"Jughead: The Hunger" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Archie Comics
Written by Frank Tieri
Illustrated by Michael Walsh
Colored by Michael Walsh and Dee Cunniffe
2017, 52 Pages, $4.99
Comic released on March 29th, 2017
Jughead Jones can eat just about anything. The man has an iron stomach that also happens to be bottomless. What if he hungered for more than cheeseburgers though? What if he hungered for human flesh due to a werewolf curse? That would be crazy, wouldn't it? That is exactly the premise behind Jughead: The Hunger, and it is so friggin' cool.
Once you get past the idea that Archie's best friend is also a bloodthirsty werewolf, The Hunger works as a solid horror tale. Just as with Afterlife with Archie, the characters are already well established thanks to decades of comics. You know them. Writer Frank Tieri doesn't have to spend much time explaining who they all are. Instead, he jumps right into the action with only a handful of nods to things like Jughead's voracious appetite or how Reggie is a total dick.
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This one-shot serves as a nice complement to Afterlife with Archie. Visually, they have a very similar style. Michael Walsh's artwork has a timeless quality to it. This could be happening in any small town in the country over the past fifty or so years. The colors seal the deal, especially with reds. That's usually due to all the bloodshed in a horror comic and there's plenty of that on display here. Walsh and Dee Cunniffe show Riverdale through a red hue whether that's at sunset or through the eyes of Jughead in mid-transformation. This gives the book a classic horror vibe that works well.
While on the subject, the transformation is one of the most unsettling I've seen in recent memory. Jughead's limbs grow longer as claws grow from his fingertips and fur sprouts out all over him. There's a great sequence where we only see his left arm over the course of four panels with his soon-to-be victim staring in fear in the background. This is a great effect and fills the mind with horrifying images as to what he might look like in full werewolf form.
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That is delivered in an impressive display by the end of the book. Walsh teases you for the majority of the comic before letting loose and showing you the full werewolf in all its glory. Before that, there's an incredible and disturbing transformation sequence presented in agonizing detail. This gives An American Werewolf in London a run for its money.
Jughead: The Hunger works werewolf lore so seamlessly into the Archie universe that you'd think it's been there since the beginning. Although this is a one-shot, I would love to see more from this world. This is an expertly crafted horror comic with a terrifying, well-paced story coupled with jaw-dropping artwork.