REVIEW: Jughead The Hunger #1

Lions, werewolves and entrails. Oh my!

Reggie Mantle is dead, and Jughead has fled Riverdale with a lot of blood on his hands. After learning he’s the descendant of a werewolf lineage that can be traced back through history, he decided things couldn’t get much worse for him. So like every cliche in the book, the goofy teen runs away to the circus, assuming a painfully bad alias and trying to keep his head down. But there’s a pretty girl who takes an interest, and a former friend hot on his trail interested in taking his head. Jughead is in real trouble, and it can only get worse from where here on out.

Especially when someone he attacks survives back home, leaving Riverdale in for a dark surprise.

Have no fear — Archie, Betty and Veronica all make their appearances throughout. If you’re anything like me, you may be a bit surprised at their roles in this unfolding drama, and pleased with them all the same. I had nearly non-existent hopes for this story, and I’m happy that I was wrong.

It’s no surprise it’s a well-written story. Frank Tieri (Harley Quinn, Wolverine and much more!) is a skilled weaver of tales. While staying true to the underlying humor of the Archie comics, as much as one can be when bodies are dropping, Tieri opens cold with a seriousness that instantly tells you this comic will be no laughing matter. He doesn’t miss a beat, creating strong and capable characters that do not fall into a pattern of expectations, and that propel the story further with their banter. He even gives a nod at the end to an old fable, which for some reason, made me ridiculously happy. I found the origins of both the hunted and the hunter to be interesting, a play on a normally very different type of relationship. Those specific characters add a whole other layer of drama and suspense to the twisted events. Paired with art duo Pat and Tim Kennedy, JUGHEAD THE HUNGER is definitely a book anyone interested in nostalgic horror should pick up. The lines are sharp and detailed, giving an older comic vibe in the rendering of character’s faces. The panels moved a little choppy for me, almost a little stiff in movement, but nonetheless, they went well together and were expressive. There was no extraneous details that proved to be distracting from the story, and as a whole, the work was solid.

Join Jughead on his dark path, and find out what comes next for our friend. There’s chains and mysterious cousins that can kick your butt; who wants to miss out on that?!

(W) Frank Tieri (A) Pat Kennedy, Tim Kennedy (CA) Francesco Francavilla

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