Archie Comics 2015
Written by Chip Zdarsky
Illustrated by Erica Henderson
Lettered by Jack Morelli
With a little luck and some help from his friends and family, Jughead Jones managed to get his expulsion from Riverdale High knocked down to a suspension. But does Jughead really want to return to school where Principal Stanger and his crew of tough-as-nails teachers are having their students build drones and run army obstacle courses? Well, uh, of course not, since Jughead’s spent the last few days in a vegetative state playing imaginary video games. But in order to retain his honour (and get some better food back in the cafeteria), he’s going to have to get proof that the new faculty is up to no good. And maybe also some tacos, tacos are good.
Chip is doing wondrous things with this series. I mean just that we’re getting a Jughead that’s smarter, more motivated and all around more interesting than ever before should be enough. But, NO, it isn’t because we also get these daydreams of Jugs that are just as character revealing and fun as the main story itself. Never before have I been as big a fan of Jughead as I am right now, and he’s always been my favourite so to up that even further is truly amazing.
The way this issue is scripted pretty much demonstrates in a nutshell why I think Chip’s run on this is as noteworthy as it is. From opening up the issue with Jughead trying to convince his pals that Stanger is more than a principle and he’s using the school for a front to create spies, okay that’s a little far-fetched perhaps, and them kind of just dismissing him you know this is going to rock. I mean c’mon they are doubting their buddy, well okay Archie, Betty and Kevin are since they are the only ones there. Who does that, normal kids maybe possibly but not the Riverdale gang, okay they do because it happened but it also demonstrates the changes in the new Archie-verse.
Everything Jughead has to do, go through and deal with in order to prove to not only himself but his best friends that he’s not crazy well yeah that’s kind of a slice of real life. It’s also the kind of stuff that Chip can write about in his sleep, apparently not that i’ve seen firsthand. First day back at school and it goes pretty much as you’d expect. Jughead is a target now not only from Stanger but his staff and that’s going to not only spell trouble, “Trouble. I'm talkin' 'bout trouble, with a capital 'T' and that rhymes with 'P' and that stands for Principal.” So everything we see here that he goes through yeah that’s pretty damn awesome.
Maybe it’s just me thanks to the fact I had an incredible Mom but to me it feels like there is a Maynard G. Krebs/Dobie Gillis kind of vibe coming from Jughead. Personally I think it suits him to a T and perhaps i’m projecting but for me it’s better than trying to harp on the fact he’s asexual as Kevin points out and sites seem to to latch onto with weird fascination because unless i’m wrong he’s always been this way. So don’t listen to hype sites and listen to me what Chip is doing with the writing, characterization and all around vibes happening here this is best of Classic Jughead blended into a modern day teenage man/child!
You’ll have to excuse the interior artwork though as Erica’s style is her own it’s not suited for what I think of as the new vision/direction Archie was hyping when the relaunch was announced.