August 14, 2010

Ye Olde School Cafe’: Essential Werewolf By Night vol. 1 pt. 2

Welcome back boils and…oh, wait a minute, that’s Decapitated Dan’s line. Hello everyone, and welcome back to another eerie edition of Marvel Horror here in Ye Olde School Cafe’! Last week, I talked about Marvel Spotlight #2, which is the first appearance of Jack Russell, A.K.A. Werewolf by Night. This week I’ll expand more on his family curse, and his lineage, along with Marvel Spotlight #3 (The Thing in the Cellar) & 4 (The Isle of the Doomed) highlights.

When we left off last week, Jack had turned eighteen, and his family curse manifested itself. He changed into a werewolf, but at first didn’t understand it. He thought maybe it was just a dream. He soon found out how wrong that assumption was, though. One night, his transformation inadvertently caused his mother to crash her car and end up badly injured. As she lay in a hospital bed, she told Jack of the family curse. It all made sense now, and then Jack turned his animal aggression towards the family chauffeur, and killed him. Jack also believed his step-father was involved with his mother’s accident, so he is keeping an eye on him as well.

At this point, Jack is wandering around aimlessly and just trying to control his animal urges. Meanwhile, his sister is driving around Malibu trying to find him. Suddenly, she realizes a biker gang is following her and tries to speed up to get away. She creates a small distance from the bikers, but not enough to get away. The leader of the gang comes crashing right at her and wrecks his bike. He says how Lissa is gonna pay for ruining his bike. Before the gang can exact their revenge on her though, they hear a snarling beast just above, that comes leaping down on them. He starts to tear into the bikers, but they make a hasty exit when the cops start to draw near. Jack snarls at his sister, but then retreats to the woods when a cop sees him. The cop gets a shot off that hits Jack right in the leg and staggers him momentarily.

When Jack’s step-father arrives, he’s still in the woods nearby and sees a man that is friends with his step-father talking to the police. The man hears a low snarl from the woods and sees Jack hiding. The man doesn’t say a word though, and Jack decides to make his way through the forest. He wakes up the next morning and is confronted by this strange man. The man tells Jack that he should come with him, and he will explain everything when they get to their destination. The man says his name is Nathan Timly, and he drives Jack to his home. Once there, Nathan’s wife wants to talk to Jack about a certain book his father possessed. Jack denies knowing what she is talking about, but the woman doesn’t believe him and pimp slaps him. Jack then passes out from the blood loss from the gunshot wound. The woman then chains Jack up in her basement.

When Jack wakes up, he sees a disfigured man who wants to know about this book that might help him get back his hand (the man’s hand is apparently missing, but has been replaced with a metal prosthetic). The man says his name is Kraig, and he wants answers. Jack tells him nothing though, and he tries to beat him down. Nathan and his wife stop Kraig and tell him to leave the boy alone. Later that night, Nathan comes into the dungeon to give Jack some food, but finds a beast there instead! The werewolf tries to kill Nathan, but Kraig stops him. After a brief fight, Jack tries to rip his chains from the wall but cannot.

The next day, Agatha’s interrogation of Jack continues. Jack tells her all he knows about his father, but that he has no knowledge of the book of spells. She doesn’t believe him and has Kraig rough him up. During the beating, Nathan tries to stop Kraig from beating Jack, but then Kraig smashes Nathan’s skull with one smack from his metallic paw. While all this commotion is going on, Jack manages to sneak away. Once he’s inside an out building, he begins his transformation. Agatha then senses Jack’s mind nearby (mild telepathic ability) and tells Kraig to stop him. The two combatants go at it tooth and nail, until a storm starts and a bolt of lightning streaks out of the sky. The bolt strikes Kraig’s metal hand and incinerates him. Jack, half conscious from the fight, can see Agatha in the distance. She appears like a silhouette against the moon, and then disappears into the night. Jack then has a dream of Agatha in her home trying to convene with some evil presence. She fails and is then burned alive when a candle falls against the drapes and engulfs the entire home.

