Archie Comics has had quite the resurgence in cultural prominence over the last few years. Between Riverdale and an ongoing series that’s more serious than many of the characters’ classics, the company has opened up new possibilities for its characters. Possibilities that include not just thrusting Jughead into his own series, but into horror adventures and now…time travel? Jughead’s Time Police #1 is out this week, and it stars everyone’s favorite glutton on a new sci-fi adventure by Sina Grace, Derek Charm, Matt Herms, and Jack Morelli.
So, what’s it about?
According to the official description from Archie Comics:
BRAND NEW SERIES! When Jughead messes up his Riverdale Annual Bake-Off pie recipe so terribly, he is disqualified and banned from all future Bake-Offs! Jug goes to unthinkable lengths to fix his error: time travel! Even Riverdale’s most erudite teenager can’t manage the delicate dance of going back in time, and poor Juggie lands himself in an epic battle to keep the time stream intact!
As with any comic he’s a part of, Derek Charm’s work here is easily one of the issue’s main highlights. His style is a perfect fit for the book’s characters and tone, with both a classic simplicity and great facial expressions and body language. Most of the fun of this book comes from just watching Jughead and co. react to things, both in bits of physical comedy and some great montages. Jughead’s sadness early on at having been banned from the Bake-Off is fantastically conveyed even with very few words.
Shots of him discovering the workings of time travel are also memorable, with Charm walking us through the character’s multi-step process quickly while depicting his sheer determination. These dramatic shots of Jughead dropping the jokes for once help ground him and his motivations and allow the issue’s funny moments to stick out more in comparison. As such, the character has drive without crossing over into being a joyless angst vessel ala Riverdale.
Writing-wise, I’ve come to know Sina Grace for his sense of humor and constant use of quips. There are jokes aplenty here, and I’d say they work decently well more often than not. The pacing is also solid, with the issue setting up Jughead’s motivations, taking him on his first trip to the past, and beginning the adventure proper all by the ending cliffhanger. The dialogue is also good throughout, with Riverdale’s various inhabitants all sounding like themselves and bouncing off each other effectively.
Unfortunately, though its foundation is solid, this issue doesn’t do much to move beyond just being decent. It’s a fun time, but the little details just aren’t heightened enough. Writing-wise, some of the jokes and references feel clunky in their implementation. The attempts at humor via Jughead’s dog’s thought balloons almost always fall flat. Art-wise, characters sometimes get a bit off-model and some of the line-work is comparatively less polished. The ending splash page also feels a bit predictable in its layout as well as in how time travel itself is visualized.
So, is it good?
Jughead’s Time Police #1 is a good time, but not a great one. Charm’s artwork has a lot of…charm…(sorry), and Grace has a good handle on the characters as well as some solid comedy throughout. Nonetheless, certain details fall short in ways that, while not terrible, hold the issue back from feeling as polished and bombastic as it could otherwise.