There’s a killer on the loose in Riverdale! They’re calling him/her the “Riverdale Ripper.” Archie and the gang are pretty freaked out by it, until they realize that it’s their best friend who is the killer. That’s right, Jughead is a werewolf! He didn’t know he came from a lycanthropic lineage, but Betty sure did—seeing as she’s a freaking werewolf hunter! Luckily, Archie steps in before she can kill him. They look for a cure that ends up not working and, before anything worse can happen, Jughead leaves town.
Frank Tieri’s script tells the story of a side of Riverdale—and Jughead—that we’ve never seen before. Aside from Afterlife with Archie and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, we haven’t seen all too much horror in these books. That is, up until the Archie Horror imprint came about in 2015. Being the horror fiend that I am, I was more than excited when I heard of this one-shot.
The writing style lets us know that the gang is friendly enough, but things are tense, and we can tell. It starts off with the kids eating at some place other than Pop’s, so that in itself lets us know something is wrong. The dialogue between characters is really intense, and almost rude. Everyone is pretty short with each other, telling us that the entire dynamic of the friend group has been thrown off by the Riverdale Ripper.
The only thing I don’t like is how rushed the script is. I understand, because of page number limitations, but the story would benefit from a bit of fleshing out. Nonetheless, the story is linear and very well-written.
Michael Walsh’s art style really compliments the tone of the issue. It’s not realistic, the light sources look really dramatic, there is a lot of heavy shadowing, the line work is extremely angular, and the characters show a lot of emotion in their faces/body language. There is a two-page splash of Jughead as he is realizing that he is having some weird behavior and symptoms, and it looks absolutely haunting. The design for Jughead’s werewolf character is insanely eerie. Usually, we see really buff wolves in the movies and comics, but Jughead is really lanky, tall, and almost distorted. If anything, this looks even scarier than the usual muscular wolves we see. Walsh and Dee Cunniffe’s colors are realistic in some panels and unrealistic in others, for some insane dramatic effect. I mean, Jughead’s glowing orange eyes are striking.
Horror fans and Archie fans alike are going to love this one-shot. I’ve never read another Archie comic like it, and was sincerely bummed that it was just a one-shot. Archie is getting a lot bolder with its comic books and storylines, and this is no exception. For a great and horrifying read, look no further!
Written by: Fank Tieri
Illustrated by: Michael Walsh