Thursday, October 8, 2015

Review - Jughead #1 (@ArchieComics)

"Jug! Did you eat your phone?"

There was a time when Archie comics were the best representation of comics in general. It's been a long time since then and in that time, many other comics have taken off and spawned billion-dollar film adaptations. You can't hold down a good universe though, which is why the reboot of the Archie Comics universe continues in Jughead #1. The issue is written by Chip Zdarsky, illustrated by Erica Henderson and lettered by Jack Morelli.

Riverdale High provides a quality education and quality hot lunches, but when one of those is tampered with, Jughead Jones swears vengeance! Well, we mean, he doesn't "swear." This is still Archie Comics after all.

There's always been a childish sensibility to the characters in the Archie universe and Jughead probably exemplifies that the most. Zdarsky's Jughead is no exception, as he's presented as someone who seemingly doesn't care but can be properly motivated when food is at stake. In fact, the entire premise behind the first issue maintains a lighthearted tone throughout, as Jughead moves from apathetic to extremely passionate (and even talented). Zdarksy's dialogue effectively presents that sense of bemusement at Jughead's seemingly aloof approach to Riverdale. The story is carried very cleanly by that dialogue, promising readers won't get too bogged down in anything too outlandish for a story set in the Archie universe.

Henderson illustrates the work with an attention to character outlines, as her students at Riverdale are all clean-cut and defined by lines that are equally as clean-cut. Jughead demonstrates a wide gamut of emotion, courtesy of Henderson't ability to render his apathy in an amusing way. The strictly grid-like layout of the panels keeps the pages organized and harkens back to the Archie comics of old. There's a brief tonal shift midway through the book that Henderson embodies perfectly, maintaining a tie to the normal day-to-day of the students. Henderson also relies on a variety of colors for various moods and emotions, all of which blend together pretty effortlessly.

Jughead #1 is a great return to the Archie universe with one of its more hungry natives. Jughead proves he can get into a cause if it's a cause that's worthy to him, but he's also got plenty of empathy for other causes that might cross his path. Zdarsky excels at offering stories that are very tongue-in-cheek and entertaining, which makes him a perfect fit for writing a character such as Jughead. Henderson ensures that Jughead #1 maintains the look and feel of an Archie comic, with characters who are defined by sharp features. Jughead #1 is a fun first issue that fans of the Archie comics reboot will definitely want to read.

Jughead #1 is in stores now.


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