"Jughead: The Hunger #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Archie Comics
Written by Frank Tieri
Illustrated by Pat & Tim Kennedy
Colored by Matt Herms
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on October 25th, 2017
When we last left Jughead Jones, he was allegedly cured of the werewolf virus by monster hunter Betty Cooper and an intrepid Archie Andrews. Then, on the way out of town, he mauled Reggie Mantle, leaving him for dead. It turns out Reggie didn’t shuffle off this mortal coil. He lived, but he’s changed. Riverdale still has a werewolf problem and its hunter is out of town tracking down the last one.
I was so happy to hear that Jughead: The Hunger was turned into a series. This first issue continues where the one-shot left off without missing a beat. Although I was bummed that Michael Walsh and Dee Cunniffe weren’t working on it, artists Pat and Tim Kennedy and colorist Matt Herms picked everything up seamlessly.
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The art style is fitting for the story, as well as the setting. It walks this fine line between quaint nostalgia and old-school horror. This is especially true with Herms’ colors. It’s like every scene takes place at night. Even the sequences during the day are heavily shadowed, as if a cloud is permanently hanging over this town.
Every single page is blood-splattered in some way. I don’t mean that there’s violence from beginning to end. There is red splattered on the page itself. This is a nice effect that only adds to the experience, like you just found this mysterious comic buried in a pile of forgotten exploitation magazines.
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Jughead’s plight is sorrowful and weary. He’s on the run, living with the circus, and chaining himself up during the full moon to try and prevent any further unnecessary deaths. He’s alone aside from his dog, Hot Dog. Here you have a man capable of turning into a ferocious beast and he looks rather pathetic in his human form, trying his hardest to avoid attention. To make matters worse, he doesn’t remember what he does when he transforms, even if he kills someone.
Of course, the key to any good werewolf story is the beast itself. I’m happy to say that the Kennedys have crafted an absolutely terrifying monster. It is massive, appearing almost double in size to an average human. Its arms are like two tree trunks covered in hair and ending in huge, sharp claws. Its jaw is full of razor-like teeth and dripping with saliva. Get ready for some nightmare fuel.
As with Afterlife with Archie, Jughead: The Hunger instantly becomes a compelling horror comic. We know these characters so well, as we’ve been reading about them for decades. Now they’re suddenly put into harrowing, life-and-death situations with literal monsters. Writer Frank Tieri has crafted a terrifying story and I cannot wait to see where it goes next.