Review: Josie and the Pussycats #1

By Dustin Cabeal

Really the only thing to say about this book is that it’s okay. It occurred to me that I have never read a Josie and the Pussycats comic and so it at least succeeded in getting me to do that. I didn’t dislike it, but I didn’t like it either. It’s okay, but really shouldn’t we want something more from a comic? The premise is... Did you see the new Jem and the Holograms movie? If you did, wasn’t it like watching the Josie and the Pussycats movie? Which is what kind of happens here. Art imitating art… imitating art or something. Granted there’s only so much you can do with the construct of this brand. It’s an all women band, and their gimmick is “pussycats” which instantly makes it feel out of place in 2016. I don’t think people have called cats “pussycats” since before I was born and I’m no spring chicken.

Okay, the actual issue. Josie apparently can’t sing. Some nemesis of hers that wants her to fail steals her notebook, and I guess I wasn’t supposed to wonder why in this issue. Perhaps the next. She forms a band with her roommate Melody who is a drummer and will give up a date with a hottie for any random stray cat. Upon taking the cat to the vet, the duo run into Valerie who they instantly nickname “Val” and form a band. They play together six hours later. Evil ex-friend of Josie’s shows up and works her weird silver tongue magic on Mel and Val until they yell at Josie.

Now get this… Josie agrees with them and apologizes for actions. Which would be fine if we had any background or development from Josie establishing this prior. But we don’t. They turn things around and the “save the pets” benefit concert that only they wanted to play and yet attracted a huge crowd, ends with them being signed to a label by the biggest donor of the event… a music exec.

Let’s ignore the fact that they wouldn’t need this benefit if an actual music exec was a donor. Okay, let’s not. That part was ridiculous along with Josie taking the high road when we don’t know anything about her. Any normal person’s reaction to being called out on things that were not their intention is to get defensive. This defied logic, but no more than it did for two people to instantly turn on her after a relative stranger talks so smack.

The writing tries. It wants you to like the characters, there’s jokes that I should maybe have laughed at, but they were softballed out there. Slow pitch, drinking league softball. Not the fast pitch that I could watch for days. None of the writing is bad, but it’s safe. The dialogue is safe and doesn’t want to make any of them too dumb or too smart which was strange. Why not? One’s a fucking vet; they have to go to school for the same amount of time as a doctor! Val is hella smart! Overall it felt like, “let’s get them together and this origin out of the way” which is probably for the best.

The art is great. Loved it. Looked great, the proportions worked. There’s different body types on women, minus our main characters or course. The animals looked like animals, and sequentially it flowed really well. The coloring was vibrant and gave the art a great look. A look that made me want to read more.

I’ll give it a second chance and maybe one more after that. I didn’t hate it. I’m not excited for it, and it’s pretty clear that it doesn’t sync up with my reading habits, and that’s fine. I don’t think it’s so safe that it’s going to pool into the rest of comics either (hear this week’s CBMFP). I just wanted to like it a lot more. I want to like a lot of the new Archie stuff, but I’m just not sure who the hell they’re written for. Teens buy video games, adults by comics. Adults of varying ages buy comics I might add. Write for them, not for the demographic that doesn’t give two shits about storytelling outside of holding a gun and shooting. I just don’t think that the new Archie has found its demographic just yet and if it has… I wonder how long they’ll stick around.

Score: 3/5

Josie and the Pussycats #1
Writers: Marguerite Bennett and Cameron Deordio
Artist: Audrey Mok
Publisher: Archie Comics