Let's talk about a very special moment in comic book history, the 6 issue run of Captain America known as "Man and Wolf", or as it's more commonly known to fans, the Capwolf Saga! This particular series holds a very dear place in my heart, not because it's particularly good, or even because it's memorable, but because it was the first run of comics I ever purchased.
I remember it clearly, my Father took me into a local comic store, I started looking though this and that, and out of the corner of my eye I see it, a Werewolf Captain America! Well naturally I had to have it, of course what my 11 year old mind failed to notice was that it was issue 6 of the the 6 comic series, and it was nearly a year before I got the next 5, but it was still memorable dammit! But now 11 years and some 200 Captain America Comics Later, I'm sharing this with all of you readers.
But back on topic, the Capwolf Arc holds quite a few very interesting tidbits, even if you don't care for the whole "Let's turn a Superhero into a Monster" concept. So I'll do my best to give a somewhat quick synopsis.
Let's start with the beginning, while searching for John Jameson (The Son of everyone's favorite owner, publisher, and executive editor of the Daily Bugle) who's mysteriously vanished. Cap gets and Idea of where to search for his missing friend and pilot when he hears a report about a dead man supposedly killed by a human/wolf hybrid. A while back, in a few issues of Spiderman, John Jameson became the "Man-Wolf" when he was exposed to a strange gem from the moon that was eventually removed from his body by Spiderman and Dr. Connors. The gem turned to dust upon it;s removal and was carefully swept up and put into a sealed container which apparently went missing around the same time John did.
Teaming up with Dr. Druid (The 2nd Most Celebrated Authority on the Occult, Cap's words not mine) they go to investigate the scene of the Werewolf Murder only to be attacked by a female werewolf. While Druid is busy bleeding all over the place, Captain America takes the initiative by repeatedly bashing the she-wolf in the face with his shield before a man in a silver mask named Moonhunter, shows up on a skycycle to reclaim his property, i.e. the wolf woman. From Moonhunter's banter and some previous knowledge, we're made aware that not only do the baddies have quite a few werewolves, but that they're forcibly making them and keeping them in some dungeon like cage, and the Moonhunter is their primary handler.
Naturally, a high speed chase ensues between Cap and this Moonhunter, it ends with Cap's skycycle blown to hell and 2 sliver slugs to his chest, but ultimately he survives unscathed an joins back up with Dr. Druid. Meanwhile we learn that the werewolf Moonhunter recovered isn't one of the one's they've been making. It turns out a Doctor Nightshade has been working with some mysterious Master to convert people into werewolves, and as they're discussing the reformed moongem that seems to be luring werewolves to them, who shows up but Wolverine! Because you know if there's werewolf ass to kick, or ass to kick in general, or really just an excuse to kick ass, Wolverine's gonna be there! He was investigating the murders as well, and after throwing down with a bunch of werewolves, and getting shot in the face with a shotgun about 5 times by Moonhunter, he finally goes down. Cap and Druid make it to the town, only to end up surrounded by werewolves themselves.
Dr. Nightshade attempts to turn Wolverine into one of the wolf-pack, only to find that his healing factor makes that impossible. After her boss, Dredmund, hypnotizes him to make him more controllable, they forget about trying to turn him and focus on trying to find out how his body can reject their serum. Cap and Druid manage to deal with the pack of werewolves by fighting their way through them, and eventually rendering themselves invisible to anyone Dr. Druid makes eye contact with. And with the sun up, they all revert back to humans. Of course that doesn't help when Wolverine is sent after the pair. Once again when fighting ensues, Druid makes sure to keep himself out of harms way, and Cap is left to fight a berserk Wolverine on his own, with no way to "unensorcel" his mutant friend. They fight for a while, and right as Wolverine goes for the killing blow, Moonhunter darts Cap and takes him to Nightshades' lab on his bosses orders, to be turned into yet another werewolf.
