Let's start off by making it clear, this is a serious story. Or at least it's as serious as any zombie apocalypse story can be. It's easy to dismiss this simply because it involves the wholesome Archie characters. It's because those characters are involved that you feel more of a connection.
To briefly recap, some dark forces have been unleashed upon Riverdale. The exact reason is better experienced if you read the first issue for yourself. The results were good old Jughead Jones getting bit and turned into a zombie. Riverdale is a world where zombies only exist in the movies and stories. With this outbreak beginning on Halloween night, you can imagine how prepared people will be.
This isn't your typical gruesome zombie story. Because of the innocence of the characters involved, you do feel for them and feel uneasy as the story continues. Hearing one of the character recount what happened carries a lot of weight. We're seeing a different side to these characters and this naked emotion is eye-opening. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa adds more depth to them. They don't feel as two-dimensional as you might be used to. It's almost as if they've been given life, only to have it all put in jeopardy.
Francesco Francavilla does a phenomenal job on the art. He captures every ounce of terror in the mood of the story. It's a dark story and you can see and feel the vibe the story calls for. The art style also separates it enough from the traditional Archie art style yet still has that feeling of familiarity that makes you feel concern for these long-existing teens.
This is a story of survival. You will want to see the characters reach safety and not hope to see Archie or some other character get chomped by a zombie for the sake of a laugh.
There is that feeling of weirdness since it's the Archie characters. Archie mentioning trying to sneak into Veronica's bedroom window feels strange. But we are talking about these characters in a completely different type of story. Anyone buying this really needs to ensure it doesn't get into the hands of younger readers.
I am still completely sold on this concept. We've seen plenty of zombie stories. We've even seen zombie stories cross over with established characters in comics. This is a different pairing that was completely unexpected. The idea of the clean and wholesome Archie characters facing death and mutilation is bizarre. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa easily makes it work. The key to zombie survival stories is caring about the survivors. Because of their nature, you won't want to see any harm come to these characters. That's what makes it more compelling and gives you that slightly sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. Francesco Francavilla's art is a perfect fit for the dark and suspenseful tale. You haven't seen an Archie story like this and you won't want to miss it. Just be sure you're not too squeamish and be sure to keep it away from the kids.