Jughead #7 Review

Soul-crushing reality and summer fun collide in the new issue of Jughead! And if that’s not enough to get you interested, then maybe the MANTLE FAMILY REUNION will!

Video games are so much fun, right? (As I type this, my Nintendo DS is somewhere in a drawer, feeling lonely.) Even if I’m don’t know a lot about them, Jughead definitely does. Continuing a small pattern, the issue opens with Jughead playing a video game, only for his father to interrupt and demand that he get out and do something.

Ha, ha, soul-crushing reality....I need to go get a box of tissues and rethink my life.
Jughead chooses to interpret this advice as 'go pester Archie at his new job.' Indeed, he does do so, gleefully interrupting Archie's attempts to use his new status as a lifeguard to hit on girls at the pool. Ah, Archie, you're a class act.
The rise of Jugpool, a product of Weapon Burger. Hey, it explains how he can eat so much food.
Eventually, Jughead gets Archie to leave the pool and go visit Dilon's cottage with him. Uh, Jug, I know you're desperate for something to do, but shouldn't Archie call his boss before he leaves? Seriously, the panel just skips from Archie thinking about Jughead's proposal to the two in a car going to the cottage. I kid, Archie's shift probably ended right around that time.

In any case, the scene does reaffirm two main staples in the Archie canon. Firstly, Ginger Lopez, one of the few Spanish-American characters, is shown at the pool, being annoyed by Archie's girl-crazy behavior. Secondly, Jughead claims that he got the fake moles from his Uncle Herman's joke shop. Uncle Herman is a prankster, as well as a recurring character in a similar series of stories published by Archie Comics, That Wilkin Boy. The series was in no way an attempt to recreate the standard Archie formula, including the Archie-Betty-Veronica love triangle and The Archies. Perish the thought!
See? It's just a band made out of teenagers that happen to be named after the main character!
Of course, this can't be a proper story without some kind of conflict. It turns out that the suspiciously empty cottage is right next to the lake, where Reggie is attending the Mantle family reunion.
You have entered a world full of narcissism, self-delusion, and all-around jerkiness. Welcome to...The Reggie Zone.
Oh, you don't think it's bad? Trust me, it's bad. An entire montage ensues of Archie and Jughead trying to relax while literally every member of the Mantle clan bullies them.

I hereby dub this strange Popeye lookalike "Old MANtle."
The duo eventually give up trying to ignore the Mantle's shenanigans and go off into the woods to get to Camp Lucey. Unfortunately, they promptly get lost. In a surprisingly dramatic turn, Jughead finally takes a good look at the map and discovers that Camp Lucey is, in fact, an all-girls camp. Archie was manipulating him in order to creepily spy on girls.

The following argument over Archie's actions has a surprising amount of depth to it. Along with referencing Betty's crusade to save the forest (as mentioned in the very first issue), it also has Jughead deconstructing Archie Comics.

It's a strong moment, one that unfortunately won't be resolved until the next issue. They were so busy hiking and arguing that they lost track of time. Jughead has no cell reception; they're completely lost, and both injured from a small scuffle. To make matters worse, the final page reveals that a bear is standing right behind them. 'To be continued', indeed.

Jughead #7 is a great issue. Chip Zdarsky's writing skills continue to be strong, while new artist Derek Charm does a good job of capturing Riverdale's quirky characters. His depiction of the bear at the end is chilling, especially with the gloomy backdrop. I'll miss Erica Henderson's artwork, but he is a worthy successor. What are you waiting for? Go, go, go! Get the issue!

Zachary Krishef is an evil genius. Do not question his knowledge of Saturday Night Live trivia or the Harry Potter books.