Hey everybody, glad to see you could make it back for another week here in Ye Olde School Cafe’! This week, we’ll be finishing up the Captain America Tpb (trade paperback) – War & Remembrance. This will be my favorite of all the parts of this book for one simple reason…Baron Blood! Yes, it’s time for Steve to travel to England to hunt down an old nemesis that just doesn’t want to stay dead. So get out your garlic and grab that crucifix, because the undead are among us.
Our story begins on a rainy night north of London. We see two men stumble upon a woman who’s been murdered in cold blood. One of these gentlemen is the constable, the other the town’s doctor. The two act as if they know who is responsible, but they won’t even whisper the name. All they do is carry the woman’s body into the doctor’s office, and then inform a nearby manor of the latest slaying. The two men make their way to the house and inform a lady there about the killing. All the while her father is upstairs listening in on the conversation. He says the men are fools, and then wheels himself down the hall.
In our next scene, we see Captain America thwarting a robbery at a liquor store in NYC. After he takes down the two would-be thieves, he returns home for some rest. Not long after returning, he goes on a date with his new neighbor Bernie. The two get along great, but as usual, just as Steve is about to get busy, he receives a phone call. It’s from Jarvis at Avengers Mansion, and he tells Steve that a telegram came for him, and then he reads it to Steve. It’s a code that something is wrong in England, and Steve has to go and lend a hand. As Steve is on his flight overseas, he reminisces about days gone by from WWII. He remembers fighting alongside his fellow Invaders, and how they fought against the Nazis in Europe. Once arriving at the airport, Steve flashes his Avengers I.D. card and the guards let him pass with ease. Steve makes his way to the same manor that I spoke of earlier, and once there he is greeted by Jacqueline Falsworth. The two proceed inside and then Lord Falsworth comes to tell Steve that the killings are the work of Baron Blood. Jacqueline disagrees, saying that Scotland Yard has checked his tomb and his remains are still there. Lord Falsworth knows that Blood has fooled them, though.
Later, Captain America decides to investigate on his own. He goes to the doctor’s office to speak with him about the murders. The doctor talks to Cap, but gets infuriated when Cap mentions that it could be the work of a vampire. Cap talks to the constable about it, and is told that the townspeople thought they had a vampire trapped in the doctor’s house years ago, so they set it on fire. They didn’t realize though, that the doctor’s daughter was still inside and she was killed during the blaze. The two men then go to check the tomb of Baron Blood to make sure of his whereabouts. Once inside the crypt, Cap and the constable discover that the body in the tomb isn’t Baron Blood’s at all, but the body of a twenty-year-old woman. Cap immediately returns to Falsworth Manor to tell the original Union Jack (Lord Falsworth) what’s going on. Falsworth knew he was right, and then he and Cap start to make a game plan to stop the Baron’s bloody reign of terror. After the two men have talked a while, everyone retires for the evening. On the rooftop though, something is creeping around and looking for an open window. It’s Baron Blood, and he’s been keeping an eye on the manor. He slithers in through the window of Steve’s room and tries to snap his neck while he’s sleeping. Cap is ready for him though, because he knows that Baron Blood is actually Lord Falsworth’s brother, and Cap knows that he hates his family and would strike there sooner or later. Cap immediately smacks Blood in the face with his shield and the battle is on.
Cap is no fool, and he’s dealt with vampires before, so he has a loop of garlic ready and slaps it on Blood’s neck when he comes in for a bite. Blood is no rookie though, and turns into mist and turns the tables on Cap. Cap breaks free and kicks Blood out into the hallway, and everyone comes running out to see what the ruckus is. At this point, Blood says that he is tired of this battle and uses his hypnotic gaze to enthrall Cap. The star-spangled Avenger is helpless to stop the nightstalker at this point and Blood knows it. He goes for a bite to turn Cap into one of the undead, but when he attempts to clamp down on his neck, Blood realizes that Cap’s uniform is like a type of chain-mail and he can’t get through. The pain of the forceful bite snaps Cap out of the trance and he knocks Blood down just as he is leaping towards him. At this time, the whole family is watching, and Falsworth’s son Ken tries to smash Blood with a floor lamp. Blood easily swats him away and has to retreat because the sun is rising.
After the huge brawl, Kenny tells his friend about how his uncle came to be Baron Blood. He tells him that his uncle actually went to Dracula’s crypt and tried to control Dracula. Well, he was bitten for his trouble and then became a pawn of the Nazis. He reappeared in England and almost sank his teeth into Lady Faslworth, but the Invaders killed him. Union Jack lost the use of his legs in that now infamous brawl. Lady Falsworth was actually drained of some blood, and only a transfusion with the Human Torch saved her life. It also granted her super speed and she became the hero Spitfire. During this little story time however, we see that Baron Blood has returned to his dwelling place, and that he is actually masquerading as the town’s doctor. A patient shows up and he drains her for some renewing energy. The woman eventually makes her way to a local tavern, where Kenny and his friend are doing some boozing. She falls over from the blood loss, and then the two see the marks on her neck and realize what’s going on.
Back at the manor, Cap is readying himself for battle. He runs into Lord Faslworth, who is getting into his old Union Jack costume. Cap tells him he’s too old to fight Blood, but he tells Cap he can still be of use. While they are arguing about it, Falsworth has a heart-attack and they call the good “doctor” to come and examine him. Of course, Blood knows this is the best chance for him to kill his hated brother. Once alone in the room, Blood reveals himself to Faslworth and tries to bite the old hero. Faslworth shows Blood that he has been playing possum though, and has a few tricks up his sleeve. He pulls out a silver blade and slashes at Blood. Then he kicks Blood, but he still isn’t tough enough to handle a vampire himself. He even pulls out a pistol and starts shooting at Blood. This alerts Cap, and he enters the fight. The Baron still can hold his own, but Cap uses his smarts to open the drapes and reveal the sun rising. This is enough to stun Blood, and then Cap uses his shield to decapitate the vampire. Even Union Jack is taken back by Cap’s ferocity. In the end though, the action was too much for Lord Faslworth, and he dies from heart failure amidst the chaos. Cap then tells his family that he was a great man and more than worthy to carry the mantle of Union Jack! This book is a great read and has lots of extras in it as well, including an interview with Roger Stern.
Well, that’s it for now, but don’t forget to drop by next week for another exciting look at a story from the past!