Skip to main content

REVIEW: Afterlife with Archie #7 by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
 and Francesco Francavilla


Afterlife with Archie is back with a second arc to the brilliant horror series featuring the gang from Riverdale. The innocent charm of Archie, Jughead, and Betty was turned upside down by a zombie apocalypse that was brought on by Sabrina's  forbidden spell. It was a shocking approach for the traditionally saccharin band of schoolmates but writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has created a truly terrifying book as seen through familiar eyes and masterfully illustrated by Francesco Francavilla. 

Thanksgiving brings a pause to bury the dead and reflect but also to find some sense of normalcy in a world overrun by the undead. Betty turns to writing in a diary as she once did before her friends like Jughead, or Jugdead as they call him now, turned. Entitled “Betty: R.I.P. Chapter Two” the diary entries provide some background through flashbacks of Betty’s contentious relationship with her sister Polly, her tempestuous friendship with Veronica and how Archie became the tip of this love triangle. It’s a rather slow, contemplative expository of moments that describe how our favorite characters got to where they are but without the campy fun hijinks we’ve known and loved for decades. There is some great character development in this realistic take that gives Betty more depth as her thoughtful earnest feelings about those around her come clearly in focus.

Aguirre-Sacasa clearly loves these characters as the readers do and his characterizations are respectful, introspective and never caricatures. After the mayhem from the last issue when Sabrina was forced to marry Cthulhu this respite to try and observe a holiday is a welcomed one. It allows them to catch their breath and reset which is also a perfect time for new readers to jump aboard this marvelous series. Archie isn’t as conflicted as he’s been historically portrayed in his feelings for both Betty and Veronica. He’s decided and it feels genuine. There is a slow build-up that Aguirre-Sacasa expertly crafts to lull the reader in a sense of serenity only to have that peace shattered by a horde of walking dead. The survivors also recount how they’ve all shared the same dream about Sabrina. As things get weirder the Blossom twins provide another level of creepiness that puts a nice exclamation point of dread on the issue.

None of this would be as good as it is without the enormously talented art of Francavilla. His pulpy illustrations and vibrant colors fit perfectly with the nostalgic aura of the Riverdale gang. And no one does monsters and zombies better than Francavilla whose love of classic creature features is lovingly infused in his work. It’s even more revelatory that some of his best work lies not in the bloody clashes from zombies but from subtle nuanced panels of a jealous sister, arms folded looking annoyed towards her favored little sister among her parents. His work conveys so much with so little effort that he’s as much a storyteller as the writer.


Afterlife with Archie #7 is the calm before the storm, a probing look into the dynamics of Betty, Veronica and Archie. The series may have been viewed as a gimmicky genre mash-up before it debuted but instead it’s one of the best comic books in any genre that reinvents beloved long-time characters and fleshes them out into three-dimensional beings much like ourselves with emotions, fears, and personal baggage. We are invested in them and it makes the horror of the day even more shocking and unexpected. This is one series not to be missed. 



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

NYCC: Dynamite's Next 25-Cent Revival is 'Dejah Thoris' with Amy Chu

The Princess of Mars is set to return to her throne this January, as Dynamite Entertainment announces the relaunch of one of their most beloved characters, Dejah Thoris. Writer Amy Chu (Poison Ivy, Red Sonja, KISS) will bring the strong, iconic character back to the comics in the debut issue Dejah Thoris #0, which will retail for 25 cents and allow fans to join the adventure at this introductory price.


This replicates the outstanding debut of Sheena #0, which broke 120,000 sales. Retailers can confidently stock their shelves with extra copies of this red-hot new series.

