blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Werewolf by Night (1972) #30

Wbn30Did contemporary readers ever return their issues of Werewolf by Night, finally fed up with the false advertising on the cover? With its gorgeous Gil Kane cover, this issue promises a story entitled, Red Slash Across Midnight, and Wolfman Jack on the city’s rooftops, holding a blonde lady (so either his sister or Topaz, presumably). A blurb in the bottom right corner further promises, “A city trembles as the were-beast stalks the streets!”


Neither Wolfman Jack nor Weredemon Lissa are in any city. Instead, they spend this issue fighting the same place they spent last issue fighting, their family’s ancestral home, rebuilt in the L.A. bay by the villain in the second-ever Werewolf by Night story. Back in Marvel Spotlight. Maybe third-ever. Doesn’t matter.

The point is the cover is bullshit.

Good cover. Redundant story.

Even writer Doug Moench seems to know it’s redundant. Or, more precisely, Moench goes out of his way to contribute to the redundancy. He’s at least two, maybe three flashbacks to last issue. Because they knew people might buy this one because of that bitchin’ cover, only to be entirely lost as Jack, Topaz, and Buck roam around the castle waiting for nightfall.

Last issue ended with Jack turning from his werewolf night to find sister Lissa sleeping, having no memory of becoming a blue were-demon. Artist Don Perlin drew Lissa like she’d prematurely aged, Deadly Years-style, but this issue, she’s back to normal. Or whatever’s normal when Perlin draws it. He’s not big on visual continuity for characters’ faces between panels.

As usual, he’s best in long-shot. I’ll bet he’d have made a great storyboard artist.

But it turns out Jack took until noon to get back—sadly, we don’t go through the stone sculpture garden, which were victims of the original story’s villain’s Medusa-like power—and so he’s only got time to strong-arm Glitternight to no avail, discover Topaz’s step-father, Taboo, isn’t so much a resurrected magician as a golem, and take a nap before the full moon. He’s got a dream where he and Lissa fight as monsters, only with human heads. It’s silly looking, but then Perlin uses the visual again for Jack’s transformation. Will there be terrible werewolf transformation scenes for the rest of the series? I’m not sure I’m ready.

The issue’s a waste of time. With better plotting last issue, Moench could’ve wrapped it up to the exact same result, probably with better drama too. Or at least he would’ve avoided this issue’s redundant drama instead of leaning into it so much everything falls over.

But that cover’s swell.

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