Afterlife With Archie Back from the Grave

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Afterlife With Archie Reggie Critical Blast Horror Zombies Sabrina

Okay, I'm going to start out saying this: Do not toy with my emotions, Archie Comics! Do not make me wait almost another year for the next installment of this series! I'd been told by my local comics shop guy that the series had been cancelled. I'd gone through my however-many stages of grief and had come to terms with the fact that the best series in all of comics simply had ceased to be.

And then, like the zombies who populate this new world of Riverdale, the series shambled back onto the shelf -- having lost none of its quality, none of its spirit, and none of its overall creepiness. Maybe I will get to find out the rest of the backstory to the Blossoms. Maybe I will get to see more of Jughead's ghost. Maybe I will get to see AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #10 in my lifetime.

At least, I'd better!

In this latest chapter of the story arc, we are walking down the dreaded road that we are to believe will result in the demise of one Betty Cooper -- yes, the girl next door Betty Cooper who has just accepted a marriage proposal from Archie Andrews. Some may have assumed that it would come via a horrible zombie attack, but after this issue we are reminded again that writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has many sources of horror to draw upon for this series, and not all of the monsters are supernatural.



The focus this time is on Reggie Mantle, who has been keeping to the shadows for much of the series. We know from the beginning that it was Reggie's car that struck and killed Jughead's dog, Hot Dog -- the catalyst that sent Jughead to Sabrina for a resurrection spell, which she was not allowed to perform but did anyway, which kicked off the zombie plague. We also know that Sabrina was banished for her actions to a nether realm of Lovecraftian dimensions, where she has now become the Bride of Cthulhu.

Both of these storylines come together here, as Reggie confesses his sins to Kevin Keller, knowing that somehow his actions were the root cause of the apocalypse. He wants to exile himself from the rest of the group, and wants Kevin to be his messenger as he goes off on his own to somehow set things right. But what he ultimately encounters is more than just a group of zombies, but an offer that tempts his deepest obsessions, and putting him on a path to ultimate damnation.

Francesco Francavilla's artwork hasn't lost a thing during the last nightmarish publishing hiatus. If anything, his style has improved, as he continues to deliver a vision of the Archie universe that has never been imagined before. It's an unsettling look at terrors that are both obvious and subtle, physical in the present, psychological in the past, and occultist overall.

There'd better be another issue.

5.0 / 5.0