"Jughead: The Hunger #8" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Archie Comics
Written by Frank Tieri
Illustrated by Pat & Tim Kennedy and Joe Eisma
Inked by Bob Smith and Ryan Jampole (Pages 1-10)
Colored by Matt Herms and Andre Szymanowicz
Lettered by Jack Morelli
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on August 22nd, 2018
Jughead Jones has returned to Riverdale. He's presumably been cleared of the murders that happened recently and now he can get back to living a normal life...or at least what passes for one as a werewolf. A news crew is doing a story on the Riverdale Ripper and how Reggie and Veronica wore wolf masks to kill people. We know that's not the truth, of course, but how else can you explain what happened to the public?
Jughead: The Hunger #8 takes a look at the long history of werewolves in this town. It dates back centuries to Goody Jones, burned at the stake for being a witch and a werewolf. You'd think the Jones family would have moved away at some point if they're all werewolves and they're constantly being hunted. Everyone knows where to find them.
Anyway, writer Frank Tieri expands the lycanthrope mythos within Jughead: The Hunger. It's clear this is not just a one-off anomaly. Instead, this is something that's plagued Riverdale for generations. This is just the latest incarnation. It's something that has become ingrained in local folklore, like the Headless Horseman in Sleepy Hollow.
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This issue serves as a good jumping on point for new readers, as the newscaster gives a brief recap of what's happened to date. She misses some of the more gruesome details, as she doesn't have the full story, but you can fill in the blanks. Obviously, you should just go back and read the original issues, as they're well worth your time.
The art duties are once again split between Pat & Tim Kennedy and Joe Eisma. The changeover happens right in the middle of the book. While the artwork is solid on both halves of the issue, the styles are different, especially when it comes to the werewolves, so when you flip the page and you're presented with a whole new look, it gets a little jarring.
In this case, it happens in the midst of the recap about the Riverdale Ripper murders, where the newscaster is talking about Reggie and Veronica with their “wolf masks.” The Kennedys' masks look more like that of Lon Chaney in the original Wolfman movie while Eisma's are more modern with pointed ears and elongated snout. So this is the same exact scene with two very different styles. I'm fine with using different artists throughout a series, but I wish it wasn't split up within the same issue.
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It's tough to pick a favorite when it comes to the werewolves in Jughead: The Hunger. Goody Jones in the opening pages may take the cake with one of the most unsettling transformation sequences this side of An American Werewolf in London. What puts it over the top are the strings of flesh connecting the upper and lower pieces of the jaw, like the snout jutting out of her face, tearing it apart.
It's amazing to see how even in the light of the day, Jughead: The Hunger has such an ominous tone. There's a scene where the newscaster is out on the street reporting and the sky is burning with an intense red. Colorists Matt Herms and Andre Szymanowicz give the book an exploitation era vibe. It makes every scene feel dangerous, like no one is safe. That's saying something considering we're really just talking about werewolves in this issue. They're seen in flashbacks and references, but not physically in the same spot, yet somehow they're just as frightening.
Jughead: The Hunger gives us a moment to catch our breath, but doesn't let up on the shocking nature of this story. These beloved characters have been through Hell and while they're resting now, they are not out of the fire. This was a bit of a history lesson, but never boring or expository. Instead, it pulls you in deeper into the tragic and bloody history of Riverdale.