The Serum interacts with Cap's Super Solider Serum, and allows him to break free of the lab and run off into the open. The modified serum also allows him to stay a wolf in the daylight, as does Dredmund's magic which he uses to send the towns people after Cap. Meanwhile Dr. Druid is off investigating the town further, and decides to check out the Church Dredmend operates out of. There's a psychic showdown between the 2 that mostly plays out as an extreme staring contest, before they cut back to Capwolf.
Having trouble keeping his mind focused, Cap attempts to reason with the other werewolves and rally them into turning on Dredmund and Nightshade, when that fails he tries to run, only to once more end up fighting Wolverine. After a brief showdown that ends with Cap throwing Wolverine into the pack of werewolves, Cap once more runs off into the woods and back towards town to deal with Dredmund. The intense psychic staring contest between Druid and Dredmund continues, Dr. Druid realizes he has to destroy the moongem and attempts to do so without breaking focus from Dredmund, it lands him on his ass. Meanwhile Capwolf is lassoed by Moonhunter, only to drag the guy off his skycycle and through the town towards Dr. Nightshade who manages to subdue Cap.
Nightshade gets Cap into the "Punishment Pit" with a bunch of the other werewolves, and he naturally has to fight their leader, a large white werewolf, for dominance. It ends with Cap bouncing the big wolfs face off of the ceiling and claiming victory. Back with Dr. Druid, the scene takes on a distinctly rapey feel what with Dredmend putting a leather mask on Druid and chaining him up, all while claiming the he is now the Druid Supreme before cutting off Dr. Druids ponytail and promising to kill him later that night. In the pit, Cap meets a familiar face, Wolfsbane of the new mutants. She explains that a bunch of wolves were brought here by "The Call of the Wild" and explains their situation a bit. We also find that the that the mutant known as Feral has gone missing from her team, and that Cable is going to come looking for her. With Wolfbanes help, Cap figures out how to speak well enough to rally the other wolves into forming a pyramid and climbing out of the pit to freedom. They manage to subdue both Moonhunter, who's full name turns out to be Zachary Moonhunter, and Dr. Nightshade (Who seems to be trying to run a play of her own against Dredmund.) She tells Cap that Dredmund is the one he wants and that he has Dr. Druid, but when Capwolf arrives he's too late, Dredmund the Druid slits Dr. Druid's throat and drenches the moongem in the blood before pressing it to his own throat, in the hopes that a "sanctified" version of the stone will give him control over the Wolf side, turning him into "Starwolf".
Cap attempts to fight Starwolf, only to be taken down with a single blow before attempting a tactical retreat to recover a bit. He turns back as the wolves threaten to flay the still bleeding body of Dr. Druid, and is quickly assisted by the werewolves he freed from the pit. Tracking Feral to the town and quickly knocking her out, Cable decides to check out why she's come here and ends up in the melee with Cap, Starwolf and the other wolves. Back in Nightshade's lab, a restrained Dr. Nightshade is met by the same white wolf Cap fought in the pit. He brings the severely injured but still alive Dr. Druid in and threatens to inject Nightshade with her own werewolf serum, writing a note telling her to find the antidote. Meanwhile the trapped Moonhunter escapes the pit with ease and frees Wolverine from his own cell before heading to the lab where Dr. Druid manages to break the hold Dredmund has over the 2 of them. Wolverine arrives at the church and saves Cap and Cable, with Moonhunter not far behind. Together the 4 of them take on Starwolf. Cap rips the gem from Dremunds throat, Cable crushes it under his boot, and that's the end of Starwolf who turns back into Dredmund. Now offically, that's the end of the 6 part run, but it's not until the 7th issue that we find out the fates of Capwolf and friends. I won't spoil that part, if you wanna know you'll have to do some reading yourself.
Now I left out A LOT of information that really adds to the feeling of the whole story arc, not to mention like 2 other story lines that are playing out along side Capwolf's crazy journey, so make sure you check it out. I mean this story has everything! A big cast of characters from a wide range of comics, an interesting story, and some awesome artwork. I laughed, I cried, well not really, but it is a classic example of what makes Captain America such a superb character. What do you think, feel free to express your own thoughts in the comments.