Jughead #15 Review: New Arc, New Writers!

This arc marks the beginning of the title's latest shift to an altered creative team. Derek Charm is still signed on as the artist, but instead of Ryan North helming the title, Archie's Mark Waid and Sonic The Hedgehog's Ian Flynn will take over scripting duties. Fortunately, they're still going to keep the same status quo, such as it is. For example, Sabrina will continue to be a recurring character, as you can see on the cover. Despite the inclusion of Josie and the Pussycats, this isn't a crossover with that title, but they still play a substantial role in the story.

I should mention something right off the bat. Even before the issue came out, the comic drew criticisms when the May solicitations were released. As the description reports, '"Sabrina the Teenage Witch tries to do something nice for Jughead, but it ends up creating a comedy of errors in which he’s the most desired bachelor in town.'" It drew concerns that the story might do something negative to Chip Zdarsky's initial portrayal of Jughead as being asexual, ranging from mild worries on Twitter to outright insulting the writers and going to far as to call them 'trash.'

I admit, I had a mild concern, but overreacting and jumping to insult the writers went too far. A staple of the "classic" Archie universe involved many teenage girls trying to get Jughead to go out with them, only for him to either be completely and utterly oblivious or simply weasel out of it and continue eating burgers. This is simply an adaptation of that particular plot point, just with a magical twist. Even when the solicitations for the next issue came out, it flat-out showed Jughead trying to dodge the amorous intentions of various characters.

"Pop, I need you to shield me with a wall of delicious burger meat! I MUST GET AN EDIBLE SHELTER!" 
And as it turns out, there was no reason to worry. All of it really does come about through a mistake of Sabrina's. She tried to make a magic spell to help Jughead get backstage passes to Josie's concert, but upping the intensity of the spell makes them fall in love with him. The power of music (comic book science!) makes things worse, as the infection spreads to most of the teenage women at the concert. It's all just an outside force causing the romantic events, not Jughead actively seeking it out.

It's a perfectly fine issue of the comic. Mark Waid and Ian Flynn do a great job of continuing to write for the characters, in part, I suspect, due to a series of successes with Archie. Really, the only difference is that with the style of the Jughead title, you're allowed to get goofier. This is the same comic that had Grubhead and increasingly surreal dream sequences about Jughead going on fantastic adventures.

"Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go have a driving race with Reggie. I'm sure absolutely nothing at all will go wrong." ...I'm sorry, in case it's still too soon to make that kind of morbid joke. 

Jughead #15 is written by Mark Waid and Ian Flynn, drawn by Derek Charm, lettered by Jack Morelli, and colored by Matt Herms. You can find it at your local comic book shop.

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