Afterlife with Archie #4 Review

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Afterlife with Archie has been critically acclaimed and rightfully so.  It’s a book that could have been a disaster but is instead a serious and frightening read.  Issue four has finally hit and Major Spoilers eagerly picked it up and tore through it like a zombie through flesh.  Read on for the review!

 

Afterlife Archie_4_coverAFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #4
Writer: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Artist: Francesco Francavilla
Letterer: Jack Morelli
Editor: Jesse Goldwater
Publisher: Archie Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in Afterlife with Archie: After Jughead becomes a zombie and infects a majority of the town, Archie and his friends take refuge at Veronica’s mansion.  Realizing his parents are still out there, Archie decides to take his chances to go look for them.

 

ARCHIE’S TRUE BEST FRIEND

I knew I would love this issue after reading the first four pages.  We get a flashback to Archie getting his first dog Vegas, and it’s a touching but sad moment.  Archie’s mother remembers the loss of her dog Spotty and the pain it brought and doesn’t want Archie to experience the same.  As Archie’s father points out, it’s a fact of life and part of growing up.  As a dog lover and someone who has lost some I’ve been very close to, this resonated with me.  Vegas lovingly sacrifices himself to save Archie from Hot Dog, thinking “Live, Archiemaster.  Thank you. Love you. Forever.”  I’ve never read an Archie comic in my life but Sacasa (Aguirre-Sacasa?) made me care for an unfamiliar character within six pages that I was devastated by Vegas’s death, even more-so than any other that’s occurred.  It’s this quality writing that makes this book great.  The story continues to move at a quick pace and has yet to flounder while also touching on other character’s situations.  Cheryl and Jason Blossom’s creepy relationship continues and it’s not clear exactly what their deal is, which is my only problem with the issue.  That could be due to lack of Archie knowledge though.  Sacasa is hitting all the right notes for a zombie horror book and is able to shock the reader.  I’m hoping he takes it further and kills more main characters to really put a spin on the story.  It would be awesome to see Archie become a zombie and would really turn the book on its head.  That’s probably a long shot considering his name’s in the title but regardless, I’m not gonna stop reading this book any time soon.

BLOOD SPLATTERED REALISM

What can be said about Francesco Francavilla’s art that hasn’t been said?  His style is perfect for this book and he does a wonderful job giving Archie characters realistic features.  This gives a real world feel and I don’t think the book would work as well in another style, especially the original Archie one.  Coloring is amazing with blues, purples and blacks the majority which allows the oranges and reads to pop.  When the violence and gore hit, it’s even more apparent.  Francavilla continues to add subtle drops and splatters of red on pages that lend an even more horrific look as though you’re holding a book splashed in blood.  I can see why some may not like his art as it deceivingly looks simplistic at first glance.  That couldn’t be further from the truth and close study will reveal his true talents.

BOTTOM LINE: I FEEL SORRY FOR YOU IF YOU’RE NOT READING THIS

If you listen to the Major Spoilers podcast (and if not, why?), you’ve no doubt heard Stephen sing Afterlife with Archie’s praises.  All that praise is deserved and this issue earns it.  I would go so far as to say it’s the best yet.  The letter column’s promise of Josie and the Pussycats appearing has me absolutely giddy.  If you’ve yet to read Afterlife with Archie I feel sorry for you.  You’re missing out on a wonderful book and your life must be awful.  I’m kidding of course.  Zombies aren’t for everyone but this book rocks!