It’s sidekick day at the Casual Geekery, with quick looks at the latest issues of Nightwing and Jughead. Now there’s a team-up that someone should make happen!

Jughead 9
Written by Ryan North
Art by Derek Charm 

Jughead Jones, quite possibly the most asexual character in all of comic books, gets asked out on a date. By a girl in a full-body hamburger costume handing out flyers outside of Pop’s Diner. Because who else would want to date Jughead?

The joke, of course, is that Jughead never sees the girl out of costume. There’s a great sequence after Burger Girl asks Jughead out where he imagines a life with the Burger Girl, always with the costume on, that reminded me of the dream sequence from Harold and Kumar go to White Castle, where Kal Penn imagines his life with a big bag of weed. I doubt it was intentional, but I had Heart’s “Crazy On You” running through my head as I flipped through the panels on my iPad.

So, we pay off the Burger Girl gag with the introduction of Sabrina the Teenage Witch into the updated Archie-Verse. I would say that this is a spoiler, but Sabrina is on the cover of the issue and the solicitation copy gives it all away if you read it before you read the issue:

Find out what happens when Jughead meets a burger he REALLY likes — and a POWERFUL and unexpected new force in Riverdale is revealed!! P.S.: that powerful and unexpected new force is SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH! SHE’S the Burger Lady!

At least we know what’s happening going in to the first page. Even knowing the payoff to the gag, Ryan North, who took over writing chores on Jughead with this issue, created a fun story and that felt right at home in any Archie Universe, old or new.

Nightwing 4
Written by Tim Seeley
Art by Javier Fernandez 

The ending of “Better Than Batman,” the first Rebirth arc for the former sidekick, fell a bit flat, I thought. Nightwing and his new partner, Raptor, find what they’re looking for, release a bunch of hostages held by the Owls and screw over the secret organization. Even with a battle in a labyrinth against a giant owl creature named Moloch (and I wonder if the Watchmen connection was purposeful or just needed for the purpose of the story), the whole thing ended nice and easy for everyone. Maybe a little too easy.

Oh, right, it was too easy, because Raptor was a triple agent, not working for the Owls, not really working with Nightwing against the Owls. Instead, he was working on behalf of Kobra to get them the intel on the Book of Wisdom that Nightwing turned over to his former spy organization, Spyral.

While this was the “end of the story arc,” Nightwing’s dealings with Raptor are clearly not over, as the final page tells readers to come back next month for the first part of the “Rise of Raptor” arc. This is, of course, after Nightwing takes part in the Batman-Detective Comics-Nightwing crossover, “Night of the Monster Men,” which makes me wonder if the first arc was rushed a bit to take part in the crossover.

Overall, some good moments, but nothing mind-blowing for Nightwing this issue.