Review: Josie and the Pussycats #4

josie4coverJosie and the Pussycats #4 goes all Audrey Hepburn in an homage to Roman Holiday as a band that was playing random gazebos has truly hit the big time playing a gig at the Colosseum. Writers Marguerite Bennett and Cameron DeOrdio continue to almost too clever for their own good with a script that is brimming with pop culture and literary references, awareness of the fourth wall, frenetic flirting, and so many puns. Josie is self-indulgent, and it knows it with artist Audrey Mok and colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick upping the “production values” of the backgrounds and clothes that the Pussycats wear starting with a music video shoot featuring luscious tiaras and Corinthian columns.

The conflict at the crux of Josie and the Pussycats #4 is one that many big time musicians and bands deal with once they hit a certain level of fame. Do they focus on image or just on the music? Who cares what costumes you wear on your live show, or if Martin Scorsese, Spike Jonze or hot director flavor of the month directed your music video if the music itself sucks. Both Josie and her music manager/object of lust Alan agree that image is important because they have dreamed about making it big in the music industry. Except Alan just sees Josie as a potential pop goddess and not the wonderful young woman that she is to her friends.  Fitzpatrick turns up the pinks, and Mok adds rose petals and gorgeous architecture to craft a classic film worthy romantic moment as their witty banter turns into quieter activities. However, Josie’s real “happy ending” happens in a very different way as Bennett, DeOrdio, and Mok show that “nice guys” don’t usually live up to that adjective.

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Valerie is the most talented and wisest Pussycat/character in general even if Josie steals a lot of the spotlight because of her desire for fame and self-involvement that she is slowly becoming more self-aware about that. There’s a double page spread of Valerie and Josie just talking out their issues after Josie catches Alan kissing another girl at the same “special” spot that they smooched earlier. They talk about how adult relationships are complicated, and sometimes people want different things out of them. Valerie and Melody have a great dynamic when dealing with Josie’s heartbreak with Melody providing the berserker rage and cartoonish reaction shots where she wants to kill Alan and eat his skull. Then, Valerie provides the even keeled advice and compliments about Josie getting vulnerable and not hiding beneath her pop star veneer. And they’re all friends and get to show that off with an energetic headlining gig at the Colosseum while beating up diamond thieves on stage.

Josie and the Pussycats #4 has running gags centered around the emotions that different Rihanna songs bring to go with the usual plot structure jokes, like characters insisting that their life is like a Saturday night cartoon. Marguerite Bennett and Cameron DeOrdio bring the candy covered clever in their script while still letting their characters have complicated feelings while Audrey Mok and Kelly Fitzpatrick bring out each Pussycat’s unique beauty and style and getting to do a little Sailor Moon homage along the way. They excel at both butt kicking and smooching.

If Josie and the Pussycats #4 was a pop song, it would be one with an infectious melody, glossy production, and intelligent lyrics like the adopted love child of Marina Diamandis and Florence Welch with just a dollop of Beyonce. Josie herself is the comic book equivalent of Lana Del Rey with her sad eyes, well-coifed image, and deep reference pool.

Story: Marguerite Bennett and Cameron DeOrdio Art: Audrey Mok Colors: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Story: 9.5 Art: 9 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

 Archie Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review