Current Reviews


Jughead & Friends Digest #28

Posted: Monday, July 7, 2008
By: Penny Kenny

Archie Comics
Look out Indy! You’ve got some competition. “Riverdale” Jones is on the trail of adventure – and food! After finding his great uncle’s journal and a map showing the location of the legendary “Chilly Grail” Jughead, with Archie in tow, heads off to Farlandia.

“Riverdale Jones and the Temple of Food” is a simple, straightforward adventure, with a humorous twist ending. Writer/Artist Fernando Ruiz includes plenty of visual and verbal nods to the Indiana Jones franchise, though with a Jughead spin: “Shakes…why did it have to be shakes?”

Ruiz’s character designs are clean and attractive. Jughead looks almost – gasp – handsome in some panels. Likewise the page and panel layouts have a crisp, easy to follow structure. The settings are detailed, but don’t overpower the eye. Ruiz takes scenes familiar from the movies and combines them with the “Archie” look to create a fun homage. Using a variety of angles, he gives the action a sense of movement and flow. Barry Grossman turns in some beautiful coloring. The panel of black shadows running across a yellow background breaks up the page and heightens the drama, while also having a Pop Art feel. His shadowing in the panel when Jughead enters the temple adds an appropriately ominous look without obscuring the action.

The “I Go Ogopogo!” reprint casts Jughead in the unusual role of detective in a mystery that’s part X-Files, part Scooby-Doo. On a trip to Toronto, Jughead and his reporter uncle Clabberhead investigate the Odd Institute and its claim that it’s discovered an Ogopogo monster in Lake Ontario. In an intriguing subplot, red-headed reporter Sarah trails after them, convinced she’s in the company of the brave, clever, brilliant, heroic, romantic Sam! Who’s a dead-ringer for Jughead! This is a smart, fun story. Facts and fair play clues are sprinkled throughout the panels, for those clever enough to notice them. Seeing Jughead use his intelligence for a greater purpose is always a treat, and the unresolved “Sam” subplot leaves readers wanting more. The unidentified art has a Rex Lindsey look to it. Its panels are denser in composition than Ruiz’s, but feature the same clean character design.

On a lighter note, “Rough and Tumble” has Jug coming into possession of a box of pineapples. The story requires him to be dumber than usual, but it does have some amusing visual gags.

Dog fans are in for a treat this issue, as not one, but two stories cast a dog in the starring role. In “Charade” a That Wilkin Boy reprint, troublemaker Teddy Tambourine sends hero Bingo on a wild goose chase. It’s up to the dog Rebel to save the day. While I’m not a huge fan of Bingo and his cadre, this story is worth taking a look at. Goofy fun, it’s notable for Rebel’s acting ability and the wild fashions.

Hot Dog closes out the issue in Fernando Ruiz’s “Dog House Warming”. The pampered pooch has gotten a new dog house, but he’s finding it difficult to take occupancy. This six-pager takes a really wonky turn on page five before coming to a predictable ending, but the twist is just strange enough that it makes the story.

While you won’t miss anything marvelous if you don’t happen to pick this issue up, picking it up guarantees you some smiles, chuckles, and fun.

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