This exciting prequel to Edgar Rice Burroughs' beloved book, A Princess of Mars, will delve into the untold story of the classic Red Martian princess!  After learning of the legendary Gardens of Mars from her grandfather, Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium, sets off on a dangerous scientific expedition to save her dying planet. But things don't go the way she planned when she encounters a mysterious Green Martian…

PREVIEW: 'Sovereigns' #5 by Ray Fawkes and Dylan Burnett

This is it!  All your questions will be answered, all the mysteries revealed!  What has obliterated humanity?  What the hell happened to the moon?  What is the true nature of the Hidden Jungle?  Why do the heroes you know and love—Turok, Magnus and Doctor Spektor—seem like completely different people?  And perhaps most importantly, how will the world be saved, and at what cost?



DOCTOR SPEKTOR PART 6: The story of the all-new master (and we use the term lightly) sorcerer continues... when Doc gets drunk & summons a demon – and good decision-making ensues!
Sovereigns #5
writers: Ray Fawkes (main),        Aubrey Sitterson (Doctor Spektor) artists: Johnny Desjardins (main),              Dylan Burnett (Doctor Spektor) covers: Stephen Segovia (A)               Johnny Desjardins (B)               Fred Hembeck (C)               Kenan Yarar (D)               Stephen Segovia (RI-B/W) FC  •  32 pages  •  $3.99  •  Teen +











REVIEW: 'Witchblade' #1 by Caitlin Kittredge, Roberta Ingranata, and Bryan Valenza

The next iteration of Witchblade has arrived and Top Cow has assembled another great creative team to bring the legendary wielder of the powerful artifact to life.


WITCHBLADE #1
Writer: Caitlin Kittredge Artist: Roberta Ingranata, Bryan Valenza Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: December 6, 2017 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)
Handed down from one worthy woman warrior to another for ions, the Witchblade gauntlet has chosen its next host in wartime journalist Alex Underwood. She suffers from PTSD and helps battered women find justice. The book opens with her bloodied and dying. The non-linear story jumps around from what led up to her situation, to helping an abused cop's wife, to having visions probably induced by the gauntlet. She rejects the growing power of the Witchblade it but that could kill her. 
The trouble with origin stories like this is the predictability of passing the torch to another chosen one. We know that Alex will eventually take to the Witchblade and use…

WONDER WOMAN OF THE DAY: Fitness Model Gia Macool Embodies the Amazon Princess

The closest we'll ever get, probably, to superheroes in real life is through the great work of cosplayers. You see them at every pop culture convention from the very basic to extremely elaborate costume design. However, you don't have to be a cosplayer to enjoy dressing up as your favorite superhero from time to time. Take fitness model and entrepreneur Gia Macool for example. An accomplished fitness competitor and model, Macool is also a big fan of DC Comics' Wonder Woman. She shows her love of the iconic Amazon Princess in her fitness wear, meal prep accessories and even a full blown photo shoot in a Wonder Woman costume. 

For decades comics have featured very muscular superheroes, male and female, epitomizing the human form at its strongest. So when bodybuilders and fitness pros decide to suit up as these costumed heroes, they are the embodiment of those fictional characters in the flesh. Macool looks like she stepped out of the pages of a Wonder Woman comic with a suit …

Fred Van Lente & CAFU Decode ARMSTRONG AND THE VAULT OF SPIRITS #1

Valiant announces ARMSTRONG AND THE VAULT OF SPIRITS #1 – a hard-charging, standalone special coming this winter from New York Times best-selling writer Fred Van Lente (ARCHER & ARMSTRONG, Incredible Hercules) and red-hot rising star CAFU (RAPTURE)! On February 7th, join in a riotous celebration for the ages as Armstrong, for the very first time, uncorks the ancient mysteries of his centuries past – and dares his closest comrades into the adventure of several lifetimes!

Deep beneath New York City’s seediest dive bar, Armstrong – the hard-hitting, harder-partying immortal veteran of history’s greatest escapades – is hosting an invitation-only affair for his most beloved friends and allies! Archer… Ivar, Timewalker… Faith… Quantum and Woody… And special guests from across the Valiant Universe… All have been offered a seat at the table for a personally guided tour of Armstrong’s most valuable and tightly guarded treasure… From the Great Flood to ancient Greece to the height of the C…