Advance Review: Josie and the Pussycats #1

josie1coverJosie and the Pussycats #1 acts as the band’s origin story as writers Marguerite Bennett and Cameron DeOrdio, artist Audrey Mok, and colorist Andre Szymanowicz take the group from Josie singing public domain ballads to almost no one to something possibly bigger. Bennett and DeOrdio take their time and develop the personalities of Josie, Melody, and Valerie as they start to cohere into a band showing their life outside music before plunging into their first not-so-big gig.

But the main draw of Josie and the Pussycats #1 is the fashion forward, super glam artwork of Audrey Mok (The webcomic Heroine Chic), which fits into the new Archie look established by Fiona Staples while having a style all its own. Mok shows off her skills with the opening splash page of Josie singing her own original song before an imagined audience of thousands with roses everywhere. It seems like the comic is going to start out with her as an established pop star, and Szymanowicz’s use of pink on Josie’s dress, her drumset, and the flowers sell this fantasy. But it’s just a fantasy, and Josie is kind of a pariah in Riverdale with her performances earning heavy criticism from strangers and begrudging nods from her friends. Josie still thinks she’s a star, and this difference between perception and reality is what makes up the internal conflict of the comic.

The character that I fell in love with the most is the cute, happy, animal loving, and possibly not the sharpest knife in the drawer Melody. (Depending on your interest in certain four-legged animals, Melody might be more cute than cloying so caveat emptor.) She is a character that Bennett and DeOrdio could have written as a mean girl or manic pixie dream girl, but they give Melody a real thirst to help people and animals out in any way possible. This helpful attitude makes her an endearing character and makes Josie’s manipulation of her that much worse as she uses Melody’s of fluffy things to get her back in the music biz. Josie is kind of diva, to be honest.

Josie and the Pussycats #1 is yet another successful Archie reboot as Marguerite Bennett and Cameron DeOrdio create a strong narrative drive between Josie’s desire to be a solo artist with her current situation of being in a band and throw in an extended guest appearance from a famous Archie character to provide some sharp commentary on both the band’s music and personal lives. Also, Audrey Mok is a future comics superstar with an art style that is gorgeous and down to earth, stylish and humorous. I can’t wait to see how she draws Josie and the Pussycats’ future concerts.

Story: Marguerite Bennett and Cameron DeOrdio Art: Audrey Mok Colors: Andre Symanowicz
Story: 7.5 Art: 9 Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy

 Archie Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review