In a charming new issue of Jughead, the title character moves on with life after saving his friendship with Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. The gang in this issue (Jughead, Archie, Betty, Veronica, Reggie, Dilton, and Kevin) plays video games for a bet. Who else should win but Reginald freaking Mantle? He is king for a month, and has but one demand for his disciples: Start a band.
The only conflict in this issue that of friendly competition in a racing video game. It’s really great to see the Riverdale group as close as they are here. The character interaction is amazing, with really realistic reactions and dialogue from suburban teenagers.
Each character’s personality shows through their speech and actions. Reggie is conceited and cocky but gets his way nonetheless. Jughead tries to help the entire gang, but it doesn’t work out. Veronica uses her money to accommodate the problem. Betty is focused on sociopolitical consequences of Reggie’s sexism. Kevin is a nice dude kind of on the sidelines. Dilton is just as nerdy as always. Lastly, Archie kind of takes the back seat in this issue. We don’t see much from him at all and, when we do, it’s rather insignificant to the plot of the story.
What really excites me, though, is a new huge team-up of these characters in the form of their band, The Reggies (band name care of Reggie’s ego). Judging by the way they got along in this issue, the band should work well together. However, judging by the catharsis of ideas at the end of this issue, they’re going to butt heads a lot. Either way, I’m stoked to see how this turns out.
At the end of this issue are two sets of photos—one from the comics and one from the upcoming live-action television series, Riverdale. They show panels that inspired the TV show. From the looks of it, the same personalities we know and love will be put up against some seriously dark themes.
Derek Charm’s illustrations are really lively. Each character’s individuality shows through the illustrations quite a bit. There is a generally angular art style that isn’t the most realistic, but still shows a lot of emotion. Charm’s bright coloring also helps bring out a lighthearted tone in the issue, but the unrealistic colors that depict the characters’ video game avatars create a really nice balance.
This is a great issue that brings a lot of fun and nostalgic themes to light: staying in on the weekend to play video games, starting a garage band that you want to go somewhere but are really just doing for the fun of it, being around people you’ve known forever, youth, innocence, if I go on I might start to cry. Any and all fans of Archie need to read this issue, and most definitely keep an eye out on the CW, January 26th, for the premiere of Riverdale!
Written by: Ryan North
Illustrated by: Derek Charm