Afterlife with Archie #4
By Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Francesco Francavilla
Oh boy… it’s pretty much first think in the morning and these two have already pulled on the ol’ heart strings. In a zombie book, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla have struck just the right cords and, really, changed the tone for this issue. This issue is more about personal loss than the other ones, even though they did include loss and death. Not being overly attached to these characters and their families and friends, it was an odd feeling to be affected by the first handful of pages of this book. If nothing else, it speaks to the skill that RAS (Roberto Agguire-Sacasa) and Francavilla have.
As mentioned, this issue deals with more personal loss than we’ve had to face thus far in this series. RAS not only gets these characters, he gets his audience. He understands what emotions to prey on, so to speak, and how to really add major impact to each panel and bubble or narrative box. Continually through these first couple of issues RAS has given us fantastic character moments and a fantastic story. He’s just a hell of a talented writer and creator, which might explain why Archie Comics recently made him their Chief Creative Officer—yeah he’s that good.
When it comes to Francesco Francavilla, what can you really say? He’s just supremely talented, he’s versatile, and he’s a master of the “Francavillian” style (no longer just pulp/noir) who has, without a doubt, become a giant in the comic and art industry. He really, truly, can do no wrong. This is a guy that can draw the eyes of a dog and even if there was nothing else on the page you would know what was going on, and what the dog was thinking and feeling. He adds so many layers and has such an impact on the script, it’s almost unnatural. Anything with his name on it deserves—no, demands—your money because there is no way you can go wrong.
Francavilla and RAS have not only done something new and amazing with long established characters that, frankly, nobody thought would be in this sort of situation, but they’ve done it on a level that makes most books look silly in comparison. This series, and this issue especially, really turns up the tension and emotion and leaves an interesting cliff hanger for people to agonize another month over. Everybody knows Archie and the main supporting cast, or at least they understand the main points of them, so there’s no excuse to not pick this series up. It’s everything, and more, you could want in not only a zombie apocalypse book but also in a comic. This is a new measuring stick for comic book quality, so go pick it up. Right now.