Werewolf by Night (1972) #21

Werewolf by Night  21

Initially, this issue feels like newish writer Doug Moench taking Werewolf out and kicking its tires. He brings back Buck Cowan—who hasn’t been around since he was low-key living with seventeen-year-old Lissa Russell—as Jack’s best friend but only for a couple panels. There’s a lengthy flashback to the destruction of the Darkhold, sadly without the Russell family werewolf curse being Satanic in nature. There’s retconning about Joshua Kane; there’s the neighbor werewolf, Raymond Coker.

Moench—just like previous writer Gary Friedrich—doesn’t write Jack as racist to Black guy Coker, which just draws attention to how much writer-before-Friedrich Marv Wolfman did write Jack as a shitty racist bro.

This issue also finally resolves recurring supporting cast member Lou Hackett’s story arc. Hackett’s the cop investigating the werewolf sightings going on since Marvel started publishing Werewolf by Night, and he’s getting close to figuring out Jack’s deal. Jack living next door to another werewolf has complicated things a little, but not too much.

Then it turns out Hackett’s got some secrets of his own, but before Jack and Raymond can discover them, it’s a full moon.

Only this month, the two brother wolves have a third out to get them. The comic then becomes a fighting chase sequence across the Los Angeles rooftops. Or what penciller Don Perlin thinks are the Los Angeles rooftops; Perlin draws the city like it’s a movie backlot, so there’s no personality to the skyline.

But Moench’s good at writing Wolfman Jack’s narration, and the story’s compelling. Jack and Raymond found out last issue in order to cure lycanthropy, a werewolf needs to kill another werewolf. Good thing there’s a third werewolf out to get them.

Hopefully, their team-up is powerful enough (and fast enough to keep ahead of the cops).

It’s an action issue with a lumpy start and better than I thought possible for Werewolf these days. Perlin and inker Vince Colletta eventually are just drawing three werewolves fighting; one’s brown, one’s blue (supposed to be black), one’s blond. If you can deal with Perlin werewolf, you can deal with three.

Based on where he leaves things, Moench seems to get Werewolf better than previously implied.

I’m finally curious about how this book develops again.

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