Marvel Comics Presents #54-59 (Werewolf)
Issue(s): Marvel Comics Presents #54, Marvel Comics Presents #55, Marvel Comics Presents #56, Marvel Comics Presents #57, Marvel Comics Presents #58, Marvel Comics Presents #59 (Werewolf By Night story only)
This one opens with a nightmare sequence...
...followed by Jack Russell having locked himself in a dungeon, taking pills prescribed by Michael Morbius.
It seems his time with the Night Shift has ended, with the Werewolf having built up a tolerance to Dansen Macabre's control.
The tone of this book is pretty abstract, with almost Bill Sienkiewicz style art during the transformation sequence while Len Kaminski makes irreverent references to the moon being Jack Russell's mistress.
Jack transforms into the Werewolf...
...but the drugs he took knock the monster out, preventing him from escaping.
Meanwhile, Silver Dagger discovers a group of people murdered by werewolves.
The next day, Jack Russell goes to an occult shop to buy materials that he intends to use as a cure for his curse. He trades a patch of his werewolf fur for the items he needs. But then Silver Dagger comes into the shop to find out where Jack is living, and after the Dagger, a female biker enters the shop, and kills the shopkeeper. After seeing (and smelling) the fur, she makes a call to some others.
Jack's ritual actually turns out to be for summoning the ghost of his father, who tells him that there is no cure for his lycanthropy.
The ghost leaves, warning Jack to "beware the grandchildren". And then Silver Dagger shows up.
Jack transforms into the Werewolf. The Werewolf sees that the Silver Dagger's armor is coated with silver, so instead of attacking he flees. Silver Dagger eventually catches up with him, and they fight.
But then the Werewolf flees again.
The injured Werewolf ends up being rescued by more of his kind.
The werewolves are a biker gang that call themselves The Braineaters. The leader is the woman that we've already seen; her name is Layla. And she calls Jack "dad".
And that's because he's the one that turned them into werewolves.
(I don't remember a female biker being among the people that the Werewolf attacked in that issue, but i guess more happened off panel than we saw.)
Jack feels an urge to join the biker-wolves, but he resists it. And, interestingly, when it becomes time to transform, the Werewolf has no interest in joining the pack. He considers his offspring (so to speak) to be evil, and too human.
The werewolves fight for a while, and then Werewolf By Night leaves, and goes to sleep, and then i don't know what happens.
It seems that the idea is that Jack is fusing his mind with the Werewolf's.
We did already do this once before, right? The difference, i guess, is that this is less Jack gaining control over the Werewolf form than the two of them becoming integrated. So more "merged Hulk" than "Hulk with Banner's brain".
After that, a rematch with the Braineaters, with the Werewolf now able to talk.
And then Silver Dagger shows up again.
He's got some friends, and a lot of guns and silver bullets.
All of the other werewolves are killed, and Werewolf By Night faces off against Silver Dagger.
The Werewolf is in complete control of himself, and therefore when he bites Silver Dagger, there's no risk of passing on the lycanthropy. But Silver Dagger doesn't know that. So the Werewolf leaves Silver Dagger for his men to deal with.
This story leaves Werewolf By Night with a new status quo, and with a new mission to help those touched by the paranormal.
This is definitely a better than average story. Len Kaminski's scripting jokey style is a little overdone but it's a nice contrast to the horror theme of the book and doesn't come across as goofy. James Fry's art mixes in a little bit of Sienkiewicz with a lot of Mike Ploog, and it works well for the story. Silver Dagger, as a deranged religious man thinking he's doing good in fighting monsters, and as someone that naturally uses silver, makes a good villain. And the idea that Werewolf By Night would have left a few victims in his wake that would turn into werewolves is more realistic than what we seemed to see in the character's original series. And i like the new status quo, because it leaves Werewolf By Night with something to do instead of just being a victim dealing with his own problems and/or people coming after him.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (5): show
There's some debate over whether Kaminiski really intended the truckers to be the werewolf gang. The Marvel Appendix suggests that he might have intended the Hellrunners in Marvel Spotlight 3 or the biker gang in Monsters Unleashed 6 and got the issue wrong.
Posted by: Michael | August 3, 2015 7:27 PM
The Silver Dagger is at least consistent in being inconsistent. He was totally wrong in his Claremont-written appearance as well.
And Iron Man and Buck Cowan made their saving throws. ;-)
Yeah, i agree regarding the space between this and the Werewolf's next appearance. I can adjust if necessary but it seems like this will be fine. It's good to see that it's followed up on, though. See, this is why every Marvel Comics Presents story must be reviewed!
Posted by: fnord12 | August 3, 2015 7:31 PM
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