"Jughead: The Hunger #5" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Archie Comics
Written by Frank Tieri
Illustrated by Pat & Tim Kennedy and Joe Eisma
Colored by Matt Herms, Andre Szymanowicz, and Kelsey Shannon
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on April 18th, 2018
Who says you can never go home again? Well, if you’re wanted for murder like Jughead Jones, maybe it’s time to travel a bit more. Jughead has more problems than having the most well-known face in Riverdale newspapers. He’s also a werewolf, being hunted by Betty Cooper and her family of monster hunters. Oh, and Reggie Mantle is also a werewolf and he’s created a whole pack, including Veronica Lodge and Principal Weatherbee. Guys, a lot happens in Jughead: The Hunger #5.
There’s a bunch to digest in this issue, so let’s take it piece by piece. First, the issue opens with a flashback to Jughead’s father checking in on the boy before he’s turned. This is a great scene that reminds us that although they’re a family of monsters, they’re still a family. They love each other. In some situations, they deserve to be hunted because they’ve hurt and killed others, but that’s not always the case.
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Seeing Jughead as the stereotypical teenager puts things in perspective as well. He’s just a kid. He didn’t ask for any of this. All he ever wanted was cheeseburgers and now he’s turning into an uncontrollable werewolf. Artists Pat & Tim Kennedy show how Jughead is just a typical teenager here, sleeping in his pigsty of a room with not a care in the world.
The transition from this flashback to the present is jarring. It’s shown with literal claw marks across the page in bright red. Colorist Andrew Szymanowicz makes this sequence pop, bringing you back to reality. Blood and violence are now constant parts of Jughead’s life.
While the first half of Jughead: The Hunger #5 centers on the title character as he makes his way back to Riverdale, the latter half takes a look at Reggie. We’ve gotten glimpses at his plans since the series began and I’ve been eager to find out more. Reggie represents a huge threat not only to Jughead, but to everyone in the town. He’s out to prove that he’s the top dog here and even though Jughead is responsible for turning him into this monster, Reggie has no respect for his maker. He wants to lead. Coupled with the fact that Reggie is a total jerk and you’ve got a lethal combination.
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Pat & Tim Kennedy and Joe Eisma have been splitting the art duties on Jughead: The Hunger for a bit. I haven’t noticed the difference between the artists up until now. Their styles blend together well for the most part, but Jughead is the standout here. Eisma’s version of the character is very different from the Kennedys’ interpretation. It’s not a huge deal, especially since both are pretty great, but it does come across as a little annoying because it's a jarring difference between the two.
Eisma delivers some of the best gore and carnage the series has seen to date. Colorists Matt Herms and Kelsey Shannon make the blood pop off the page, contrasting nicely with the dark shadows that make up the setting. It’s shocking to see and the creative team pulls no punches here. This will strike a chord for long time fans of Archie as well as newcomers to the franchise. It hits hard.
Up until this point, Jughead has been on the defensive, just trying to stay alive. After the events of this issue, he’s going to have to “wolf up” if he wants to keep his loved ones safe. Every chapter of Jughead: The Hunger has built the tension more, pulling us deeper and deeper into this twisted world. This issue delivers on that in spades. Writer Frank Tieri is leaning into the terror and carnage, making this an amazing read.