Jughead Jones, Riverdale’s resident asexual teen, is actually on a date. But not with just any girl, he’s stumbled himself into a dinner with the new girl in town, Sabrina, who unbeknownst to her new classmates and friends, is an actual teenage witch! So what can ensue when a food obsessed teenage boy and a girl with magic on her side clash?Hilarity, high jinx, spell-casting, demon fighting, and of course hamburgers! Oh and Reggie Mantel is also there (and he is still a self-centered jerk, no amount of magic or demon could EVER change that!)
Jughead continues to be my favorite title from the Archie relaunch. Although all the titles have been fun, this one in particular has a certain irreverence and meta-awareness that I think was always lurking beneath the character’s surface. Ryan North is of course an expert at this, having previously brought the same quality to Squirrel Girl over at Marvel. This issue especially has some of the best jokes, my favorite being the dream sequences Sabrina has that are clearly the classic Archie “reality.” Also, pairing Jughead and Reggie is perfect, as it brings out the best (and worst) in each of them for maximum comedy potential. North’s bottom of the page reader addresses also continue to be hilarious and push the title further into meta-commentary. It’s just plain great. But there is also a level of seriousness, as Jughead’s asexuality is addressed in the middle of the story. It’s a poignant scene that sheds light on a very under expressed sexual identity in today’s hyper-sexualized culture. We also get an origin of sorts for Sabrina, and it’s both funny and character building, which pretty much sums this book up.
Derek Charm was made to draw these characters. He modernizes them but retains enough of their original look to make them identifiable. He also finds ways to experiment with the visuals to flow well with the narrative comedy. There is even one splash page that clearly invokes Steve Ditko and Marvel silver age stuff. But it’s not distracting and serves the purpose of telling the story. The Sabrina origin segment, in particular, is great, as it has very inventive panel use and visual transitions. It stands apart from the rest of the book, making it it’s own little thing; a part of a greater whole. The art as a whole pops and moves with energy, which is something I crave in Archie books. It hits the spot nicely.
Do yourself a favor and pick up Jughead #11. If you have been curious about the new Archie universe, it’s a great place to start. It’s also a great book for people just getting into comics. It’s funny, modern, and accessible. Grab a hamburger and sit down to read it.