The Small Lebowski:
Werewolf By Night #20
Issue(s): Werewolf By Night #20
Mike Friedrich left us with the idea that a werewolf could cure himself by killing another werewolf under the light of the full moon. To Raymond Coker's credit, even though he's been a bit of a dick character, we don't seem him scheming to kill Jack. And of course we're not about to see Jack cured, either, or else we won't have much of a series. So the only solution to this is mooooar werewolves, and we get another one right away, seen observing Jack and Raymond agreeing to not kill each other.
I won't keep you in suspense. We'll find out next issue that the new werewolf is police lieutenant Lou Hackett. Making him the werewolf allows Moench to wrap up his dangling investigation as well.
You'll note Hackett's mention of a ring. The ring is what allows him to transform into a werewolf. It's one of two rings, both from Joshua Kane's treasure chest. The second one was given to Geraldo Kabal (previously spelled Kabel), the executor of Kane's estate. Kabal tries to give the ring to Jack Russell's actress friend Clary Winter, but Jack hilariously grabs it for himself.
Kaval also knows Baron Thunder (!), and Jack tricks him into giving up his address.
Since the Baron has been holding Jack's sister Lissa, Jack immediately abandons Clary to Kabal and heads to Baron Thunder's estate. It isn't the next full moon yet, but Jack finds himself wishing that he could be the werewolf while retaining his intelligence, and, thanks to the ring, that's what happens.
Inside the castle, Werewolf By Night runs into Ma Mayhem again, except this time instead of an old lady she's a young hottie wearing an early rejected version of Mystique's costume.
The Werewolf also runs into Baron Thunder himself, all 350 pounds of pure granite muscle.
It also turns out that while Jack is in control of his werewolf form, he still can't talk like a person.
But he can still gut Baron Thunder...
...leaving him to die in a combination of disembowelment, fire, and machinery collapses, with Ma Mayhem (who does nothing in this issue; along with giving up her old lady mask she's apparently also lost her silver dust and whip) deciding to stay behind to die with him. Jack and Lissa leave but Jack loses the ring as they are fleeing.
The ring situation is an interesting tease, and eventually Jack will gain control of his werewolf form. This issue does feel like it's doing a bit of housecleaning by quickly getting rid of the goofy Baron Thunder and Ma Mayhem, although this isn't the end of the Committee (it ends with Jack worrying about the fact that the Committee knew that Lissa was his sister, which means they should now know his secret ID, although i kind of thought that, er, dog was already out of the bag since Phillip Russell had been making hush payments to the Committee since before this series started).
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: It's worth noting that Jack's transformation to Werewolf form this issue is not during the full moon. But we did have a full moon in Giant-Size Creatures #1, which takes place prior to this issue, and issue #21 will feature a full moon.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Essential Werewolf By Night vol. 1
Inbound References (2): showBaron Thunder, Buck Cowan, Clary Winter, Geraldo Kabal, Lissa Russell, Lou Hackett, Ma Mayhem, Raymond Coker, Werewolf By Night
Baron Thunder implies that the reason that he wanted Jack was to use his blood to strengthen the other members of the Committee, but the Committee's next appearance hints at other reasons why the Committee wanted Jack.
Posted by: Michael | January 7, 2015 9:01 PM
In addition to Doug Moench coming on board for the duration with Don Perlin, the previous issue began a six-issue run at the inkwell by Vince Colletta, one of the most prolific inkers of the Silver and Bronze Ages, and who worked on virtually every Marvel title at one time or another, most notably inking over Jack Kirby's run on Thor. However, according to Colletta's Wikipedia page, he wasn't a favorite of some of his fellow creators, and Kirby purists particularly hold him in contempt. While noted for his fast work to avoid missed deadlines, he was roundly criticized for erasing backgrounds and details from the penciler to quicken the process to get the art to press, as well as reducing his own work time. While I can't say if this was the reason for his brief time on WBN, I think it's a safe bet that Mike Ploog wouldn't have stood for his own art getting "the Colletta treatment".
Posted by: Brian Coffey | June 14, 2017 3:54 PM
With apologies to the late, great Warren Zevon: Was Lou Hackett ever spotted off duty having a pina colada at Trader Vic's? Because whether human or beast, his hair was perfect! AAAOOOOOO!
Posted by: Brian Coffey | July 14, 2017 6:17 PM
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