Jughead: The Hunger
Released by: Archie Comics
Released on: March 29th, 2017.
Written by: Frank Tieri
Illustrated by: Michael Walsh
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Miss Grundy runs through the empty streets of Riverdale at night. She’s clearly terrified, but it looks like she’s made it away from the Riverdale Ripper after all – until someone or something comes up behind her and cuts her head off.
The next day at a restaurant called Silver Stables All You Can Eat Buffet, Jughead prepares to feast on burgers, as Jughead is wont to do. The cook looks on, horrified, and offers to pay Jughead and his pals to leave and never come back. Jughead finishes up and he leaves with Archie, Reggie, Betty and Veronica in tow. When Reggie calls Jughead disgusting they get into a bit of a scrap but Archie breaks it up and the guys cool down, but Jughead swears that one day Reggie will get what’s coming to him.
Shortly after they run into Archie’s dad who tells the kids what happened to Miss Grundy the night before. The Riverdale Ripper has struck again. Since it’s starting to get dark, Mr. Andrews insists that the kids all head home for the night. On the way home, Jughead is approached by Dilton – he was able to smell him before he could see him. He’s starting to feel strange, was it something he ate? Dilton asks him if he’s okay, but Jughead isn’t sure how to answer. He can smell Midge’s perfume blocks away and her Moose hitting a baseball at the park. As Dilton goes on and on about whatever it is that he’s going on and on about, Jughead just wants him to shut up. When he doesn’t, Jughead’s arms get longer and harrier and his nails turn into claws…
The next morning Hot Dog wakes Jughead up, licking away at him. When he wakes up, he realizes he’s covered in blood. He can’t remember things at first but once he comes across what’s left of Dilton’s corpse he realizes that he must be the Riverdale Ripper. Unsure what to do, Jughead heads over to his best pal’s place and finds Archie waiting on the steps for him. Turns out that Archie actually saw Jughead transform and kill Dilton last night. Betty shows up and Jughead asks for a bit of time to talk to Archie, but she beats the crap out of him and pulls a gun on him. Before she can pull the trigger Archie gets in between them. With cooler heads now prevailing, Betty tells Archie what she knows, how lycanthrophy has run in the Jones family for centuries and how for just as long the Coopers have been around to take them out when they turn.
It’s Betty’s job to kill Jughead, she has to do it, but Archie, being Archie and all, comes up with another plan…
Another solid entry in the Archie Horror comics line, Jughead: The Hunger is a pretty fun read. Like most of the Archie Comics horror titles, it’s a dark and twisted tale that isn’t afraid to offer up some quality carnage and a good bit of gore. What makes it interesting more than that, however, is the characters. Tieri does a great job bringing the classic Archie aesthetic into the night time hours and he has a great handle on how to write Jughead and the rest with a sense of humor, but at the same time is careful enough to not overdo that or take us out of the moment. This is complimented really nicely by Michael Walsh’s atmospheric artwork. The coloring work, by Walsh and Dee Cunniffe, helps out here too, lots of reds and dark purple and heavy blues are used to keep things mysterious and shadowy looking. The characters are nicely detailed and the werewolf transformation sequences nicely rendered as well.
If you’ve enjoyed what Archie Comics has been doing with the Afterlife With Archie and Sabrina runs, don’t let this one pass you by. It works on the same level and hits the same dizzying heights of quality.