Review: Josie and the Pussycats #8
In the penultimate issue of Josie and the Pussycats #8, the band does Japan with the Archies in tow. Writers Marguerite Bennett and Cameron DeOrdio also bring a boatload of romantic angst to their script as Alexandra Cabot (who recently became friends with Josie again) becomes friends with benefits with the Pussycats’ manager Alan M, who broke Josie’s heart a few issues back. Audrey Mok and Kelsey Shannon’s art is glorious per usual, and they get to fly high fashionwise when the Pussycats and Archies visit the Harajuku District, which ends up to be a calculated move in former supervillain, Alex Cabot’s bid to be their new manager.
The crossover with the Archies is handled in DeOrdio and Bennett’s usually clever way as Alex slips that it was a “PR move” on Josie’s part to let a bunch of cool teens who believe the world revolves around them (Except for Jughead, duh.) open for them. This joke has another, meta, comic book industry level because companies often bring in more popular characters to save lower performing books from cancellation, which is like Deadpool’s only job. And who’s more popular at Archie Comics than Archie? The Archies are used mainly for comedy/cliffhanger setting up, but Deordio, Bennett, Mok, Shannon, and colorists Kelly Fitzpatrick and Matt Herms include a wonderful shopping montage featuring Veronica and Melody, who bond over great outfits and selfie filters.
Other than the frankly insane and Saturday morning cartoon type ending, the main conflict in Josie #8 comes from the not-so-great people that still have an influence on the band, namely, the Cabot siblings and Alan M. Alan M and Alexandra spend most of the issue eating tasty ramen and having cringeworthy banter about their relationship status. It’s the dark mirror of the Josie/Alan M adorableness in Josie #4 so Fitzpatrick and Herms’ palette is more restrained and not so romantic. They do pour on the intense blues and pinks when Josie finds out about their tryst in an extremely emotional sequence. Josie, Valerie, and Melody are a cool right now, but they should really find a new manager who isn’t a total player or supervillain-turned-sycophant, who makes random Sean Connery references. Those kind of people are great for drama purposes though.
In Josie and the Pussycats #8, Audrey Mok and Kelsey Shannon demonstrate that they’re the perfect artists to draw high grade angst with close-up shots of Josie and Alexandra crying over their shared soft boy experience. This builds nicely from a quick shot/reverse shot sequence at the Shinto festival the bands go to where Josie almost puts together the Alexandra/Alan M shaped pieces and is cushioned in a few panels that focus on Josie, Valerie, and Melody’s flawed, yet amazing friendship. Yay, hugs!
Josie and the Pussycats #8 has comedy, sadness, and a few great Jughead one-liners plus Audrey Mok and Kelsey Shannon’s intricate attention to costuming and setting, which makes me excited for Mok taking over as the main artist on Archie. Marguerite Bennett and Cameron DeOrdio craft a solid story out of the lingering feeling Josie has for Alan M plus the drama bomb that is the Cabot siblings and then go bonkers at the end because the next issue is the last one.
Story: Marguerite Bennett and Cameron DeOrdio Art: Audrey Mok and Kelsey Shannon Colors: Kelly Fitzpatrick and Matt Herms
Story: 8.5 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy
Archie Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review