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Archie Comics Howls at the Moon in Jughead: The Hunger

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Archie Comics Howls at the Moon in <i>Jughead: The Hunger</i>

Writer: Frank Tieri
Artist: Michael Walsh
Colorist: Michael Walsh w/ Dee Cunniffe
Letterer: Jack Morelli
Publisher: Archie Comics
Release Date: March 29, 2017

JughHungerOneShotWalsh.jpg Archie’s horror line has produced two absolute classics: zombie thriller Afterlife with Archie and historical witch drama The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Both comics have unfortunately been delayed to a terrifying degree, so it’s nice to have another Archie horror comic, even a one-shot, to fill the gap. But does Jughead: The Hunger live up to the high standard of those series?

Yup.

Writer Frank Tieri and artist Michael Walsh have come up with yet another spin on the Riverdale archetypes, but it feels like anything but an assembly-line creation. This is a suspenseful, surprising, singular take on the mythos that should pass muster with rabid Archie-holics and horror fans alike.

Based on every cover and solicit, it probably doesn’t warrant a spoiler alert to say that in this series, Jughead is a werewolf—which is logical as hell, given that his primary characteristic is hunger. The same logic motivated Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips to make Jughead analogue Freakout a junkie in the Archie-inspired Criminal arc “The Last of the Innocent.”

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Jughead: The Hunger Interior Art by Michael Walsh

The Hunger has a familiar dilemma of “nice person discovers they’re a savage beast, oh no,” but it packs a little extra punch, because it’s Jughead, the most decent person in a world of nostalgic decency. This comic is a clear attempt to tap into the magic of the perpetually postponed Afterlife in terms of content and look, but manages to be a distinctive lycanthropic tale in its own right. Frequent Marvel contributor Michael Walsh’s panel compositions are inventive and effective, particularly in showing Jughead discovering his heightened werewolf senses.

For a comic ostensibly about Jughead, another character steals the show under Tieri’s pen: Betty Cooper. In this version of the Archie-verse, let’s just say innocent little Betty is a tad more badass than you’d believe, and she has a deep, relevant history we won’t spoil.

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Jughead: The Hunger Interior Art by Michael Walsh

Jughead always meets the worst fates in these Archie horror comics, but that formula continues to work. Just like Afterlife and the bonkers Archie vs. Predator, this is an engrossing story that’s surprisingly affecting. When Archie gets weird, we all win.

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Jughead: The Hunger Variant Cover Art by Francesco Francavilla

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