The Howling: Revenge of the Werewolf Queen continues to be the follow-up that fans have wanted to see for decades. As much as the film is hailed as a modern classic, it spawned a franchise that never actually gave us a direct sequel. But Joe Dante’s first feature in that saga left a lot of unanswered questions. What happened to the Colony? How did it form and where did those werewolves originally come from? How did Los Angeles react to a woman turning into a werewolf and being killed on camera? What about the people in the studio who saw it firsthand? This comic is doing its best to answer all of those questions and more, and I definitely commend it for that.
At the same time, it’s crafting a story all its own, and that much becomes clear in this second issue. There’s a bigger endgame here than simply the revenge that the title suggests. Marsha Quist does not simply want to take out the people responsible for destroying the Colony and attempting to reveal the existence of werewolves to the world at large, she—mild spoilers—wants to take the world back.
It’s a bigger endgame than expected from the first issue and even the first film, but it makes sense. When you watch that movie, Marsha is going on and on about how much she doesn’t agree with what Doc’s attempting to do with The Colony. She doesn’t think it’s fair to hide in the shadows and suppress their natural instincts. Doc is constantly holding her back from taking control, but there’s always that slight spark of revolution in her eyes. The power shift from Doc to Marsha is all too brief in the film, which is the main reason to be so excited for the way this book is going.
The best thing writer Micky Neilson has done with The Howling is simply recognizing the amazing potential that Marsha had as a villain. She stole every scene, she was a smooth, seductive kind of evil—more in line with Christopher Lee’s Dracula than, say, Natasha Henstridge in Species. She had clear motivation, had an agenda, and most importantly survived the events of the film.
This comic is a playground for Marsha to run rampant as a cruel and powerful villainess and I’m honestly loving every moment of it. She’s on a mission, causing mayhem throughout Los Angeles, and even though her goal is ultimately revenge, it’s easy to see that she’s at least a little relieved to be free of the shackles of The Colony.
Marsha causes a lot of mayhem in the second issue, most of it while only half-transformed, which is a neat touch. The comic gives us just enough werewolf action to remind us that this is, in fact, The Howling. But it doesn’t overdo it. It leaves the reader wanting more, which is key. When the werewolves do appear in full, they’re very true to the film, as is just about everything in this series so far. Artist Jacob Johnson isn’t simply going for screen accurate likenesses in every panel, he’s trying to convey the characters and succeeds at that. Marsha is Marsha, with her own unique look, but you can still see Elisabeth Brooks in there as well.
Licensed comics tend to be a bit of a mixed bag, but we’ve been hitting a very encouraging resurgence lately. Between Howling, Evil Dead 2, Puppet Master, Lost Boys and Hellraiser Anthology, it’s a fantastic damn time to be a fan of both comics and horror movies. Howling: Revenge of the Werewolf Queen only has two issues left, so I’d catch up with the first two issues before the miniseries starts wrapping up. Believe me, they’re worth it.
WICKED RATING: 8/10