The best horror comic on the stands finally returns for a Thanksgiving themed seventh installment. Is it good?
Afterlife With Archie #7 (Archie Comics)
The issue is told from Betty’s viewpoint as she attempts to write down everything she can remember from her lost diaries.
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know much at all about the Archie universe besides common pop culture knowledge, but the opening does a wonderful summarizing and even justifying how she and a person like Veronica could become (and stay) best friends.
While Betty continues to take us through the Riverdale Gang’s past (through a decidedly dark lens), the present sees them fleeing an undead horde led by Jughead. As if that weren’t bad enough, the world around them appears to be rapidly deteriorating, which results in the less restrained and undesirable parts of everyone’s personalities being pushed to the fore… except for Archie, of course.
While Betty continues to reveal more layers of her troubled history, the past of two other Riverdale characters collide in a shocking and violent death.
Is It Good?
After a thrilling outbreak opener and a masterful Lovecraft interlude, issue seven gives us the tired and clichéd ‘people are the real monsters’ chapter of the story…except that once again, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasca takes an overdone trope and absolutely knocks it out of the park.
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know these characters very well, but Aguire-Sacasca’s character work is so good that even someone who’d never heard of Archie Comics would feel a connection to the Riverdale Gang. He perfectly walks the tightrope between dark humor and contrived drama, winking at the reader just enough to make you smile before completely breaking your heart.
The artwork by Franceso Francavilla does a superb job giving us some gorgeous, clear panels to help keep track of the talking heads. The issue is a bit too light on action, but after the craziness of last month’s installment, a little expositional breathing room is (especially when it’s this good) is easily forgivable.
…and they reference the Lovecraft issue, which made me insanely happy.
I’ve been a fan of Aguire-Sacasa ever since his run on Sensational Spider-Man a while back, but his Afterlife with Archie is next level stuff. I waited to jump on the band wagon due to zombie fatigue and the typical “But it’s Archie” dismissal.
If you’re still on the fence about this one, don’t make the same mistake I did. Do yourself a favor and start diving into one might be one of the best horror comics ever created.
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