Release Date: September 28, 2016 (first issue); June 13, 2017 (trade)
Publisher: Archie Comics
Genre: Young Adult
“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 Cabot’s plotting put a stop to the whole thing? Don’t miss comics’ supreme songstresses’ return to the limelight in this exciting first volume!” (via Goodreads)
The basic plot is this: Josie, Valerie, and Melody get signed to a record company, and their new manager, Alan M., sends them on a whirlwind tour. They race bikers to get out of a shady contract and take down a DJ slash exotic animal smuggler all while Josie’s arch nemesis Alexandra Cabot tries to destroy their careers. Along the way, Josie learns the importance of teamwork, Valerie deals with twentysomething ennui, and Melody kicks ass. There’s a splash of romance, a dash of action, and a whole lotta friendship. The first volume ends of a kicker of a cliffhanger. I just ordered volume 2 from my local comic shop, and it can’t come soon enough!
Each character sparkles with personality, even the minor, one-issue-and-done characters. Josie is nominally the lead – her insecurities drive the plots and put her in conflict with Alexandra – but the Pussycats, Alan M., and Alexandra get plenty of shading and things to do. No one is wasted space or a throwaway. What a testament to Marguerite Bennett and Cameron DeOrdio’s skills as writers to be able to bring deep nuance to such a light series.
Josie is also laugh-out-loud hilarious. It is dense with pop culture references, and the characters break the fourth wall enough to make even Deadpool jealous. DeOrdio and Bennett’s text is witty and goofy, and is sharpened into a fine, funny point by Audrey Mok’s adorably lovely art. Andre Szymanowicz and Kelly Fitzpatrick’s colors are brilliant and bubbly that practically pop off the page. As usual Jack Morelli’s lettering is solid. He’s great at breaking up large blocks of dialogue into manageable bites and structuring text so it’s easy to read and accessible for newbies.
Despite whatever snarky, snobby things you’re thinking, Archie Comics is one of the best comics publishers out there. Yeah, I said it. Their series are consistently entertaining and enjoyable, with strong, inventive creatives and a sense of risk and adventure. Since the company’s relaunch a few years back, I have yet to read a bad series from Archie Comics. So it should be no surprise that Josie and the Pussycats is a goddamn delight. Make your reading life a little sunnier and pick up this series today.
Do the world a favor and buy this from your local comic book store or borrow it from your public library.