Werewolf By Night: Who is the Monstrous Marvel?

Awoo, Werewolves of Marvel

The Werewolf:Don’t want to stay here. Want to run.. to hunt… to kill…

Werewolf by Night #3

A man runs down a road. His car broke down and he needs to get home. It’s the only way he’ll be safe. His lungs burn as he races the setting sun. He finally sees his house as the sun vanishes beneath the horizon. Falling to his knees, pain wracks his body. He is too late.

The man’s muscles bulge and rip his clothes. Coarse fur sprouts from his body, and his nails become claws. His face shifts as a fang-filled snout emerges. Moans of pain become a howl. The man… no, the beast, smells prey. It hesitates only a moment as the man fights the beast. His last human thoughts lament that he must be a man by day and a Werewolf by Night.

Werewolf by Night is one of Marvel’s strangest characters. The series began as a horror story similar to Lon Chaney Jr’s The Wolf Man, but the character has evolved into a hero. So who is he? How did he become a werewolf? How can a monster become a hero? Let’s find out.

Bad Moon Rising: Werewolf By Night’s Backstory

Jack:The curse?”
Laura:To become a man-like beast, first on the night of your eighteenth year, and forevermore whenever the full moon blooms.”

Marvel Spotlight #2: Werewolf by Night

Werewolf by Night, who we’ll just call The Werewolf for conveniences’ sake, debuted in Marvel Spotlight #2 in 1972. Roy Thomas conceived the character, Stan Lee named the series, and Gregg Conway worked with Mike Ploog to publish it. They were inspired by the Comics Code Authority loosening its rules about supernatural monsters.

Jack Russell was a young man plagued by nightmares. On his eighteenth birthday, he transformed into a werewolf and ran amuck. Jack’s mother crashed her car searching for him and told Jack about his curse on her deathbed.

She had married a Translyvanian Baron, unaware that he was a warlock and werewolf. The curse is hereditary, forcing Jack to transform whenever there is a full moon. He traveled the world searching for a cure, eventually learning that it may be in a cursed spell book called The Darkhold that his father had researched

The Werewolf fought many supernatural threats and monster hunters before finding The Darkhold. There was no cure, but Jack learned that his curse came from an ancestor reading the forbidden book and dooming the bloodline to its curse. He was later bitten by a werewolf, causing the curses to merge. 

Monster Mash: Werewolf by Night’s History

Jack:How often had I almost killed a man… almost felt his life run out beneath my hands? Too often… and this time, I almost succeeded…

Werewolf by Night #2

The Werewolf resumed his search for a cure, joined by his little sister Lissa and hunter-turned-friend Buck Cowan. He fought many superheroes, including Spider-Man, Blade, and Moon Knight. Some wanted to help him, others aimed to slay him, but The Werewolf survived them all.

Most of Marvel’s monsters have taken a swing at the Werewolf by Night. He’s fought Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster many times. Morbius: the Living Vampire and Man-Thing went from enemies to allies. The Werewolf is a staple of monster-themed teams, including The Legion of Monsters and The Howling Commandos.

The Werewolf joined a new incarnation of The Midnight Sons to exterminate an outbreak of the Marvel Zombies. His wolf form was immune from infection, but Jack succumbed when he turned back into a human. The Midnight Sons forced him to remain transformed and eventually found a cure for the zombification of his human side.

A new Werewolf by Night was recently introduced. Jake Gomez is a Hopi teenager whose family has its own werewolf curse. He fights a corrupt pharmaceutical company while studying how to control his wolf form under an Indigenous hero called Red Wolf.

Hungry Like the Werewolf: Werewolf by Night’s Powers and Personality

Spider-Man:Howling Commandos? How many secret teams do you have, Nick?
The Living Mummy:Fury likes to keep his monsters hidden.
Werewolf by Night: [sighs] “We’ve been through this before, N’Kantu. The world’s not ready to face certain truths.
Spider-Man:I’m not sure I’m ready to face it.

Ultimate Spider-Man “Howling Commandos” (Season 2, Episode 22)

Jack Russell’s powers aren’t anything to write home about during daylight. He has above-average human strength. But all hell breaks loose when he transforms at night. The Werewolf is super strong, super fast, has super senses, and has a powerful healing factor.

Jack can transform into The Werewolf through willpower, retaining his humanity and gaining the ability to speak. He transforms automatically during full moons, losing all control and speech. His only weakness is silver, which nullifies his healing factor.

The Werewolf is driven by hunger and survival instincts. It can recognize when people are its friends or pack and attacks anything that threatens either. Jack was angsty until he came to terms with his curse. He spent some time as a snarky jerk who reveled in his powers until mellowing out and becoming a protector of monsters.

Jake Gomez has the same powers and weaknesses, but his transformation isn’t related to the moon. Emotions fuel his change, similar to The Hulk. Jake’s cousin, Molly, uses a calming music playlist to help him return to his human form. And no, Marvel hasn’t revealed what the playlist is, probably for copyright reasons. Tell us in the comments what song would help you turn from werewolf back to a human.

The Actors Who Play Werewolf by Night

Rob Paulson – The Super Hero Squad Show
Ross Lynch – Ultimate Spider-Man
Nolan North – Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.
Gael Garcia Bernal – Werewolf by Night

Didya Get That?

A normal man by day, and a werewolf by night.

Image: Gael García Bernal as Jack Russell in Marvel Studios’ WEREWOLF BY NIGHT || exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios.
© 2022 MARVEL.

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