The Archie Comics world isn't afraid to put its characters through the narrative ringer, whether transforming them into zombies and vampires or just filling their high school experience with a hearty dose of drama. With all of that in mind, the relaunch of Jughead's Time Police feels like a pretty fitting addition to the current Archie Comics canon, bringing in a tale that's the perfect blend of modern, timeless, and really, really weird.
The first issue sees Jughead Jones consumed with his entry in a pie-making contest, only to be embarrassed when the event goes sideways. Determined to right his wrongs, Jughead recruits Dilton Doiley (and eventually Archie Andrews) to help him craft a time machine—which quickly gets much more complicated than anyone intended.
While Time Police was originally introduced into the Archie Comics world in the 1990s, the application of it here feels relatively fresh. What this first issue brings is an adventure that's zany without ever being off-putting, and mixes the old and new attitudes of the Archie world without getting too hung up in either one. Sure, the series honors the modern coolness that the Archie brand has accumulated in recent years (the references to Jenny Lewis and athleisure wear make that abundantly clear), but the book as a whole feels all-ages in the vein of an old Saturday morning cartoon. Everyone can appreciate the humor and sensibility of what's happening, even if certain jokes may fly over younger readers' heads.
The issue feels like the most fitting spiritual successor to Chip Zdarsky's prior Jughead series, which turned the character into a swashbuckling pirate and a suave super spy with irreverent ease. That Derek Charm provided art for both series also helps that parallel. At his core, Jughead is an inherently zany, dorky character, which the series embraces in spades. Sina Grace crafts a version of Jughead that is a little outrageous, but really fun to read. The supporting characters around Jughead carry that sensibility as well, with Hot Dog getting some standout moments. It's unclear exactly what ground the series is going to cover next—and what ways it will differ from the previous Time Police series—but this approach to characterization and narrative should hopefully give fans hope.
Charm's art also helps set the tone of the series, bringing so much expression and intention to each panel. The characters' aesthetics and fashions are perfectly fitting but never distracting, with Dilton, in particular, getting a pretty great redesign. The approach Charm uses to draw the characters helps ground the issue in just enough reality, while also allowing cartoon-y stuff to happen. Matt Herms' color work carries through that energy, allowing the colors of a scene or setting to turn on a dime, but never become too outrageous. Jack Morelli's lettering also feels fitting for what's going on in this issue, creating a middle ground between serious and ridiculous.
With Legends of Tomorrow, Avengers: Endgame, and a whole lot more pop culture in between, time-travel stories have gotten even zanier—and more personal—than ever before. Jughead's Time Police brings that mindset to the modern Archie Comics world, in a way that might not be groundbreaking, but is unbelievably fun. Between a unique grasp on its cast of characters and a visual world that feels both nostalgic and wholly original, Time Police lays the groundwork for what will hopefully be a delightful miniseries.
Published by Archie Comics
On June 12, 2019
Written by Sina Grace
Art by Derek Charm
Letters by Jack Morelli
Colors by Matt Herms