand man, Moonhunter, and the occult master, Doctor Druid. Still, all the allies in the world won’t make a difference if the woman who created the wolf serum can’t be persuaded to lend her expertise.

Entering the laboratory with Dredmund in tow, Cap-Wolf calls out Nightshade’s name. Turning away from the white wolf, Nightshade tells him hello and then begins to think that, if she thought it was going to be difficult escaping just Doctor Druid, now it’s near impossible. That’s Dredmund he’s carrying. What happened to the moon-gem? Laying Dredmund on a nearby table, Cap tells Druid that he’s glad to learn he’s alive. Druid remarks that he was able to seal his throat wound through sheer force of will. He then asks what happened to Dredmund. Cap replies that he tore the moon-gem from his throat; it did a lot of damage, he thinks. Druid replies hmmmm. A throat for a throat. He was schooled in medicine. He’ll attend to him. He then tells Cap to keep an eye on Nightshade. She’s supposed to be administering the white wolf on the table a cure for lycanthropy.

After Nightshade injects the white wolf with the serum, he begins to transform to human form. As he does, he calls out in pain. Nightshade remarks that he deserves some pain for what he did to her. When the white wolf completes his transformation into human, Cap immediately recognizes him as John Jameson. John informs Cap that he had to encourage Nightshade into whipping up an antidote by turning her into a fellow lycanthropy sufferer. She tested the antidote on herself. John then tells Nightshade to change Cap back next. As he lies down on the table, Cap asks John that he was the leader of the pit wolves he fought. John answers yes and then proceeds to tell Nightshade that, if she pulls anything, he’ll jab her with more of the wolf serum so fast she won’t know whether to sit or howl. Nightshade says yes, she’s sure he would.

Suddenly, a demented version of Captain America appears toting a serrated shield. The evil Cap calls angrily tells Cap that he’s come there for him. John asks Nightshade if he is one of Dredmund’s, but Nightshade says no, she never saw him before. Just then, evil Cap punches John, who bumps into Nightshade. When he does, the syringe Nightshade was carrying accidentally jams into Cap’s wolfen form. As evil Cap attacks, he exclaims woe to whoever stands between them. Pulling Nightshade out of the way, Cap wonders who this dark version of himself is. Why is he there now? He’s so fatigued from all he’s been through in the past few days, this is the last thing he needs. To top it off, Nightshade jabbed him with the antidote. He’s beginning to change…

Deftly, Cap is able to use his shield to deflect evil Cap’s shield and into the nearby wall. Pinning Cap to the ground, evil Cap chokes him and tells him that every human being has a dark side, even him. And today he shall prevail. Continuing his transformation back to human form, Cap asks Druid who this is. Druid informs him that he senses that it is not human, not even alive. It’s some sort of unearthly manifestation. Cap asks not alive? He then states that changes everything. He’s so weary, he has to end this fast before he collapses. Cap then proceeds to kick evil Cap across the room and into his shield, where he begins to dissipate into thin air.

After the battle, Moonhunter tells Cap that was a nice duke-out. Cap replies that he can’t agree. He was tired, sloppy and uncharacteristically brutal. Moonhunter asks him what did he expect; he was a wolf till a few seconds ago. Nightshade then tells Cap congratulations. In his roughhousing, he spilled all the antidote she made. When Cap tells her she’ll make more, Nightshade says they can’t, they don’t have the ingredients. Cap tells her they’ll get them, much to Nightshade’s dismay.

Three hours later, the citizens of Starkesboro have been transformed back to human and federal officers have arrived… Outside, Cap asks Druid that he’s keeping their friends the Werewolf by Night (Jack Russell) and Wolfsbane hypnotically shielded from the Guardsmen’s sight. When Druid says yes, Cap replies good. It’s tough enough explaining what went on there without having to account for two wolf-people who weren’t one of Nightshade’s experiments. As she begins to be taken away, Nightshade calls out to Cap to not let them do this to her. Dredmund mind-controlled her, same as Moonhunter. She’s not a willing accomplice. When Cap tells her that’s for the courts to decide, Nightshade exclaims that he’s going to pay for this. Superia will see to it. Hearing this, Cap thinks to himself that Nightshade is still loyal to her old boss.

