"The Howler!": The blood-curdling call of the Howler puts everyone in the local tavern on edge. Immediately they close the building up tight as Jason Blood plays the disbelieving tourist to inquire about the monster the villagers all seem
- In one of the caves you reached back too far --- To a mystic period in the very dawn of time! You found the Primal Entity!
Synopsis for "The Howler!"
The blood-curdling call of the Howler puts everyone in the local tavern on edge. Immediately they close the building up tight as Jason Blood plays the disbelieving tourist to inquire about the monster the villagers all seem so afraid of. Against the wishes of the locals, Jason takes his leave, hoping to get back to America as soon as possible after his nasty encounter with the Iron Duke and Ugly Meg. Ignoring the protests of the villagers, he rides out to meet with Merlin, but is being stalked by an ancient evil. The Howler ambushes the lone rider on the road out of town and Jason wastes no time summoning the Demon.
The Howler tosses the horse away effortlessly while Etrigan leaps onto the creature. Underestimating the beast's strength, Etrigan is launched off of his adversary who then attempts to swing at the Demon with a tree trunk. Etrigan quickly realises he is facing a monster not of sorcery, but some unrelenting, primal beast-spirit. He sets the Howler's log on fire, continuing his demon-flame assault when he sees the creature's fear. The Howler retreats into the forest engulfed in flame. Merlin soon shows himself, mildly chiding Etrigan for using such excessive force on a creature that is merely a host for the "Primal Entity". Etrigan reminds his master that they have served their purpose here. Merlin agrees, returning once more to his realm of existence. Etrigan recovers the horse and rides off, while from the shadows, the Howler watches his prey which it will relentlessly pursue until it takes over its newly selected host.
Weeks later, as Jason boards a plane back to the U.S.A., a stranger boards with him, confessing that he has been following him this whole time. During the flight, he reveals himself as Eric Shiller, an anthropologist who explored the wrong caves and has been cursed with the Primal Entity for a year. Shiller explains the Entity must pass itself to a new mortal host unless the gifted demonolgist can perform a ritual to rid him of the beast spirit once and for all.
In his apartment, Jason begins the ritual to exorcise the Entity from Shiller. Not telling his friends he was returning, Jason believed they would be alone, but Glenda invites herself in and stumbles across the bizarre scene. Jason insists she leave immediately, but Glenda is disturbed to find Jason doesn't just study witchcraft, but practises it, too! The interruption proves costly as a mighty crash comes from behind. Jason hurries back to the ritual too late, and the Howler manifests itself. Jason comes running out, urging Glenda into the next room and shutting the door behind them. The Howler pounds on the wooden door, and Jason knows it will not hold. He leads Glenda to his artefact vault and closes the steel door behind her as the Howler splinters the other. The beast pins its prey to the floor and looks deeply into Jason's eyes, trying to transfer its spirit into his body. Jason closes his eyes and recites the verse to unleash his demonic counterpart. Etrigan unleashes his demon-flame upon the Howler, sending it backwards out the window. The Demon peeks down to the distant pavement below and witnesses the Howler revert back to the corpse of Eric Shiller. Exhausted from expending so much Hellfire, Etrigan once more takes mortal form to rest.
With no idea what's happening to Jason, Glenda bangs against the steel door frantically. The door unlocks and she finds Jason a little battered, but alive. They both look down at the sorry sight outside the window. Glenda has much more of an insight to who Jason Blood really is, but is still oblivious to his true duel nature. A crowd gathers on the street around the body. The man who first ran to his aid suddenly feels strange after seeing a flash of light. He stumbles away, and not long after, a horrific howl fills the night of Gotham City.
Appearing in "The Howler!"
- The Howler (First appearance)
- Eric Shiller (First appearance; dies)
- Chris Puckett (First appearance; unnamed)
- Tito (Mentioned only)
- The Iron Duke (Mentioned only)
- United States of America
- Trollsac (Assumed)
- The Iron Duke's Castle (Mentioned only)
- Saber-Toothed Tiger Skull
- Necklace of Saber-Teeth
- The Howler
- The Demon Recommended Reading