Friday, January 1, 2016

Jughead: Master of the Loophole! // Seven Reasons to Enjoy JUGHEAD #2-3

I was organizing in my room and finally read my copies of JUGHEAD #2-3. This is great stuff, as usual! I have discovered two sets of fan reactions to this new title: 1. They love it or 2. They struggle with the offbeat stories and artwork.

I kind of understand the artwork complaint. Although I'm a huge fan of Erica Henderson, her artwork is definitely different than your traditional Archie Comics style. But Jughead has always been -- at its best -- about offbeat stories and characterizations. So I don't get that bit of criticism.

In JUGHEAD #1, we were introduced to a new principal at Riverdale High School, Mr. Stanger. Stanger is very strict and no-nonsense. He immediately began making extremely changes to the school, including replacing existing teachers with equally strict and no-nonsense teachers and gruel in the lunchroom. Yes, gruel. Jughead figured out an effective loophole that allowed him to circumvent the gruel in favor of burgers for everyone. But that action immediately identified him as a trouble-maker for Mr. Stanger.

1. Jughead & Kevin: Don't these guys make a cute couple? Don't get me wrong. I don't harbor the opinion that Jughead is gay. But I like the idea of him and Kevin together. And it makes a lot of sense when you look at his long anti-girl history!

It's worth nothing that Archie and Betty are just getting out of detention. Everyone at Riverdale High is getting sent to detention these days. It's a symptom of the atmosphere at the school these days!

2. Daydreams Are Fun, But They Actually Mean Something in JUGHEAD!: In JUGHEAD #2, our star finally gets sent to detention for poor performance during gym class. He falls asleep and experiences a "Jughead's Time Police" moment (much like the "Game of Thrones" parody in JUGHEAD #1). Jughead meets up with his old pre-relaunch partner, January McAndrews and uses his unconventional perspective to save the future from one of Reggie's descendants.

But Jughead also uses his dream-adventure to once again inspire his real life adventures -- namely secretly prepping a school obstacle course one day early so that he'll be triumphant when the class actually begins!

Similarly, he has a "Man from R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E." daydream in JUGHEAD #3,  which helps him piece together a better understanding of what's really happening at Riverdele High School!

3. Do Spoilers Count When They're One Month Late??: I feel bad about ruining the ending to JUGHEAD #2, but it's been a month since it was published. Plus the previews for #3 already spoiled this ending, so I actually don't feel like I'm ruining anything! In fact, I'm actually at the latter end of a trend!

Anyway, Jughead ends up manipulating the school obstacle course so that he can pass through it quickly and with a minimal amount of effort. Which greatly angers our no-nonsense principal and Coach Eng. They call Jughead to the Principal's Office and something dark and sinister occurs: Mr. Stanger pulls a knife from Jughead's backpack! Instant expulsion!!

4. Jughead Sr. Is Clever Also: Fortunately, Mr. Jones is pretty good at manipulating loopholes also! He pulls the name-game and manages to get Juggy's expulsion reduced to a suspension.

Mr. Jones later admits that the incriminating knife really isn't his, but he understands that something wrong is happening at Riverdale High. Jughead would never bring a weapon to school.

5. First Fecal Image in Archie Comics History?: Jughead had a minor run-in with Mr. Stanger in JUGHEAD #3. It wasn't terribly note-worthy. EXCEPT... I think this is a first time that I've ever seen a pile of poop portrayed in an Archie Comics comic book!

6. Meet the Men from R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E.: There was a great daydream sequence in which Agents Jughead, Archie, Betty, and Kevin storm Riverdale High to protect the planet from Mr. Stanger and his evil androids!

7. What's Happening at Riverdale High??: It's pretty clear by now that Mr. Stanger has some sort of secret agenda and Jughead spent most of Issue #3 mentally knitting together the various strings. It's one thing to change the foodstuff and to hire new teachers. But now that the gym class is looking more and more like a military drill and now that the new teachers are teaching the students how to build drones and to hack into other computer systems, it's pretty clear that something big is going down.

Jughead thinks that Stanger is training the students to become secret agents. I personally don't think so. But he's definitely molding them for some purpose! Where's Waldo Weatherbee when you need him??

I'm really loving this new JUGHEAD series and you should be too! JUGHEAD #2-3 were written by Chip Zdarsky, with art by Erica Henderson and lettering by Jack Morelli.

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