Thursday, June 23, 2016

Guest Review - Jughead #7

    Stepping into the Guest Review chair is my pal and long-time comics fan James Cassara, with a review of a comic that's actually funny:
   Have a lately mentioned how much I love the new direction that the Archie Comics line is taking? 
   I’m the first to admit I was more than a bit leery - as a long-time fan of the Riverdale set I hardly thought the line needed updating and I was especially upset that venerable artist Dan Parent was seemingly kicked to the curb. I say seemingly, because I now find out he’s doing plenty of work for the Archie digests, which continue the traditional approach to those never aging but always evolving teenagers.  Viva La Parent! 
   As to the comic at hand, there’s little to quibble about. Regular series artist Erica Henderson, whom I recently met at Heroes Con and found to be every bit as delightful as she is talented, takes a hiatus and gives way to Derek Charm.  
   His style is a bit slicker, less nuanced, but definitely within the framework of current Archie artists. It doesn’t excite me but neither does it in any way detract from the story, and his layouts are clear and easy to follow.  
   What keeps this issue afloat is the top notch story by series writer Chip Zdarsky, whose grasp of what makes Jughead, well Jughead, is spot on. In this story our crown-wearing burger-consuming slackster is “gently persuaded” (okay, kicked out) the door and ordered to cease spending his days playing video games and get some sort of job “so you can eventually help pay for the college degree you’ll barely get so you can eventually get another job you don’t want!” Ha, take that, number one son! 
   So Jughead meanders down to the Riverdale pool where Archie has secured employment. What better for our carrot topped Romeo than to while away the summer around bikini clad beauties?  
   Jug eventually convinces Archie to spend a few days at the log cabin owned by their mutual friend Dilton (on a clever side note, the cabin is near Camp Lucey, a lovely nod to the great Archie artist Harry Lucey) where they stumble upon, of all things, the Reggie Mantle family reunion.  
   What ensues is the expected hilarity, including a snide comment from Jughead about Reggie lusting after his own cousins, and the usual hijinks. Tired of discovering that everyone in the Mantle clan acts exactly like Reggie they take off to find said camp which, Archie “conveniently” neglects to tell Jughead, is populated strictly by the female side of our species.    
   The two get lost and, as the story ends (to be concluded next issue) they find themselves in a, let’s just say, “unbearable” dilemma. There is more snappy dialogue and plot than is found in any number of bloated six issue superhero miniseries, and the vintage Jughead reprints only add to an already fine comic.
   I doubt this review will convince many comic readers to give the Archie Comics line a try, but that won’t stop me from singing their praises. 
   Like any long term series it has had its ups and downs but the past couple of years have been a definite high point in the life of those lovable teens from Riverdale. 

Grade: A 

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