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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Afterlife With Archie (Roberto Aguirre-Sacas & Francesco Francavilla)

Zombies.

Archie.

You wouldn't expect the two of those things to fit together in a comic, right?

Well, guess again.  They fit together, and do it well.

What would you do if your pet was run over and killed?  If you're Jughead Jones, you'd perform a dark spell of resurrection to bring them back.  Too bad, it's the first step on the road to the end of Riverdale, and the life you knew...

Archie Comics shook things up in 2013 and 2014 with two big events that changed how people viewed the wholesome line of comics.  2014 July issue of "Life With Archie" saw Archie Andrews shot and killed, while October 2013 saw the first issue of "Afterlife With Archie" hitting the news stands.

When I first heard of "Afterlife With Archie", and that it was horror based, I figured that it would more or less be of a comedic nature, and keeping in line with the "family friendly" tone that the company had.

Boy, was I pleasantly surprised.

The story, while fairly standard fare in regards to zombpocalypse tales, this one was innovative just for the fact that it upturned the Archieverse completely.  The mood whiplash is intense.  You go from the bright, generally sunny and upbeat sitcom world of most Archie stories to the dark, brooding, shadowy world of Archie wielding a blood splattered bat defending his mom.

I felt that the twist on the characters is great, while maintaining the core traits that make them easily identifiable.  The way the characters are written is a bit more mature, natural, and believable too... though it causes several of them to be less likable than their mainstream versions.

"Afterlife With Archie" is marked by strong, evocative, and solid artwork that feeling fresh and new, also reminded me at times of some of the classic EC horror comics.  The use of subdued colours was contrasted beautifully with the crimson "pops".  The use of shadows, angles, and colours created a moody, noir-ish comic that visually pulled along with the story.

I've read the first volume "Escape From Riverdale" (issues 1 - 5), and am eagerly awaiting the second volume, so I can read it and add it to my library.  "Afterlife With Archie" gets a "Good" from me.

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