by Roberto Aguierre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla
It’s been a few months since a new issue of Afterlife With Archie has hit the shelves, which makes this new issue very exciting! If you’ve read a zillion other things since then, it’s probably a good idea to go back and read issue #7 as a refresher (though this new issue does add a bit to help catch you up, just in case). It’s hard to be upset that it sometimes takes so long between issues, because such a fantastic book is worth the wait.
The eighth installment of the Afterlife series is no disappointment; the entire series has been awesome, and this issue is no exception. This issue alludes to a certain horror movie, as well as a certain ghostly Christmas book–but don’t worry, you don’t necessarily have to have seen or read either of those to get what’s going on, it’s just an added bonus if you have. Not a lot actually happens in this issue, it’s more of a look back to things that have already happened, and things that have happened between this issue and the previous one. There are a few moments where you’ll stop and think, “wait a second,” and at the end you’ll just be wondering… well, a lot of things. The dialogue in this issue is fantastic; there is a real sense of how the people in the group are changing and responding to one another and to things that have happened. There are also some hints to witches again (remember that Sabrina issue of Afterlife?), and the paranormal. The only somewhat odd thing about the story in this issue is the fact that people are mentioned in it who haven’t really been heard from for ages, to the point that they’ve sort of been forgotten about. That’s a bit strange, but of course it’s nothing that will really bring down the whole story overall.
It can’t be said enough how perfect Francavilla’s art is for this series. It is simple, and only contains a handful of colors. It doesn’t take away from the story, and also compliments the dark feeling of it perfectly. In this issue in particular, reds and soft blues play a big part in setting the feeling of the present day. Black and white sketches make up the past. Yellows add to the sense of strangeness in certain panels. And that’s really all there is, and all there needs to be. No other artist could possibly bring to Afterlife what Francavilla does. And while on the subject of art, that first real page of the issue is awesome (there’s a reference here, if you know it!), and the variant cover is to die for. All of the covers of this series have been fantastic, but that variant is probably the best one yet.
Let it be known: this issue will leave you hanging, and wondering… and generally just eager for the next issue, so fingers crossed we don’t have to wait too long for issue #9!