Josie And The Pussycats #1 – Review

Josie and the Pussycats is the fifth title in the New Riverdale series, provided you count the digital-only Kevin Keller series set a few years in the future. This series puts the girl group in matching cat-themed outfits into the more contemporary world Mark Waid has set the stage with, no pun intended. Without further ado, let’s get to the review and see if the new series holds up under scrutiny.

JOSIE#1JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS #1

GRAB THE LATEST, SUREFIRE TOP-OF-THE-CHARTS NEW RIVERDALE SERIES!

Friends, countrymen, lend me your long tails and ears for hats—the Pussycats are back! In this series kick-off, Josie’s getting the band together to help achieve her dreams of musical stardom. But for the group to last, it needs a strong foundation of friendship and trust. Can the girls get going, or will Alexandra’s plotting put a stop to the whole thing? Don’t miss comics’ supreme songstresses’ return to the limelight in this exciting first issue!

Script: Marguerite Bennett and Cameron DeOrdio
Art: Audrey Mok, Andre Szymanowicz, Jack Morelli
Cover: Audrey Mok
Variant Covers: Derek Charm, Colleen Coover, Veronica Fish, Francesco Francavilla, Robert Hack with Steve Downer, Gisele Lagace with Shouri, Alitha Martinez with Kelly Fitzpatrick, Marguerite Sauvage
Blank Sketch Variant Also Available
On Sale Date: 9/28
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

Review:

This is an origin story, which is something a little more refreshing than what I was expecting. It makes them a little more believable in modern context, albeit straining that believability with coincidence. Nevertheless, I actually like Josie, Melody and Valerie. Their story also is very isolated from the rest of the new Riverdale, although it is mentioned and there is a cameo by one of the gang. What’s really refreshing is that the characters are noticeably older, yet still fit into that general aesthetic we expect, and generally get from the new Riverdale. Having the characters older sets them apart, and we see so in the original “origin” story reprinted in the back.

What’s also great about this title is how Marguerite Bennett, Cameron DeOrdio and Audrey Mok produce a comic that breaks so much from what comic readers expect from comics. Everything is refreshingly normal. Even in the reprinted story, we see how witchcraft was used as a story element. Here, there are no fantastic, “only in a comic book” type of occurrences. These are the type of stories that I wish Marvel and DC would take a chance on telling just once in a while, like they used to. Here, it completely works on such a simple level as the story even diverts to get Melody and Josie to meet Valerie. Audrey Mok’s art has a very approachable quality that welcomes a reader in and crafts a believable world in Riverdale that we don’t get to see in the other titles that focus on High School students. I wish I could share finished pages with you but all Archie sent us was some uncolored and unlettered pages for preview art, but it’s very nice to see Audrey Mok’s work unembellished. I appreciate seeing this every so often. I thin we’ve gotten too used to seeing everything embellished with brilliant coloring (and the coloring in this issue is brilliant) to remember that the first step is an artist telling the story with no words whatsoever.

Update: I mispoke when I said “the first step” I should have said “the first visual step” or the first step in turning a story into a comic.” My apologies for creating confusion.

Josie1_ink1011Josie1_ink12

I really cannot tell more without spoiling anything, and I really want you to read this book. If you’re a fan of Jem and the Holograms, I would definitely recommend it, although it doesn’t push the social envelope as much. It has that same feeling of normal young women finding themselves in a fantastic situation. I look forward to further issues and seeing where the story goes.

Variant covers:

JOSIE#1Charmvar JOSIE#1Coovervar JOSIE#1Fishvar Josie#1Francavilla JOSIE#1Hackvar JOSIE#1Lagacevar JOSIE#1Martinezvar JOSIE#1Sauvagevar Josie#1Sketchvar