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.
Archie #4 is an excellent showcase for Annie Wu’s energetic depictions of friendship, romance, and heartbreak with subtly powerful colors from Andre Szymanowicz and Jen Vaughn. Sadly, Mark Waid’s script gets bogged down in a cycle of dated and cliched teen melodrama instead of exploring the relationship and falling out between Betty and Archie in more depth. However, Jughead is funny as ever, and Veronica lights up the few pages she appears in.
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.
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.
On Saturday and Sunday of New York Comic Con, the stakes get higher and the lines get longer as big studios, like Marvel, WB, and 20th Century Fox, bring out their movie and TV stars to sign autographs and appear on panels about their upcoming blockbusters and fall TV hits. You can catch the pilot of Fox’s Lucifer and CBS’ Supergirl based on the DC Comics properties, or decided to kick old school with several reunions of shows and movies, including Clueless, All That, and two masterpieces of nerdy TV that made my list.
After being teased for the past two issues, Veronica Lodge finally attends her first day of school at Riverdale High in Archie #3. Artist Fiona Staples makes her the most fashion forward member of the comic’s ensemble cast while writer Mark Waid gives her quite the complicated personality as she can go from a sly joker to a spoiled rich girl or a detached observer at the drop of a hat. Her arrival heightens the melodrama of the series to a boiling point as Archie starts following her around like a puppy because he is smitten with her and also because he accidentally destroyed her father’s mansion in Archie #2. However, the breakout character of the series continues to be Jughead.
Whereas Archie #1 was rooted in the teen soap opera, Archie #2 goes the teen sitcom route with a lighthearted issue about Jughead’s secret origins and Archie’s ineptitude at finding any kind of employment. Writer Mark Waid and artist Fiona Staples create a nice parallel between Archie’s inability to do something successful with his hands, and Betty’s ability to fix a car in a wink and a flash while also dealing with the realization that boys see her in a sexual way after she has broken up with Archie. Waid and Staples handle this in a not-too-creepy banner as Betty has her own Sia “Chandelier” moment in this issue’s montage to counteract her mixed emotions about breaking up with Archie and growing up.