Jughead #3 mixes a little bit of sad and little bit of surreal pop culture homage/parody/tribute/however the hell you want to read it with a whole lot of funny as Chip Zdarsky and Erica Henderson put the whole town of Riverdale to work as the series’ plot gets just a tad weirder. Also, Jonesy should get his own spinoff one-shot or miniseries.
Jughead #2 is yet another silly, sarcastic entry in writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Erica Henderson’s surreal, slice of life series starring the Riverdale’s most non-conforming conforming teenager. This issue shows Jughead’s basically superpower of being able to skirt by the rules without breaking from getting free milkshakes from Pop’s to even avoiding detention for the most part under the draconian rule of Principal Stanger. He even has a cheat code that hacks P.E. class, but Zdarsky and Henderson bring an end to his good luck with a dark and compelling cliffhanger.
A toast to Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky! For achieving what no one anywhere ever even anticipated. For imagining an asexual character who possesses a similar ability to stop time. This issue begs more than a few explanations. Does this new character, Alix, move through the space of the “Quiet” differently than Suzie, Jon, Kegelface, and others? What is up with Carl Sagan’s uncomfortable innuendo? And why is Alix watching the original version of Cosmos instead of the reboot with Neil deGrasse Tyson? Does this mean the Sex Criminals universe is set in the past? Or maybe even an alternate timeline?
Erica Henderson and Chip Zdarsky’s incarnation of this classic Archie book launches the titular sidekick as the most unlikely of heroes. Zdarsky revives Archie’s sarcastic, egocentric best friend with his distinct brand of petulant humor. Though it may be classified as a ‘kids’ comic, Jughead potentially offers the most enjoyment for a different demographic. That is not to say Jughead lacks the intrinsic, whimsical joy found in other Archie books. Rather, Zdarsky’s not-so-subtle allusions are simply more likely to be appreciated by an audience familiar with mature pop-culture content.
There’s nothing more satisfying than going back to a comic and finding the issue where everything just clicks into place. The concept, the characters, the story, and the art just start working perfectly in tandem. For Sex Criminals, Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky’s funny book about love, sex, depression, weird tentacle cum monsters, endless background dick jokes, and making fun of Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie that one time, it was definitelyissue #3. The issue is tagged with the subtitle “My Sexual Errors and Misfortunes 2001 – Present,” but it’s more commonly known as the issue where Suzie sings ‘Fat Bottomed Girls.’
Sex Criminals #12 truly runs the gamut tonally from the broad, crude, and occasionally laugh out loud comedy of Jon and Susie escaping from Douglas to an incredibly informative lecture about normality and abnormality framed in ideas about female sexuality from Professor Kincaid, a porn star turned college professor and ally of Jon and Susie’s against the Sex Cops.
Sex Criminals #11 brings something old, something new, and definitely won’t leave long time Brimpers with comic book blue balls. Chip Zdarsky continues to be the master of visual innuendo and also gets to show off his sensitive side in some intimate moments (Read: sex scenes.) between the main characters while Fraction’s dialogue continues to be filthy and insightful as ever. And stay after the letters page for a special post-credits scene. (Wait, I thought Matt Fraction was done writing for Marvel.)
Written by Chip Zdarsky
Art by Kagan McLeod
Colors by Becka Kinzie
Published by Image Comics
Flying through an unknown asteroid belt seems almost common place for the crew aboard the Kanga in Chip Zdarsky’s first issue of Kaptara. Keith, a space traveling bio-engineer finds himself supposedly alone on an alien planet surrounded by strange beasts and fantastical people. Usually an outsider, Keith may have found himself a new home and is easily enjoying being the center of attention. Kaptara #1 brings us into a world of isolation and exploration.
Zdarsky puts together an intriguing crew from the all-varsity leading captain to the apathetic bio-engineering scientist who always needs to be saved. The story is an easy digestible. Zdarsky pulls from many sources to weave a science fiction tale that many will enjoy. It’s easy to hate most of what Keith does in this first issue but he’s given enough levity to become likeable. Getting lost but being saved and venerated is a dream for many and Keith lives the fantasy quite well.
The art by Kagan McLeod is futuristic and visionary. The scenery harkens back to 1970’s fantasy and science fiction. The people of Kaptara could easily grace a number of book covers to draw in readers. The amalgam of colors by Becka Kinzie isn’t readily seen on Earth and stand in contrast to what we expect to see in alien worlds. These colors easily bring Kaptara’s monsters and people to life.
The future of Kaptara should dive into the differences between man and alien and who will be willing to make a difference to help the natives against Skullthor. Keith seems like a guy who wants to be left alone and do his work alone; will he help? How is he going to cope with being transported to another place? Will he continue to go forward and piggy-back on those who are stronger than himself? He was saved by Captain Lance from the monsters of Kaptara and by Manton the head of Security for the Kaptaran queen. Armed with a steady mind Keith may be well placed to learn of the terrain and peoples of Kaptara. Zdarsky and crew have created an enjoyable read and hopefully the journey will lead to even greater heights.