Editor's Note: Dead of Night Featuring Werewolf by Night #1 arrives in stores tomorrow, January 7.
Plot: Jack Russell has a secret, one he keeps even from his wife. Every time a full moon appears in the night sky, he becomes a Werewolf, wild, savage and out of control. Now though, despite his best efforts, it seems his curse has cost him everything.
Review: My only previous experience with Jack Russell (oh, that name) has been when the character has graced the pages of Moon Knight. However, no previous knowledge of the character is needed for this mini-series. Being set in the MAX universe, Dead of Night has afforded writer Duane Swierczynski a chance to reboot the character and the concept.
I was attracted to this book based on Swierczynski's previous work on Moon Knight and Punisher as well as his crime novels, and from those projects he brings a similar tone to this series. Again, since this is a MAX book, it's allowed to go to some dark places... and it does! A lot of the Werewolf's previous mystical and supernatural elements seem to have been stripped away, a conscious effort to put this story firmly in the "real world."
The book begins with a SWAT team searching a house whose occupants have been slaughtered, the only survivor being a small baby (who I'd put money on being Jack). In a very gory sequence the team is then promptly taken out by a werewolf.
If you're going to read this book, you'd better get used to the gore. This book is drenched in it, right from the first sequence to the harrowing last page. Mico Suayan (who also did some great Moon Knight work previously) and colourist Ian Hannin cover the panels in claret. Suayan's pencils are effective throughout, conveying horror and dread in equal measure. The final sequence in this issue is a great example with Suayan really showing the raw emotion Jack is feeling (the scene reminded me a lot of Seven as you'll see).
A man haunted by his past and harbouring a dark secret are nothing new, but Swierczynski does enough with Jack Russell to make things seem fresh. Jack knows he is cursed, and he lives his life accordingly. Over several years, and with his own money, he has tried to keep himself away from people whilst in his wolf state. Part of the hook of this story comes with the notion that even this may not be enough.
Final word: A solid, gore soaked, horror from the MAX imprint. A passion for the genre shines through.
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!