Werewolf By Night #13-14
Issue(s): Werewolf By Night #13, Werewolf By Night #14
To begin with, she is working for the latest ethnic stereotype of a mystic that is trying to enslave Werewolf By Night. His name is Taboo.
Taboo wants the Darkhold.
But before we go further with that, we flash back to before the Werewolf's encounter with Taboo and Topaz, when Jack's new girlfriends Clary and Sam were trying to entice him with their latest outfits, and Jack's neighbor Coker accused him of stealing his occult books.
For once, Jack is shown to be relatively responsible, going to a remote location prior to his monthly transformation. Jack is also somewhat proactive, at least thinking about looking into a cure for his lycanthropy by going to his father's country. But this time it doesn't matter, because Topaz has tracked him down...
...and, once captured, we get back to where we started this story.
Taboo also has Jack's stepfather, Phillip, prisoner, suggesting that he's in cahoots with the Committee. But his interest is the Darkhold, and he's angered to learn that the book was destroyed by the monk Aelfric. He also gets angry with Topaz when Topaz refuses to slay the Werewolf now that he's useless since the book is gone.
The origin of Taboo and Topaz starts in the Balkans, where Taboo tried to use the dark magic of the Darkhold to heal his comatose son, Algon. Taboo was driven from his castle by the local villages, led by Baron Russoff. But Taboo was forced to leave the Darkhold behind.
Taboo then fled to his native Punjab, where he was imprisoned during the war between India and Pakistan. While in prison, he met Topaz, a young girl with magic powers.
Taboo took Topaz under his wing, using her powers for his own purposes. She drew the line at killing but otherwise did what he said.
Taboo has since been trying to track the Darkhold down to complete the ritual that will restore Algon.
The Werewolf was supposed to be slaying his stepfather while all this was being discussed, but due to the subconscious memory of the promise to his mother, the Werewolf refrains from killing Phillip. Instead, in the resulting scuffle, Topaz accidentally puts Phillip's mind in the body of Algon.
Topaz is still trying to stop Taboo from killing.
But the Werewolf fights Algon...
...until morning, when he transforms back into Jack Russell. At this point Jack takes Topaz "prisoner" threatening to kill her if Taboo doesn't let him go. Since Topaz isn't exactly resisting, Taboo is forced to relent, and Jack takes Topaz and his comatose stepfather home. Topaz then kills Algon's mind, leaving Phillip's a blank slate that his mind can return to. Jack then heads back out to confront Taboo (he's attacked by the Committee again on the way). Meanwhile it turns out that Taboo's real plans involve turning his son into a sort of Midas. He's less interested in his son returning to consciousness than having him transform objects into gold for him. So in an ironic twist, Taboo is seemingly killed when a gold Buddha statue collapses under its own weight during the Werewolf's final fight with Algon.
The Werewolf then kills Algon's body, freeing Phillip's mind to return to his own body.
When this is all over, we get some answers regarding the death of Jack's mother. It turns out that Jack's stepfather Phillip did not kill her. In fact, he is the brother of Gregory Russoff, Jack's biological father. That means Phillip is both his uncle and his stepdad, and the name Russell indeed is an Americanization of Russoff, an idea that i originally suspected but then dismissed after reading Marvel Spotlight #2 which had no hint of that. Odd that Jack's mother never mentioned that fact during her deathbed confession to Jack, or that no one ever thought to tell Jack or Lissa any of this until now.
As for the money that Phillip was paying to the Committee, it was actually so that they would keep quiet about Gregory's curse.
Jack and Topaz have already become an item...
...and at the end of this issue, "one week" after the main story, Jack decides to take her with him to the Balkans, or specifically Translyvania. This is leading to a crossover with Tomb of Dracula.
Prior to all this, Jack accepts a job as a stuntman from an associate of his actor friend Clary Winter. The stuntboss's name is Brad Wrangle, because of course it is.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Tomb of Dracula #17 takes place next for Jack and Topaz (the real crossover is with issue #18, but Jack appears in #17 on the train to Transylvania).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Essential Werewolf By Night vol. 1
Inbound References (8): show
This issue is really where the Committee story goes off the rails. Taboo is suggested to have some connection with the Committee even though it's not clear how that fits into their modus operandi so far. When they next appear, it's stated that Taboo stole Phillip from the Committee and every writer from this point onward seems to have a different idea of what the Committee is about.
Posted by: Michael | January 4, 2015 6:56 PM
You have Jack appearing in Tomb of Dracula 17 as one of the guys on the train to Transylvania before this issue. If Jack's going to Transylvania, then shouldn't that issue take place after this?
Posted by: Michael | January 4, 2015 10:48 PM
Yep, thanks Michael. Moved it.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 5, 2015 12:25 AM
The splash page to #13 is supposed to be a reference to one of Will Eisner's Post-WW2 Spirit stories(Ploog used to be Eisner's assistant).
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 5, 2015 11:26 AM
Brad Wrangle sounds like the name of an '80's porn star. Just sayin'.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | June 14, 2017 7:32 PM
I'm sure readers were relieved to see Mike Ploog back, even if only for a four-issue wrap-up of his WBN time. While Tom Sutton did well on his fill-ins, I just don't associate Gil Kane with horror stories. Besides, the first impression of Topaz should have been the Yvette Mimieux-like ingenue (with nice junk in the trunk
Posted by: Brian Coffey | July 13, 2017 7:45 PM
I must say!) that Ploog delivered, as opposed to a floating-head hallucination with an ENT doctor's-eye view of her nostrils.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | July 13, 2017 7:49 PM
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