Werewolf by Night (Marvel)
Real Name: Jacob (Russoff) Russell
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As a werewolf, Jack Russell possesses super-human strength, agility, reflexes, stamina, and senses -- all derived from his partly wolflike supernatural form. He can spring from a crouch about 18 feet straight into the air. His reflexes are about twice as fast as human. He can run at a peak speed of 35 miles per hour for up to a half hour before tiring. Russell can also use his strength at peak levels for about a half hour before his ability level becomes impaired. His senses of sight, smell, and hearing are as acute as a wolf's. He can see into the infrared portion of the spectrum, allowing him to see the heat emissions of objects or people in total darkness. He can smell the approach of other organisms within 100 feet of himself and trail the spoor of his quarry across almost any terrain. His hearing is sensitive enough to detect the sound of a heartbeat in a cave at a distance of 30 feet.
The Werewolf's claws and teeth are particularly sharp and tough, enabling him to rend through a variety of substances, such as fabric, wood, even soft metals and cinderblock.
Except during the three nights of the full moon, Russell retains his full human intellect as a werewolf. He is also capable of speech during the same period, although speaking is difficult, painful and often hard to understand. Russell effects his transformation into a werewolf through a conscious act of will, usually by meditating upon the mental image of the full moon. Due to Malus’s treatments, the Werewolf has a more wolf like form during nights of the full moon, with a longer snout and ears, a curved spine, and lupine jointed legs. Russell retains his original werewolf form when he transforms at other times.
As a supernatural creature, the Werewolf is immune to conventional injury: penetration wounds, exposure, burning, drowning and suffocation, electrocution, etc. Such phenomena as these can cause him physical injury depending on its severity. However, his recovery rate is over ten times that of a human being. When Russell transforms back to his human form he loses the mystical immunity and recuperative power.
The metal silver is necessary to weaken or kill a werewolf, due to its mystical properties of “purity,” which are anathema to many supernatural creatures such as werewolves and vampires. If a werewolf is shot or stabbed and mortally wounded by a sliver bullet or blade, he or she will die within minutes.
Jack Russell was the elder of two children sired by Gregory Russoff, a Transylvanian baron and scholar, who was turned into a werewolf when Jack was still a small child. Russoff's ancestor Grigori first brought the supernatural curse of lycanthropy upon the family when in 1795 he tried to rescue his wife Louisa from the clutches of the vampire-king Vlad Dracula and was bitten by a female werewolf. Because his children were born before he was so afflicted, Grigori Russoff's offspring and the succeeding generations were spared the agony of turning into werewolves themselves. The curse, however, was mystically transmitted to Russoff's descendants, awaiting a super-natural catalyst to trigger it. In the mid-1950s such a catalyst was found when Baron Gregory Russoff, the great grandson of the first Russoff to become afflicted, acquired a copy of the Darkhold, the tome of evil mystical knowledge originally scribed by the ancient demon Chthon. Among the many secrets of occult lore contained in the fragment, Russoff acquired the origin of lycanthropy. The act of reading the passage on werewolves supernaturally triggered the dormant curse in Russoff’s ancestry, and transformed him into a werewolf. For several months, Russoff transformed on the three nights of the full moon and rampaged through the countryside, even taking lives a number of times. Russoff sent this wife Laura to her native America with the children to safeguard them. Russoff was eventually stalked and killed by a mob of townspeople.
When Laura Russoff learned of her husband’s death, she remarried to give her children a father. The man she married coincidentally was named Russell, the Americanized version of her first husband’s name. Jack Russell and his sister Lissa were raised in Los Angeles. When Jack reached the age of 18, he became afflicted with his father’s curse, and began to turn into a werewolf on the three nights of the full moon. For about two years, Russell ran rampant through the Los Angeles environs with the mind of a savage beast on the nights of the full moon whenever he did not take strong enough precautions to prevent himself from escaping confinement. Miraculously, in that time he never took a human life, although a number of the persons he encountered have been permanently scarred or crippled. As a werewolf, Russell encountered such bizarre persons as the Moon Knight, the Hangman, Sarnak, Dr. Glitternight, the Hunchback, Tigra, and Deprayve.
Finally, the mystical extra dimensional beings known only as “The Three Who are All” granted Russell the ability to transform himself at will into the werewolf regardless of the time of month, while retaining his human intellect. With this ability, Russell embarked upon a career as an occasional crime fighter, once encountering Iron Man in New York. He still had one major limitation, however: on the nights of the full moon, his human mind still regresses to that of a savage beast. To avoid tarnishing his already shaky reputation, Russell designed a virtually escape-proof cell for himself for the three nights of the full moon.
Some time later, Russell contacted Dr. Karl Maius, a Los Angeles-based medical researcher, in hope that the eccentric scientist might find a way for him to retain control over himself on the nights of the full moon. Unknown to Russell, Maius was criminally inclined, and instead of helping him, hooked Russell to an experimental machine to subvert his will. With the aid of the original Spider-Woman, Russell escaped Maius’s clutches and put the scientist behind bars. A month later, Russell found that Maius’s treatments had hidden side effects. Months afterwards, Russell again lost control over his transformations and even began metamorphosizing into a more wolflike state, with longer ears and snout, a curved spine, and lupine jointed legs. Shortly after that, a devil worshipping cult led by a man named Schuyler Belial became interested in capturing Jack Russell to use him in a ceremony to bring the world under “Satan’s” rule. The cult hoped to kill Russell in a ritual sacrifice, and then inject his blood into their own veins in an attempt to become werewolves themselves. Jack Russell spent almost a year fleeing from the cult, traveling about the country. At one point, the cultists captured him and placed a thin homing transmitter on his scalp to enable them to keep tabs on him. Russell eventually sough the help of the Moon Knight, and the two of them managed to defeat the cult, despite the fact that it was the time of the full moon and Russell had little control over his bestial self. Most of the cultists were killed in the melee.
Returning to his home in Los Angeles, Russell settled back into what passed for his normal life, taking care to lock himself up on the nights of the full moon. To his dismay, his moon-influenced wolf-form was increasing in strength with each passing month. Desperate, he contacted Dr. Michael Moribius, a blood specialist, for help in curbing his bestial self. Breaking free of his holding room one moonlit evening, Russell was subdued by the West Coast Avengers.
A few weeks later, in greater control of himself, he encountered Iron Man again while rescuing Russell’s sister Lissa from the clutches of the ghostly sorceress Morgan Le Fey. Eventually, the Werewolf was invited to join the Shroud’s new gang, the Night shift. Jack Russell remains a reluctant adventurer searching for the ultimate solution to the ongoing problems of being a werewolf.
First Appearance: Marvel Spotlight (1971) #2
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