blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Werewolf by Night (1972) #28

Wbn28I’ve been wondering why Werewolf never does an issue in-between Jack’s werewolf nights—so, you know, the majority of his life—and Doug Moench “delivers” here, complete with entirely unsuitable hard-boiled narration for surfer bro Jack. After last issue’s second-night cliffhanger, they all had an uneventful third night. Then they didn’t talk for a week, just moped around, presumably because neither Jack nor Buck wanted to console Topaz, whose soul is in peril.

But then Lissa shows up just before her birthday. And then Dr. Glitternight comes back to threaten Topaz; she’s got two weeks to deliver her father, even though he died back in issue #14 or something. Two weeks is also how long Lissa has before she too becomes a werewolf. Moench vaguely touches on their curse being something to do with Dad being a warlock (at one point, Satan hisself had damned the Russell family to Larry Talboting for eternity).

So they all decide to head out to the family island, where they can turn into werewolves in peace, something no one’s thought of doing in twenty-nine issues of the comic. For a brief moment, it seems like artist Don Perlin might be able to do the “dark and stormy night” castle stuff.

He cannot. I’ve been going soft on Perlin as of late, complimenting his thumbnail long shots, which I’d have been proud to draw as a tween. But, holy shit, his art is terrible this issue. So bad editor Len Wein should’ve apologized.

The castle and its reveals end up being even worse than the lousy soap opera first half of the comic. Perlin’s got lots to draw, and he’s terrible at all of it. Well, the thumbnails, I guess. But the rest? Atrocious.

And sister Lissa’s much-ballyhooed eighteenth birthday? Eh. The werewolf transformation isn’t a cop-out, but the utter lack of character development disappoints. The comic’s been promising this occasion since the first issue or maybe even Marvel Spotlight. Moench whiffs it.

Nowhere near as bad as the art, but still. He’s had the time to plot it, and he didn’t.

Werewolf barely reads like a professional comic; everything comes off silly and amateurish. This poor book. Curse of the Werewolf, indeed.

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