Josie and the Pussycats Vol. 1 Review
The latest addition to the “New Riverdale” series of books from Archie Comics, Josie and the Pussycats Vol. 1 features some well-drawn, adorable artwork and plenty of humor. It manages to toe the line set forth by the earlier books of drawing from Archie Comics’ past while updating everything for a very modern feel. This book is packed to the brim with pop culture references, and with allusions to drugs and sex, I’d have to say this is by far the most mature of the current Archie books.
Hands down, Melody Valentine is the best part of this book. Her ditziness is played up quite a bit, and she seems smarter than everyone thinks at times, which is a bit confusing but it keeps the reader on their toes. Melody is able to break the fourth wall a la Deadpool, and this is where a lot of the pop culture references come in. Josie and the Pussycats Vol. 1 is very smartly written, and the dialogue is often hilarious. Melody’s introduction to “meth”, her Sailor Moon reference during a robbery, and her fondness for cute animals and sex make her the most interesting character by far.
When she dumps her date to bring a homeless kitten to the animal shelter in the pouring rain, I knew she would be the best part of this series. The other two, Josie and Valerie, are not nearly as interesting or complex. They both are good singers, Josie has an overly complicated romance with the band’s manager, and Valerie plays bass and offers a few one-liners. She could easily be erased from the book without it affecting the storyline, which is sad.
I found Josie to be strangely unlikable. In the first issue she comes off as a sweetheart and very down to earth, but when the band gets a record deal in the first issue (!), things change. She always seems to have a bit of an attitude. But maybe it just feels that way because Melody’s sweetness contrasts against Josie’s personality so often.
I found it a very strange choice to have the band “make it” in the first issue. I feel like they should have had to play local shows a bit more, which also would have allowed for some fun interaction with the Riverdale locals. The only other member of the Archie-verse that shows up here is Jughead in a quick cameo that I actually missed until re-reading the book again later.
Alan M. is a very douchey character that I just could not bring myself to like at all, especially since he tricks the girls into thinking they’ll be overnight sensations and then forces them to play seedy hole-in-the-wall bars filled with unsavory people. And he plays with Josie’s emotions way too much. I’m not sure if he’s meant to be so villainous in this book, but I certainly would not want Alan for a manager or a friend.
I feel it necessary to point out that Audrey Mox’s art style is adorable and very well drawn. She portrays everyone expressions and emotions very well, and when Melody starts tearing up when seeing a soaking wet homeless cat in the street, I actually felt really bad for it. The dialogue and story could definitely use some work. There are a few completely random and sort of forced action scenes that felt rather tacked-on. Although there were some very funny and so-bad-they’re-good puns in these scenes.