The Hunger #1 one-shot

 The Hunger #1
Story by Frank Tieri

Art by Michael Walsh
Colours by Milchael Walsh and Dee Cunniffe
Variant cover (as pictured) by Robert Hack

I make it no secret that I love the Archie horror comics, but they have the most irritatingly slow and irregular release schedules. There are months at a time in between issues and new ones are constantly being pushed back.

So when I saw a horror comic would be included with Archie comic’s release of one-shots was a really welcome announcement. Jughead: The Hunger is a both a throw back to classic werewolf movies like The Howling and a nod to Juggie’s enormous appetite.

It’s that hunger that gets the gang kicked out of an all-you-can-eat buffet. Well, more like begged to leave. But Jughead’s eating habits gross out Reggie a little bit too much and the two boys get into an argument. After they’re separated, Jughead vows that Reggie will “get his one day”.

But before it can get worse, Fred Andrews arrives and tells the kids that Miss Grundy has been killed by the Riverdale Ripper – the fourth victim.  Shaken up by the news, the kids split up to head home before dark.

On his walk, though, Jughead begins to feel ill when he is approached by Dilton. His heart begins to speed up and the next thing he knows, he wakes up that morning in his bed, covered in blood. Oh and with Dilton’s arm in his bed.

Knowing he can depend on his friend, Jughead runs to Archie for help. Though before he can admit anything, Archie says that already knows his friend’s secret when he saw the attack the night before. As they talk, they’re approached by Betty, who begins to kick the crap out of Juggie.

The bad ass Betty even pulls out a gun to end the boy when Archie stops her and demands an explanation. Betty tells him that lycanthropy runs in the Jones family, and the Coopers were always there to hunt the Jones’s that turn. Her friendship with the gang only happened because she pretended to be a peppy, lovesick teenager.

Archie discovers that there might be a way to save Jughead. The three head to the Riverdale Botanical Garden to find wolfsbane. A cheery Jughead consumes some. He immediately transforms into full-on werewolf but before he can attack his friends, he crumples to the floor – seemingly returned to human form for good.

Or is he?

Man, this one-shot was a lot of fun. The opening of the book shows poor Miss Grundy’s death. Remember in Archie vs Predator when the Predator enjoyed pull teen’s skulls and spines out of their bodies? Well, not to be shown up, we get a beheaded Miss Grundy here. It’s bloody, and it’s even a bit funny: The Hunger fits seamlessly into Archie Horror’s style. And seriously, Michael Walsh’s art in this is SO good.

Badass werewolf-hunting Betty is my favourite. Can we please get a full comic series of her as a werewolf hunter? Like Buffy, but hairier.

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