Werewolf by Night is the return of a classic monster hero from Marvel Comics, and it’s co-written by the Black Eyed Peas singer Taboo. Along with writer Benjamin Jackendoff and artist Scot Eaton, the new series has the full support of Marvel and then some with its own trailer and segment at Comic-Con@Home. Taboo said his love of Clive Barker movies is something he’s trying to channel in the series and he wants to “do it at a level that wasn’t over the top…but keeping it PG.” Do they achieve that? In this spoiler-free review, I take a look.
Set in Arizona, the story opens with some jerks terrorizing rabbits when the titular Werewolf of this series shows up. The book feels political in nature, referring to Native people as “redskins” as well as focusing the story on the border. In that regard, the book has a strong message about the ignorance around us while also depicting Native people in a respectful way. The main character, Jake, is a Native who also is the Werewolf in the book. He’s not a ravenous monster, but wants to protect his people and their way of life. You can see that in how he’s depicted with his girlfriend and her grandmother.
It’s also a solid monster story. Since this is a werewolf who can change as long as it’s nighttime, much of the book takes place at night. Jake is trying to keep his people safe and does patrols to keep the peace while in the day he collects information. It gives him a Batman-like hero’s perspective. There are no frills when it comes to Jake as a werewolf — he’s your standard, hirsute werewolf with a wolf face. The simplicity keeps the character grounded.
There’s more to this being a werewolf protector story, though I’ll say no more to avoid spoilers — just know the last page amps things up for a superhero comic. Scot Eaton does a good enough job with the characters and surroundings. It’s a stable style that keeps things grounded, but never gets too flashy. In a key scene showing off Jake’s enhanced abilities even when not in werewolf mode, Eaton captures the abilities well with close-ups. Again, it’s not hyper-detailed, but gets the job done. Since much of the book takes place during the day, a natural look to the people is in order, and it works.
When it comes to Taboo’s quote that started this review, it’s quite clear this is a werewolf book that leans into the PG rating. For better or worse, the book lacks a certain edginess one might expect with a monster narrative. For that reason, a younger set of readers in their teens might gravitate towards this work more than a fan of true horror or gory violence. At its core, this is a grounded portrayal of a man with powers whose culture matters more to the narrative than horror or even action themes.
Werewolf by Night #1 is a solid first issue for fans of a heroic monster who truly is good and pure. It’s a wholesome werewolf story that borders on delivering important political themes, especially in America today. For that, it’s a worthy read.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!