There have been a lot of Howling films but only the first one was great and that’s partly because the other films don’t follow the book series by Gary Brandner or the first film. This comic series picks up shortly after the film ended but the comic works as a standalone just to references to the past. Marsha the werewolf who didn’t want to hide her wild side is alive and scheming. Chris who rescued Karen only to kill her as she transformed into a werewolf on live TV to show the world the truth. Unfortunately, few people believed that Karen was a werewolf and when the police arrive she’s dead in human form which causes an investigation into what happened. Now everyone who worked at the station that night is committing suicide or doesn’t want to believe what happened leaving Chris to try find out the truth. Meanwhile Marsha is trying to track down a mythical artefact to help shifters dominate the world again which sounds a bit like the second Howling film with its mystic parts but the comics are no way near as bad. The fact that few people believed Karen’s transformation is interesting as it shapes all the choices Chris makes like getting in touch with radicals who want the truth to be known. It also makes you wonder how much people believe what happens on TV and how the authorities would act. This story is told from two points of view- Chris and Marsha’s and you can tell from their thoughts their characters so well and they are true to the original film. Chris is still nervous, trying to save everyone and thinks like a news reporter in contrast Marsha has complete confidence in herself and relishes in violence. There is a good balance between action and dialogue because let’s face it this is about werewolves so while we need a story we want to as much monsters as possible.
Now onto the art. This comic has several variants for issues one some drawing inspiration from other sources like the movie poster but they are all amazing and different to be quite honest I can’t pick a favourite. In fact the variant covers are better than the covers for the rest of the series as issues two and three have Marsha look more like she’s transforming into a werecat. The werewolves are dawn brilliantly, they are similar to the film with their signature pointed ears. The transformation into a werewolf is slightly different with Marsha seeming to have a lot more control over it which makes her more menacing. Although I would have preferred one of the characters to transform like Eddie did towards the end of the original film. The art on a whole is detailed will all characters having their own clothes, hairstyle and even mannerism although there are several panels where characters seem to have their eyes closed when walking which is a bit odd. Marsha has the same dress and necklace from the film and her facial expressions even down to her eyes show how confident and evil she is it’s chilling. It’s important to note that Marsha’s hair is red now and even though it doesn’t say why I assume it’s another way of showing she isn’t hiding herself anymore like they did in the colony. Finally the colouring in this comic is dark as it’s horror but there are multiple uses of dark pinks, reds etc. so that you can clearly see what is happening throughout the story and draw your attention to certain things.
Overall, this comic is faithful to the original film in story, characters and art. There is an intriguing plot and Marsha is definitely the star of the comic. I’m looking forward to the sequel. David Jenkins