Jughead #9 (Archie Comics)
Followers of these reviews (all two of you) know of my love for Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, so a review for her appearance in the new Riverdale shouldn’t come as that big of a surprise. While I’ve only read the first issue of the Jughead spin off series, I’ve been following the Archie series from the beginning, which surprises even myself. When I saw that the Ryan North and Derek Charm issue (which serves as their debut on the title) was going to introduce one of my favorite comic book characters into the new Riverdale timeline, I had to pick it up.
First things first though, I have to put this out there right now, so SPOILER ALERT if you care: Sabrina doesn’t show up until the very end of the issue.
Okay, that’s not entirely true, but if you’re picking this up expecting Ms. Spellman to be trading jokes with Jughead and his pals from page one, you’ll be disappointed. Instead new writer Ryan North takes a pretty inspired turn by having Sabrina be the new mascot at Pop’s Diner, where she’s conveniently dressed up in a giant hamburger costume that obscures her face. This gets the attention of Jughead, who’s possibly smitten by this “Hamburger lady” (Jughead’s only been attracted to food, so the possibility of him having feelings for a human being is foreign to him), and turns to Betty for advice on getting to know her. After stopping by Pop’s every day and becoming more and more friendly with the “Hamburger Lady”, she eventually asks Jughead out on a date. As Jughead waits for her to meet him, it’s revealed that she’s Sabrina, the newest resident of Riverdale.
While I’m a little annoyed that I’m going to have to wait another issue to really get a sense of this new take on Sabrina, I have to admit, Ryan North’s script is pretty fun. As someone who only read the first issue of the Jughead series, I’m impressed by how genuinely funny this book is. Sure, there are some cheesy moments here and there, but a majority of North’s jokes stick the landing, and he even carries over the margin one-liners from his other book, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, to great effect. Really the only thing that’s odd is trying to figure out where this story fits in with the main Archie series, as the group that’s hanging out in this issue is definitely not agreeing with each other in that book.
Speaking of the main Archie book, Derek Charm’s art fits in perfectly with that series. His line work and character designs are all really solid, and even though I’ve only seen page of her, I’m already sold on his design for Sabrina. Charm also has some fun with the layouts in this book, with one highlight being the multiple thought balloons that show the inner neurosis of Archie, Betty, and Jughead (okay, maybe “neurosis” doesn’t apply to Jughead).
I’m surprised that I’m saying this, but I really enjoyed this issue of Jughead, and I can’t wait for the next issue. Much like the Archie series, this is fun palette cleanser of a comic that has some great characters and it seems like North and Charm are setting up a pretty hilarious story arc with Sabrina that’s not going to end too well for Jughead. If you’re a fan of Sabrina like me (what can I say? I like Sabrina), you should definitely seek this out. Who knows? Maybe if this is a big enough hit she’ll get her own series in the new Archie universe!