by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Francesco Francavilla
Anyone who checked out the first issue of Afterlife with Archie last month was pleasantly surprised, both long time Archie fans and newbie’s who came to check it out. With the release of issue two this week, it made that first issue seem like an appetizer. The second issue really ups the ante and horror of this series and now everyone in Riverdale are at risk of the undead.
The whole concept of taking one of the most consistently light-hearted comic series ever and throw a horror twist in it seems so obvious now when you read it that you begin to wonder why it took so long to do this type of book. Things like this are about timing and not only was this the right time but also the right team of creators to tell this story while still being able to keep these characters familiar and true. Last issue we just had to worry about an undead Hot Dog and Jughead but by the end of this issue things have become a full blown outbreak all over town and the creeping horror has now become intense hysteria. Being able to make this series not only good but beneficial to both old and new readers of Archie is no small feat and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa really does a flawless job of it.
What can be said about Francesco Francavilla’s art that hasn’t already been said? His pulp, throwback style and warm color palettes have made his art beautifully stand out but has also garnered a well deserved cult following. It can be said that his style not only was perfect for this kind of book but it also brought a lot of artistic merit and a slew of new fans to the Archie franchise. Francavilla’s art turns the usual disturbing and grotesque style of a zombie story and just makes the whole thing look stunning while still being able to reflect the true terror of the story. When you think about it, there is a fine line you can walk artistically when doing an Archie zombie story that could go from scary to corny real fast which is why this style of art not only works for this series but also heightens the overall sense of fear.
You really couldn’t ask for a better crafted series, both the writer and artist complement each other’s strengths while keeping a tight paced narrative. This is a zombie book that readers who may not like the horror genre will find enjoyment in; this is an Archie comic that could change the minds of people who easily dismissed Archie comics in the past. This comic is like a glimpse of the crossroads between new and old, heavy and light, good and bad, all meeting. As a reader you just want to stop and take in Afterlife with Archie and enjoy this rare type of genre morphing comic that surprisingly doesn’t come around that often.