Jughead #9 Review: In Which Jughead And Archie Encounter Bears And Bees

Is it just me, or does this cover make you really hungry? I’m not much of a hamburger fan, but those waffles, french fries, potato chips, and hot dogs look pretty good. I wonder if this is how Jughead sees the world. Everyone and everything just amounts to a pile of pork chops, popcorn, and other assorted culinary products. Derek Charm does a good job of representing Jughead’s personality. He likes video games, slacking off, and being an oddball, but food will remain his one, true passion.

The issue starts off immediately where the last one ended, with Jughead and Archie presumably about to be viciously mauled and eaten by a bear. Thankfully, Mr. Weatherbee arrives and saves them from a grisly fate with some mysterious circus-skills. Who knew that he had hidden layers?

A modern-day Teddy Roosevelt. Well, assuming Ron Swanson doesn't exist in this universe. Now I want to see Parks And Recreation.
Eventually, after a long trek, Jughead, Archie, and “The Bee” discover that someone’s been messing with them. Some dastardly fiend has been removing the signs, planting booby traps for them, and being a major nuisance. The teens bring up the Mantle family reunion, leading Mr. Weatherbee to realize who the culprit must be. With the help of a wedgie (yes, seriously), the trio quickly exposes Ted Mantle!

Uhh...Chip, without the proper context, this might belong in one of your other comics about criminals. Also, you're not the only uncomfortable one, Arch. I'm pretty sure that Ted Mantle might be a runaway from Community.

Meanwhile, Jughead and Archie have to resolve their feud. Not only are they still angry at each other over Archie’s deception in the previous issue, but they’ve grown tired of each other’s little quirks. On Archie’s side, he’s tired of Jughead constantly being obsessed with food and mooching money off him for said food. As for Jughead, he’s just plain sick of Archie running out on him every time he gets an insta-crush on a random girl. The problem has only gotten worse with Veronica, because it seems to be making Archie stupid(er). Adding to the conflict, well…

I have no quip for this. You crossed a line, Archie.
To say that this situation is awkward is a massive understatement. For those of you who don’t know, an earlier issue of Jughead officially revealed that Jughead identifies as ‘asexual.’ To put it simply, this means that he is not personally interested in pursuing sexual relationships. Having Archie say something as hurtful as this to his closest friend causes Jughead to feel as if his sexual identity is worthless. Even though Archie believes having sexual relations is normal, he invalidates Jughead’s sexual identity. Archie's implications that Jughead is abnormal causes Jughead to feel as if he is not accepted by his best friend, who had accepted him prior to learning of his asexuality. To Jughead, this act of being called abnormal hurts him deeply and offends him so much that he is forced to think that he doesn't fit in. It reinforces the concept of heteronormativity. Of course, their friendship eventually patches itself up, but I wish that Jughead had explained why he was hurt to Archie. They both apologize for being insulting, but part of it feels too neat. Maybe it’s just relief at finally being able to go home. At any rate, it feels good to have a happy ending, especially when you consider that this is Chip’s final issue. Jughead #8 is a fantastic finale to Chip Zdarsky’s work on the series. The writing encapsulates all of his strengths; drama, character interactions, and delightfully madcap antics. Derek Charm’s manga-style artwork adds some extra humor, carefully exaggerating facial expressions as needed. In terms of continuity jokes, Mr. Weatherbee’s friend can be seen wearing a Super Duck shirt and one of the campers uses a Cosmo the Martian toy to beat up Archie. Finally, you can see a Josie And The Pussycats sticker on Jughead's backpack. I don't know if it's a good thing that I understood the first two references or incredibly sad. Additionally, I have changed my mind about Mr. Weatherbee. I think he’s more of a Jerry Gergich type, but definitely more efficient. They just look similar. I dearly hope that Mr. Zdarsky can return to the comic in the future, but I trust Ryan North with the future of the character, especially with Sabrina the Teenage Witch coming in the future. September looks like it's going to be fun! Now to end this review on a stellar note, here's one of Chip's best panels from the series.

Crownie is wise.

If you want some context, buy the first Jughead volume, on sale now! It includes issues one through six of the series.

Jughead #9 is out now. It can be found at your local comic book shop. Chip Zdarsky is the scribe and Derek Charm is the artist.

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