This is absolutely not your typical ARCHIE comic. The story starts out with Hot Dog, Jughead's dog getting hit by a car and a visit to Sabrina's house for some magical help. We're talking death, blood and the rules against necromancy. Not something you really see in an average ARCHIE issue.
Francesco Francavilla isn't a stranger to the world of Archie. Having drawn the ARCHIE MEETS KISS miniseries, he returns to create the perfect vibe for this story. There is no sign of the sweet and innocent feel of the Archie stories. It's series business when Jughead has to deal with a sense of loss and the lengths he is willing to go. When the truth comes out, it's not a pretty sight. There will be consequences -- serious consequences. Trust me when I say it's not a pretty sight.
Reading the issue and waiting for everything to utterly hit the fan, you're left with a deep feeling of dread and a tiny bit of revulsion. We've all seen plenty of these types of stories in different mediums but because it's happening in the innocent sugary world of Riverdale, something feels so wrong. Yet, you won't be able to stop reading. That's what makes this a great horror story. You're supposed to feel bad or even disgusted. I definitely felt some of that here.
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa bridges the world of horror and Archie in a way you never thought possible. He knows the characters and easily transforms them into this absolutely disturbing world. Francesco Francavilla's art pushes the concept over the top. The characters do look a little different from their normal style but Francavilla makes the story all the more believable with the magic he's able to do.
Most importantly, this is not a comic for kids.
There are a few pop culture references. There's mention of other horror movies such as A Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween as well as the AMC channel and Man Vs. Food. It's not a completely bad thing as it grounds the story a little in our reality and there have been other mentions in ARCHIE comics before. It just felt a little weird.
It'll be interesting to see how this holds up as an ongoing series.
How could something so wrong feel so right? It didn't seem like crossing ARCHIE characters and zombies could fit together but Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla make it work perfectly. It could be easy to dismiss the idea as a gimmick to cash in on the zombie genre but the zombie craze isn't what it used to be. Instead, we get a fascinating meshing of these two worlds and, as horror stories should, it will make you feel completely uneasy in the pit of the stomach. If you're even slightly familiar with Archie and the gang and enjoy a good horror or zombie story, you owe it to yourself to check this out. You'll definitely want to sink your teeth into it. Just be sure to keep it away from the children.