Turning towards the mayor, Cap tells him that there’s still the matter of the werewolf murders that first brought this town of his to his attention. The mayor informs him that he must believe him when he tells him that the individuals involved in those terrible incidents all perished in the altercation with the pit-wolves in the church. Cap tells him there will still have to be a police investigation. He’ll cooperate? After the mayor replies that he will, Jack Russell says for what it’s worth, he believes the mayor, Mr. Seward, is telling the truth.

Cap then asks Russell if he’s sure he doesn’t want to try Dr. Nightshade’s treatment. Russell states that it won’t work on him. His lycanthropy is part of a family curse, if you believe in that sort of thing. Besides, he’s made his peace with what he is. Just then, Russell transforms into human form and leaves the town on a motorcycle. Wolfsbane then walks up to Cap and tells him that she’ll be getting’ back to Washin’ton, if he’s no further need of her. Before Cap can ask her if she needs anything, he is interrupted by John Jameson.

As they walk off, John tells him let’s cut to the bottom line. He’s resigning as his pilot, effective immediately. Cap replies that he’ll certainly accept his wishes, but he’s at a loss how to respond. Is it something he did? John answers in a way. When he became an astronaut at the start of the space age, super hero types were practically unheard of. Guys like him had the right stuff. They were the bravest, brightest and the best humanity had going for it. Then they began popping up all over, and suddenly astronauts were yesterday’s news.

He guesses when he applied to be his pilot, he hoped to see up close what made them tick; see if he could get some of the new right stuff to rub off on him. For a while, it felt like it was working. Then last summer after he was mind-controlled by MODAM, and he sidelined him, he lost his confidence, his edge, his will to compete. When Dredmund contacted him and sent him after the moon-gem, he jumped at the chance, seeing it as his last ditch attempt to become a hero like he once was. Instead he got in way over his head, and needed the super hero types to bail him out once again. Being near guys like them has just gotten to be too much for him to handle. He needs to do something with his life.

Shaking John’s hand, Cap tells him okay, but he just wants him to know he’s going to miss him. As far as he’s concerned, he does have the right stuff. If he ever changes his mind, there’ll always be a place for him in the Avengers.

Making his way over to Druid, Cap tells him that it looks like he finally found his pilot, just to lose him. He then asks where Moonhunter went. He’s yet to learn how he got roped into all this. After Druid tells him he’s not sure, Moonhunter arrives on the scene, flying his banged-up sky-cycle. He then asks Druid and Cap if they need a lift. When Cap asks if he’s sure that thing is flightworthy, Moonhunter tells him sure. Long as he doesn’t fly it any higher than he can jump from. Cap then asks if his machine is up to towing his machine. Moonhunter answers that they can give it a try. Once up in the air, Cap asks Moonhunter that he’s pretty handy with flying vehicles, isn’t he. Moonhunter answers yep. If it flies, he can fly it. Oh, and call him “Zack.”

In the heart of New York City is Central Park, where a man named Dennis Dunphy sits upon a rock, sorting through the confused and disjointed images that comprise his memory. Prominent among them, a man in a blue suit with a white star, an explosion, ice as far as the eye can see. And something else, something more recent. What was it? Yes, a brown-haired woman who ran away from him. Just then, Dennis is attacked by evil D-Man, who tells him that he’s his demon, get it? Dennis does not get it. Nor does he make a sound. He has not spoken in years. He just lets his attacker’s momentum carry him forward and the water claims them both.

Characters Involved: 

(1st story)

Captain America/Cap-Wolf

Wolfsbane, and Werewolf by Night (Jack Russell)

Doctor Druid

John Jameson


Doctor Nightshade

Dredmund Druid

Evil Captain America and D-Man – refugees from the Infinity War

Various unnamed residents of Starkesboro, Massachusetts

Dennis Dunphy (D-Man)

Story Notes: 

This issue also includes:

2nd story – “Diamondback! Night of the Knife” depicting Diamondback and Crossbones captivity inside the lair of the Red Skull.

3rd story – “Falcon - Joyride.” depicting Falcon meeting Cap’s new pilot – Zack Moonhunter and him re-joining Captain America and them becoming a team again.

Cap-Wolf defeated the leader of the pit wolves, the white wolf back in Captain America (1st series) #406. It turns out the white wolf was John Jameson.

This issue was a tie-in with the Infinity War crossover event.

Nightshade was under the direction of Superia in Captain America (1st series) #390-392.

Issue Information: 
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