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Thursday, 13 October 2016

Top Of The Pile: Josie And The Pussycats #1


I have to be honest and say that, because of the vast quantity of Rebirth titles in my current pull-list, I came to Josie And The Pussycats thinking I'd give the first issue a once over then drop the title. Who really wants to read a comic about a girl group anyway? Certainly not a middle-aged man, fast approaching 50!

As usual, I was completely wrong. Archie Comics has another winner on its hands in its New Riverdale line.

Penned by Marguerite Bennet and Cameron Deordio, with gorgeous manga-esque artwork from Audrey Mok (coloured perfectly by Andre Szymanowicz), the first issue of Josie And The Pussycats completely defied my expectations.

I've never read a Josie title before, but that didn't really matter, as this first arc is clearly the new 'origin' story for the band.

Josie is a struggling bar singer (with dreams and aspirations), who teams up with her ditzy roommate, Melody, to perform at a charity show to support the Riverdale Animal Shelter. Visiting the shelter with a stray that Melody has rescued, they meet Valerie, a vet with a fine singing voice, and recruit her for the band.

A girl called Alexandra has a beef with Josie (for reasons so far unexplained) and tries to sabotage the band's early efforts, but unintentionally guides them towards a winning formula.

Although it's hard to judge, these girls are clearly older than Archie and his crew (I'm guessing from the frequent references to alcohol consumption), and the jaunty, witty script is riddled with sly innuendos (there's a smutty line from Val that really caught me off guard for being totally un-Archie) and laugh-out-loud gags.

While Melody is the closest character to a stereotype, there's a pathos to her that adds depth, and the other two main girls are already shaping up to be fully-rounded, and believable, personalities. The mysterious Alexandra is rather a one-note nemesis at present, but we haven't really seen enough of her yet to get a handle on her motivations.

From this first issue, I'd say Josie And The Pussycats is the best addition to the line since last year's relaunch of the main Archie title and I'm pretty certain I'll now be sticking with it for the foreseeable future.

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