Werewolf by Night (1972) #9

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For a while, I thought artist Tom Sutton would be Werewolf by Night’s return to art form. Or at least getting closer to it than it’s been since they started putting consecutively worse inkers on Mike Ploog, then lost Ploog altogether. Sutton’s probably the most successful since then, but he’s not good.

The first sequence has Wolfman Jack running through rainy Los Angeles while some scary-looking guy in a scarecrow outfit chases him in the sewer, eventually attacking. The werewolf holds his own until a supersonic dog whistle paralyzes him, letting the scarecrow guy escape, with the werewolf passing out in public. Jack wakes up in the morning in the LAPD drunk tank, with detective Lou Hackett waiting to question him.

There was also a Len and Glynis Wein cameo, which is cute, but probably shouldn’t be one of Sutton’s most successful “people” panels. Because while Sutton’s better than most at the werewolf and his sewer-dwelling, scary-looking foe… the people are the pits. And they get worse as the story progresses. Then it turns out the sewer-dwelling grotesques are just ugly people who were experiencing homelessness and then hypnotized by some guy with a pied piper pipe… it’s rather dehumanizing and icky.

Pied piper guy is named Sarnak. He works for the Committee. And he wants to brainwash the werewolf into helping them attack Century City, but it’s all actually a ruse to kidnap Lissa Russell (in addition to Jack, in werewolf form). Sarnak sent his bad guys to get Jack from step-dad Phillip’s place, where Lissa was asleep—before the full moon rose, they go to bed early in the Russell household—and the bad guys didn’t go to get her.

There’s a line in Jack’s narration about Lissa’s presence being inexplicable, but go with it, so there may be no explanation next issue in the resolve.

The rainy street scene’s really good. The bad guys fighting the werewolf in the Russell house is good. The rest is pretty blah.

We do get Hackett trying to strong-arm Russell into giving him some answers about the werewolf, but Hackett calls Phillip, who shows up and takes Jack home. Not sure why they didn’t keep questioning him. But then Jack and Phillip get to argue for the first time in almost ten issues (I don’t know if they’ve had a scene together in Werewolf by Night proper). And Jack and Lissa get to briefly talk about the werewolf curse.

She’s seemingly unworried about coming down with it herself.

Gerry Conway’s script is okay. The people talking stuff might work if Sutton didn’t draw the people poorly.

It’s good they’re finally getting to the Russell family drama stuff, but it’s been about a year since the series started putting it off. So hopefully, they’ve got something good planned for next issue’s resolution. But I’m also not holding my breath.

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