Jughead: The Hunger #1 (Archie Comics)
The Archie Horror line has had some great series, but the one area they’ve been lacking in is consistency when it comes to release dates. As great as Afterlife with Archie and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina are, the fact that their publishing schedule is pretty lax (to put it mildly) makes for a pretty frustrating experience as a fan. With the arrival of Jughead: The Hunger, a new monthly series spun out of the one-shot released a few months ago, I’m hopeful that the Archie Horror brand, now called Árchie’s Madhouse, can get the scheduling train back on track, especially because this opening issue is pretty spectacular.
Spinning out of the events of The Hunger one shot, Jughead Jones has left Riverdale and joined up with the circus. After murdering Reggie Mantle, Jughead is believed dead, but he knows that he can’t rest easy, since his former pals Archie and recently revealed werewolf hunter Betty Cooper are hot on his trail. But when Jughead wakes up outside of his chains and finds his new friend murdered, he suddenly realizes that there may be another creature like him somewhere out in the wilderness….
Writer Frank Tieri continues the narrative set up in the previous one-shot special, but there’s enough set up in this opening issue that it’s not completely necessary to have read that issue before this one. Tieri adds a great amount of character work and dread to this script, and like all great modern Archie comics, mixes in enough retro-stylings with modern day elements to make this comic feel unique. An added bonus, Tieri doesn’t have the same commitments that Afterlife with Archie and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has, so there’s a good chance that The Hunger won’t face nearly as many delays as those other series.
Francesco Francavilla and Robert Hack have made a name for themselves on the Archie Horror line, and while you won’t see their work on the interior pages of this series, the duo of Pat and Tim Kennedy more than make up for it. The Kennedy’s art is a nice mix of the styles of Francavilla and Hack, and fits perfectly with the visual style set in place from those artists’ respective books. While some of their figure work looks a little rushed at times, Pat and Tim Kennedy make up for it with some truly brutal artwork and fantastic werewolf designs.
Jughead: The Hunger is a great book for not only fans of the other Archie Horror books, but horror comics in general as well. Like the other books in this imprint, Jughead: The Hunger works because it’s a solid werewolf story that just so happens to feature Archie characters, not an Archie story that has a werewolf creature in just because. It’s the perfect comic for the Halloween season.