Archive for Jughead

The Ballad of Captain Jughead


Jughead #4

Jughead has become convinced that Principal Stanger and all the new teachers are secretly training everyone to become secret agents. Everyone else thinks this is ridiculous, of course. But with his suspension over, Jughead returns to school and is quickly chosen as the practice target for dodgeball practice in P.E. The resulting bludgeoning has him dreaming that he’s the infamous Slackbeard the Pirate, who is captured by a pirate version of Stanger. When forced to translate a map, he and Dilbert Doiley forge a fake map so they can grab the real treasure for themselves. The dream gives Jughead an idea — he enlists Dilbert to bug Stanger’s computer to find out what he’s up to. Does this perfect plan have a chance of succeeding?

Verdict: Thumbs up. We’ve certainly come to expect this series to give us a funny and clever story that still manages a great level of high drama, and this issue certainly doesn’t disappoint. For a kid worried that he’s being turned into a secret agent, Jughead sure is doing a great impression of a secret agent…


All-New All-Different Avengers #5

The Vision has upgraded himself to be able to display holograms — and he uses this new ability to get Ms. Marvel kicked out of the Avengers! And when Nova accuses Vision of treachery, he gets thrown out, too! The remaining Avengers soon find themselves fighting a minor supervillain called Equinox — but he’s manifesting time-shifted clones, and the Vision finally turns against the entire team. How can the Avengers come back from this?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I guess it’s just a Marvel mandate that the Vision is going to be incredibly creepy in every comic he appears in. I expect Ms. Marvel and Nova will be back quickly — I rather suspect this is part of some long-range plan by the Vision to deal with the current crisis. Oh, and one of the best things about this issue is the look at Kamala Khan’s Avengers fan-fiction.

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Interesting New Stuff

I had a week or so off from reviewing anything, and I’ve got a mighty backlog of comics. So instead of struggling to review every single comic I got in the last two weeks, let’s just look at the stuff that was most worthy of being looked at.


Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! #1

Marvel’s been producing a lot of fun comics lately, but even matched up against Squirrel Girl, Ms. Marvel, and Howard the Duck, this one was uncommonly fun. The story focuses on Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat — a character who migrated from romance comics in the 1940s-’60s to superhero books in the ’70s. Most recently employed as an investigator by attorney Jennifer Walters, Patsy meets up with a fairly inept rookie telekinetic supervillain who she bonds with and actually reforms, thanks to their shared love of the theater musical “Wicked.”

But Patsy’s going through hard times — She-Hulk can’t afford to keep her employed, and she’s already been living in a storage room. Luckily, Ian, the reformed villain, offers to let her stay at his apartment, and while Ian visits the local gay bookstore, Patsy meets the proprietor, Tubs Hale, an old friend and supporting character in the Patsy Walker comics. She also learns that Hedy Wolfe, her frenemy from the comics, has gotten the rights to her comics and has started republishing them. All that, plus Patsy has an idea for a new business helping metahumans get power-appropriate jobs.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Like I said, it’s a very fun comic, with wonderful writing by Kate Leth and wonderful art by Brittney L. Williams. It’s a great story that combines Hellcat’s superheroism with Patsy’s comedy-romance roots. This one looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun.


Spidey #2

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s teenaged Spider-Man vs. the Sandman! Also teenaged Peter Parker vs. history class!

Verdict: Thumbs up. Holy banjos, for a comic I’d never even heard of the first time I saw it in the store, this one has zoomed up to the top ranks of my favorite books. I love just about everything about it, but definitely gotta give mad props to Nick Bradshaw for his jaw-droppingly amazing artwork. That cover is just plain spectacular.


Astro City #30

The continuation of last month’s adventure on the planet Zirros. Young Zozat is an alien from a species that often comes into conflict with the First Family. He’s been raised to hate Earthlings, but when he encounters an injured member of the First Family, he inadvertantly reads his mind and gets the real story — the FF wasn’t attacking for no reason — they were trying to retrieve a family member who’d been kidnapped by the Zirr. Meanwhile, his military-drafted sister is due to report for duty so she can become part of the Zirr’s latest Ultimate Weapon — a giant monster composed of a huge number of Zirr soldiers. Will the First Family prevail? And how will Zozat be affected by his contact with Earthlings?

Verdict: Thumbs up. More great development of the Zirr cultural mindset, and Zozat is a fun character — I doubt we’ll see him again, but it’s nice to know that he’s out there somewhere in the Astro City universe…


Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #2

Devil Dinosaur runs around New York pulling Lunella Lafayette along by her bookbag while the prehistoric Killer Folk get busy learning how to survive in the Big Apple. When they finally get Lunella separated from Devil Dinosaur, there’s gonna be trouble.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Half the book is a wonderful chase scene involving a huge dinosaur, and the other half is the Killer Folk figuring out modern-day customs and language — and both parts of the story are plenty funny.


