Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Review: JUGHEAD: The Hunger #1

ARCHIE COMICS – @ArchieComics @ArchieHorror

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

STORY: Frank Tieri
PENCILS: Pat and Tim Kennedy
INKS: Bob Smith and Jim Amash
COLORS: Matt Herms
LETTERS: Jack Morelli
COVER: Francesco Francavilla
VARIANT COVER: Robert Hack; Michael Walsh
28pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (December 2017)

Rated Teen+ for Violence and Mature Content

“Run Like the Wolf” Part One

Over the past four years, Archie Comics has gone about modernizing its characters and comic books in terms of stories, characters, and plots, as well as in visuals and graphics.  This is a publishing initiative that can be called the “new look Archie.”

The first phase of the new Archie Comics was the  the “Archie Horror” line, in which Archie Comics characters were re-imagined in a darker world, filled with the supernatural – from forbidden magic to bloodthirsty creatures.  Writer Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa and artist Francesco Francavilla took Archie Comics to the dark side in Afterlife with Archie, placing Archie and his pals in the middle of a “zombie apocalypse.”

Earlier this year, Jughead Jones went to the dark and hungry side in Jughead: The Hunger, a one-shot comic book that revealed that classic pal of Archie Andrews, Jughead Jones, was descended from a line of werewolves.  He started killing, and Betty Cooper, one of Archie's girlfriends and a werewolf hunter, started hunting him.  Archie and Betty could not save Jughead, and he skipped town after killing Reggie Mantle.

Jughead: The Hunter is now an ongoing series.  It is written by Frank Tieri; drawn by Pat & Tim Kennedy (pencils) and Bob Smith and Jim Amash (inks); colored by Matt Herms; and lettered by Jack Morelli.

Jughead: The Hunger #1 opens three week earlier at Riverdale Hospital where Reggie Mantle is declared dead... or not.  Moving forward, Jughead has run away and joined the circus.  He has found some sense of peace, although the circus' animals avoid him.  Meanwhile, Betty and Archie continue to follow Jughead's trail, but someone new is about to join their little hunt.

I think the original Jughead: The Hunger was published at a time when I was too busy to track the coming and goings of one-shot comic books.  However, because I really love Afterlife with Archie and also the second “Archie Horror” title, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, I was determined to get a copy of Jughead: The Hunger #1, and it is worth the effort and the decision to continue it as an ongoing series.

“Archie Horror” titles are steeped in the tradition of the best American horror comic books, from EC Comics and Warren Publications to DC Comics “Bronze and Copper Ages” titles and its Vertigo imprint.  Sometimes, it is in the tone of the narrative; other times “Archie Horror” comic books capture the spirit of classic horror comic books.  Jughead: The Hunger #1 has it all, and it is also an engaging supernatural teen soap opera, presenting scares and scary teens.

Of course, we are early in this series, but I see teen melodrama playing a big part in Jughead: The Hunger, probably as much as the monster side of the story.  Matt Herms' gorgeous colors capture and heighten all this story's moods – from the intensity of the emergency room to the loneliness of Jughead's secretive circus life.  Jack Morelli's clean lettering fits in like a perfect storyteller, knowing that it is all about the story.

I must say that I am surprised.  I did not expect Jughead: The Hunger #1 to grab me as the earlier “Archie Horror” comics had.  I ask myself, “Are these horror titles really as good as I think they are?”  Find out for yourself, dear readers.

8.5 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2017 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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