If you were with me this time last year, you’ll recall that Afterlife with Archie was just getting underway, and we talked about Archie’s history with monsters. I was lucky enough to track down the first issue on my annual fall trek to Chicago, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Archie comics are how I learned to read (thanks, mom!), and I will always have a special place in my heart for the Riverdale gang. We’re six issues in on Archie’s zombie epic, and it’s been a fun ride so far.
If you’re not familiar with this title, it’s not what you’d expect from a typical Archie comic. In this one, some of the old familiar characters are zombies, some are just plain dead, and the rest are terrified and on the run. It is basically The Walking Dead, but with Archie, Betty, Veronica, et al. There are real consequences. After six issues, I can tell you there’s not going to be a happy ending.
It all starts with Sabrina–Hot Dog is killed, and Jughead wants him back. She is successful, but not without sending some sinister waves throughout Riverdale. I don’t want to spoil too much, but if you’ve seen the cover art for the first issue, Jughead becomes a zombie, and it all goes to hell from there. Author Roberto Aguirre Sacasa and artist Francesco Francavilla do an amazing job in creating a frightening version of Riverdale that’s in stark contrast to the bright, cheery environment we’re used to. Francavilla’s color palette is lush and dark, using rich reds and oranges and a great deal of negative space to establish the tone of this title. As with anything he touches, it’s gorgeous and frightening. I’m so glad he’s doing both covers and interiors on this title.
My favorite issue so far was the last issue, #6. We haven’t seen much of Sabrina since the beginning, but this issue features her heavily. If you see a bit of Lovecraft in that cover art, you’re right. The story here is something out of Lovecraft or a pulp horror comic, and it’s such a great example of why this book is brilliant. It’s also a great lead-in to Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which hits stores today. (Once again, I’m on the hunt for the first issue. I’m crossing my fingers my comic guy has an extra copy.) I’m excited that Sabrina will once again be hosting an anthology of horror stories, and I’m sure you’ll see a profile of that title here this month.
So, gentle readers, have you picked up this title? What do you think?