“Afterlife with Archie” deals with the zombie apocalypse that falls on the small town of Riverdale. It features all of the Archie gang you know and love – which in my case was none of them.
It might sound like a novelty – two exhausted properties, zombies and Archie, flogged even further for a quick buck. Stick with me, though, because this might be the best title I’ve stumbled upon in my search for good titles for casual comic book fans.
In the “Afterlife with Archie” series, doom comes to Riverdale. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot. You already know that zombies invade. The origin of the plague, though, is a delight best left unspoiled. The source is explained, though, in the first issue and by issue two, it’s bitey-bite-CHOMP time.
In retrospect, a horror movie set in the Archie universe seems so weirdly obvious it’s a wonder it’s just now happening. Look at the cast of characters – you’ve got the cool kid everyone likes (Archie), the rich jerk (Reggie), the spoiled rich girl (Veronica), the more wholesome girl (Betty). There’s comic relief (Jughead) and a jock (Moose). These character archetypes live and breathe (though not long) in almost every horror flick. And since you already know them, there’s no time wasted on character backgrounds – just a straight up backflip into the action.
Straight up beautiful artwork graces the pages, as well – something I’ve never associated with Archie comics. Francesco Francavilla captures the essence of the character designs, while spinning them into less “cartoony” panels. The bold lines and interesting color palette create just the right atmosphere in “Afterlife with Archie”.
The story, so far, is fantastic – well-told and with a fun blend of horror, thrills, and drama. You might notice that I omitted “humor”. To be clear, this is not a funny-book. And that’s why it works.
Fans of “The Walking Dead” who are growing weary of the same-old cycles in Kirkman’s comic should definitely check out “Afterlife with Archie”.
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