Waking up the day after one of his nightmarish evenings is always problematic for Jack. He’s usually very disoriented, and sometimes has no idea where he is. That isn’t the case today, though, because Jack actually made it home after his fierce battle from the evening before. He is, however, startled by a noise and goes to investigate. He sees a man creeping around the outside of his family residence and jumps him. The man says his name is Buck Cowan, and he is doing a story on the occult. He tells Jack that he found out about the Darkhold and his father’s castle while doing research. Cowan tells Jack that his step-father is selling his birth father’s castle, but Jack wants some more answers and Cowan wants a story, so they agree to help one another. The original plan was for Cowan to act as a sailor working at the docks, and he needed to move Phillip Russell’s boat. He and Jack then would sneak off to the island without anyone knowing. Jack’s step-father wants to go with Cowan when he says he needs to move the boat, so this ruins that plan. Cowan then pretends to become ill, and Jack takes the boat out on his own.

Jack ends up in a terrible storm on his way to the island, and gets knocked out when he hits his head. He is awakened by some pirate looking guy who demands to know what Jack is doing near this island. Jack tells him nothing, and then the man takes Jack aboard his small boat and sinks Jack’s step-father’s boat. Once they dock, Jack is greeted by a shadowy figure who calls himself Miles Blackgar. He and his daughter Marlene tell Jack that they run an institution on the island. Just as they are speaking, a man tries to escape and tells Blackgar that he won’t change him like he did to the others. Blackgar’s henchman knocks the guy out cold, though. Jack then is instructed to stay with Marlene for the time being. He questions her about what really goes on around there, but she is reluctant to talk about it. He tells her about an old castle that used to be on this island and about a book he is seeking. She tells him that there is an old library over the operating room. Just at that moment, Blackgar busts in and tells Marlene she is needed for surgery. Jack questions why surgery is needed in an institution, but his host will only say that he has unorthodox methods.

Jack makes his way to the library and finds what he is looking for. The book is sitting on the table, opened up as if someone had been reading it recently. Jack tries to pick it up, but notices his hands are becoming like that of an animal. He quickly changes into the werewolf and starts to tear the place apart. Eventually, Jack makes his way downstairs and finds something that stuns him. A room full of these poor souls that  Blackgar has been experimenting on. Most of them resemble zombies, or worse. They start to riot when they see the door open, but Blackgar’s thug opens fire on them. Jack in turn lunges at him, disarming him in the process. Jack fights him for a minute or so, but then tosses him in the pit with the zombies. Needless to say, the zombies take care of their tormentor.

After making his way to Blackgar’s study, Jack finds him there and suddenly feels a rousing hatred for him. The two struggle briefly, but then Jack tosses his carcass out of the window to his death. Jack then spins around to see Marlene grinning happily at Balckgar’s death. She talks to Jack, and he seems to have no choice but to listen. She tells him that she wanted him dead and he needs to come with her now. As she grabs his hand, Jack slashes at her, knocking her to the ground. She tells Jack that he’ll pay for that, and then she reveals that she is some kind of mutant and unleashes her power on him. She has the ability to turn people to stone a la Medusa. She does just that, and leaves Jack paralyzed in his werewolf form.

Well, that’s it for Marvel Spotlight 3 & 4. At this point, Werewolf by Night received its own title and wouldn’t look back for a few years. Next week we’ll take a look at the first few arcs of the ongoing title and some of the resemblances of the stories with pop culture, and also a few things that separated this title from the other horror books of that time. See you next week!

Billy Dunleavy



  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Aron White and billy dunleavy, billy dunleavy. billy dunleavy said: Any Old School Horro fans out there? Werewolf by Night pt 2 […]

  2. Nothin’ like the classics!

  3. Billy

    @Speech- Absolutely. In my humble opinion, nothing will ever match the 70s run of horror.

  4. Aron

    I’m lovin’ this! Did I mention I need to get this Essential? The black and white presentation is just awesome and you get like 40-50 comics in ’em. Hellsyes! I’ll be right back here next week! Awwwwooooooooooooooooooooooo!

  5. Billy

    @Aron- Don’t hesitate! lol

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