The further along we get in this series, the more I find myself in awe. Like many, I read some Archie comics as a kid. My daughter is currently devouring every book she gets her hand on (except this one, of course). Having some sort of connection or even the slightest familiarity with the characters is an eye opening experience as we see these characters almost for the first time. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is carving out a new corner of the Archie Universe.
It’s easy to dismiss the idea of this book as a gimmick or another simple zombie story. That is absolutely not what this is. The concept of zombies may be heavy in the series but there’s so much more going on. This is the story of survival. At the same time, this isn’t just a zombie survival story either. This is a chance to find out who these characters are. Even having some previous knowledge of them, there are still moments of clarity as we discover new facts on these characters. Of course some minor details have been changed for the telling of this story.
With this new arc, the focus is on Betty Cooper. We’ve often seen poor Betty struggle to gain Archie’s attention. While seeing her backstory unfold, we do discover more on other characters, such as her older sister (who I kinda forgot existed), Archie, and, of course, Veronica. There is more depth going on and we see that life in Riverdale wasn’t always as perfect as it seemed. There are layers upon layers to the versions of the characters we're seeing here. It's great and fascinating to see these characters in such a different light. Parts of the story can get pretty heavy.
Francesco Francavilla's art is phenomenal, as usual. One of the best decisions made was to use Francavilla as the artist (he did start things off with the zombie variant cover he did for LIFE WITH ARCHIE #23). By not following the traditional Archie art style, Francavilla's art allows for the characters to have their own feel. I couldn't imagine this series with anyone else's art.
There is the bad thing with the strong possibility of what the title suggests. We are getting a big focus on Betty here so it makes sense we could expect to get the rug pulled from beneath us. The wait since the last issue was too long as well. We're like the zombies, we crave more.
AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE continues to 'wow' us with the story and character development. This isn't just "Archie with zombies." There is much more to this series than that. It's a tale of survival along with the opportunity to get to know these characters for the first time in a different setting. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla have created a wonderful new comic world that manages to punch you in the gut with each emotional development. With this the beginning of a new story arc, new readers could jump in, but readers should truly track down the previous issues or trade to get the full story. It's absolutely worth it. Seeing the Archie gang in this comic is so wrong but it's also so good to read this book.