Jughead #3

Jughead has been expelled from school after Principal Stanger planted a knife in his backpack. Of course, everyone knows it’s a frame-up, including Jug’s parents, so his dad goes to the school and tells the principal, whoops, no, that was my knife that I left in my son’s pack by mistake. Stanger’s stuck — no one believes Jughead is violent, and his folks are sticking up for him, so Stanger can’t leave him expelled. While Jughead is wallowing in misery at Pop’s Diner, he has another one of his dreams and imagines himself to be a superspy uncovering the principal’s latest evil plots — but do his dreams have some basis in reality?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s not quite as inspired as the previous issues — though the badassery of Jughead’s dad is really something to behold. And I’m kinda starting to suspect that Jughead’s final theory on what’s behind all the shenanigans of Principal Stanger and the new teachers may have some merit…

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Time Lord


Jughead #2

Riverdale High’s dastardly new principal is Mr. Stanger, and he wants everyone at Riverdale to be dull, boring cogs in the machine. Jughead already angered him last issue by finding the loophole in Stanger’s new anti-hamburgers policy. Now Stanger plans to send everyone in school to detention, but Jughead is really good at skating just on the right side of good behavior. However, Stanger’s new gym teacher, a humorless hardass named Coach Eng, institutes a rule that the worst athletes in his classes go to detention — and so Jughead goes to detention. Is there a way to stop Stenger and Coach Eng? It may require assistance from… the Time Police!

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a wonderfully clever comic by some top-notch pros, and a fun spin on the old “Jughead’s Time Police” comics. Plus there’s an excellent cliffhanger, too!


Ms. Marvel #1

Another number-one! MARRRRVELLL! (shakes fist at sky)

It’s a new day for Ms. Marvel! She’s in the Avengers! Holy cow! There’s nothing non-cool about this! Oh, and Bruno has a new girlfriend. Whoa, whoa, wait — what the heck happened?! Didn’t he just say he loved Kamala? Didn’t she have to turn him down for the sake of being a superhero? Um, well, yes, and that’s why Bruno has a girlfriend now. She calls herself Mike, and she seems perfectly cool, but Kamala can’t get over the fact that he’s dating now. And even worse — a lowlife developer is trying to gentrify Jersey City, and he’s using Ms. Marvel’s image to do it! And when she learns that the developer plans to pave over the entire city, and he’s willing to use high-tech weapons against normal citizens, Ms. Marvel is going to have some housecleaning to do in her hometown.

Verdict: Thumbs up. An excellent story, full of great human details and cool new supporting cast members. And it’s got awesome art by both of the series’ regular artists, Takeshi Miyazawa and Adrian Alphona. I’m assuming y’all all loved Ms. Marvel before, right? There’s no reason not to keep loving her now.


Lumberjanes #20

Well, April has pretty much ruined the Mermaid Battle of the Bands. Now everyone is fighting, and sea serpents are attacking, and absolutely no one is rocking. And April has screwed up her friends’ plans for the Bandicoot Bacchanal, too. Can the Lumberjanes use the Power of Friendship to save the concert, get Harlow’s band back together, and make sure everyone has a great Bandicoot Bacchanal?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I still never got into the rock-and-roll mermaids — seemed just a little weird, even for this series — but it wraps up well, with a lot of clever plotting, great character work, and fun moments.

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Jughead Rises


Jughead #1

Archie Comics sure have been interesting lately, haven’t they? The newest relaunch of one of the classic titles is written by Chip Zdarsky, artist on “Sex Criminals” and writer on “Howard the Duck,” and Erica Henderson, artist on “Squirrel Girl.” And that’s enough to get me interested in reading the book.

There’s been a shocking shakeup at Riverdale High — Mr. Weatherbee is no longer principal, and the scoundrel Mr. Stanger is his replacement. Stanger is a clean-cut control freak, but Jughead just doesn’t care — nothing can cut through his aura of apathy. But then Stanger replaces all the food in the cafeteria with nutritious purple glop — and Jughead completely loses it. After Jughead passes out from the strain of caring about something, there follows a fantasy dream sequence where Jughead must face off against a dragon for Infinite Hamburgers. And then he goes to a home economics class to learn how to make his own hamburgers. But how will all this return normal food to the cafeteria again?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fantastic art and writing. Interesting twists on classic characters — while still letting them remain in their classic personalities. And boy, Mr. Stanger is entirely the most rotten villain the Archie comics have ever seen…


Avengers #0

This is essentially a preview for the Avengers comics that’ll be coming out soon, with a framing device of the new Squadron Supreme killing off a bunch of Skrulls and making plans for whenever they have to eventually take down all the Avengers. We get the Vision seeing ghosts from the past, a precognitive SHIELD agent being forced to see the future for a bunch of creepy aliens, Deadpool taking an unexpected assignment, and America Chavez taking an unusual tactic to close a dimensional breach.

Verdict: Thumbs up. A wide variety of writers and artists with a bunch of very short and kinda vague stories — but if they meant to try to get me interested in some of these new series — well, they did the job. Only downside is the high $6 price tag.


Sensation Comics #15

In this issue, we get one story about Cheetah escaping from imprisonment once again and Wonder Woman wondering why superheroes bother capturing the villains when they escape and kill over and over. In our second story, Wonder Woman meets up with a no-luck loser trying to sell a sick lion to a criminal syndicate — but can she get him to turn over a new leaf through kindness and empathy?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Really, the stories weren’t the greatest, but I gave them extra high marks because they featured art by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Carla Speed McNeil.

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