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Comic Book Throwback Review – Captain America and The Falcon #164 (Marvel Comics)

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Captain America and The Falcon #164

Writer: Steve Englehart
Artist: Alan Lee Weiss
Colorist: Jim Starlin
Letterer: John Constanza
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Maturity Rating: Everyone

Werewolves are everywhere, and with Sam Wilson slowly transforming, it is up to Captain America to stop the hordes of beasts and save his friend before he gets torn apart!

 

The Company of Wolves in Captain America and The Falcon #164

So, you though Captain America and Werewolves was a ’90s thing? You thought the first time Sam Wilson, aka The Falcon, turned into a werewolf was in Sam Wilson: Captain America #3 in 2015? Well, I am about to blow your mind with Captain America and The Falcon #164. I don’t exactly remember where I found this comic at. But I remember digging through a long box somewhere and seeing the cover and, obviously, I immediately had to have it! Sam Wilson a werewolf, “Queen of the Werewolves”—the cover was basically begging me to buy it. Luckily the copy I got is in fair-poor condition so it only cost me a dollar or two.

Captain America and The Falcon #164 (Marvel Comics) cover by John Romita
Captain America and The Falcon #164 (Marvel Comics) cover by John Romita

I mean, it’s all worth it just for this delightful cover. Captain America and The Falcon #164 also has the first appearance of the villain Deadly Nightshade, who made an appearance in the second season of the Luke Cage series. They seem to have left out the whole Queen of the Werewolves thing on Netflix. Now, that would have been a fun twist, if werewolves all of a sudden turned up in that show! Anyway, enough about the cover; how is the actual book?

Dog Soldiers

Steve Englehart writes this wild story that opens up with the one and only Captain America being torn to shreds by an army of what are supposed to be werewolves (we will get to that in a minute). But Captain America doesn’t have black hair; what is going on? Well, my friends, it is a bit of a swerve and slight spoiler, but that ain’t Cap! Deadly Nightshade, the Queen of the Werewolves, wanted a little practice for her pets before the real thing.

So, apparently Sam has gotten a distressing message from a childhood friend. He is in prison, but notes something horrible is going to happen. Naturally, Steve and Sam go investigate this castle-looking prison in the middle of Maryland. Wouldn’t you know, it is deserted, well, except for all the werewolves. 

Born This Way

Englehart doesn’t do much with the new villain, Deadly Nightshade; it seems her only real assets are that she somehow made a werewolf serum and she has a terrible costume. Apparently her whole operation is funded by pretty-racist villain Yellow Claw (I don’t even like typing that). The story just seems like a long setup for that villain’s return. It seems there could have been an easier way to do that than a story about werewolves, but hey, I won’t complain too much about seeing Cap fight werewolves (well, if the story were more intriguing and they looked better). 

The dialogue is fun in that ’70s sense. Englehart gives some classic lines, like exclaiming danger is “like food” to Captain America. I think my favorite is when the werewolves first attack Cap and he is in shock, then says “But blast it, this is what I was born for”. I think that was fighting WWII Nazi’s but, I mean, I am with you, Englehart; he was born to fight werewolves!

Falc-Wolf

Captain America and The Falcon #164 features special guest artist Alan Lee Weiss with Jim Starlin on colors and John Constanza lettering. Alright, let’s get this over with. We all know I have opinions on werewolves; that is well-documented. These are terrible-looking ones. They look more like generic hairy monsters or cat people than wolf-men. They are also colored all sorts of odd colors. I don’t need a purple werewolf.

I think the biggest problem is keeping the human haircuts on the monsters’ heads; it looks incredibly goofy. They even kept the facial hair. If you want to see a werewolf with a handlebar mustache, check out this issue.

Deadly Nightshade’s costume is terrible, too. I know it was the ’70s and it definitely has that vibe, but they could have come up with something better than this for the supposed “Queen of the Werewolves”. There are some also wonky facial expressions in the issue, as well.

Okay, enough of the bad; there are some highlights in the issue. When Falcon turns into a werewolf he actually looks really ferocious (afro aside). Weiss makes him look like a fearsome beast. His transformation scene is also well done. The whole fight between Captain America and Falc-Wolf is well done and is the highlight of the issue.

Also, Nick Fury shows up in the wildest vest you have ever seen. He comes in guns a-blazing, with a fur vest, strapped to the teeth with guns and knives.

Lock Up the Wolves

Well, Captain America and The Falcon #164 was something. What, exactly, I don’t know? I can’t say that I was not a little disappointed. That cover had me all kinds of hyped and the interior was a bit of a letdown. The story wasn’t that well put together and the less we talk about those “werewolf” designs the better.

But I am also not going to rate a book too low that has Captain America Judo-throwing a werewolf Sam Wilson while proclaiming the virtues of “the gentle way” (which I always found odd about art of slamming someone to the ground). So, I don’t know if I would exactly seek this issue out just to read. But if you happen to be digging through a long box and find it for a dollar or two it is worth it for the cover. 2.5 Shields out of 5.


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