Forget everything you know or think about Archie Comics. Well, not everything. If you know who the characters are, it adds to the enjoyment of the story. The idea of Archie characters trapped in a zombie apocalypse seemed almost absurd when it was first announced. It was an unimaginable crossover of ideas. Archie characters have always remained relatively safe in their many stories over the years. This changes everything.
The thing to keep in mind is, this is not a parody. It's possible to think of the characters as being purely two-dimensional in the safety of Riverdale but Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is showing there is much more to them. The zombie outbreak was introduced in a way that makes sense for the world of Archie and seeing how this all plays out is fascinating. We're seeing the characters fleshed out in new ways and we're getting a wider range of emotion compared to the light-hearted feel the books have been known for.
Francesco Francavilla's art makes sure you won't mistake this for a regular Archie story. His art and colors captures the dark and dreary mood of the story. Francavilla makes them all look and feel more mature. Lives are at stake and you'll easily leave behind any preconceived notions you might have had about this series.
There's a moment when the story starts to feel like it's falling into a horror movie cliche. This isn't a really bad thing but makes the story feel like it drifts away a little.
We know how this outbreak started. The story has focused on the immediate circle of Archie characters but there's word of the outbreak possibly affecting a greater portion. Hopefully we'll get some glimpses into this because it feels like it's spread really fast on a large scale if it all started with Jughead.
AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE has become a book I look forward to each month. It's hard to imagine this being an ongoing series but that makes it all the better. Archie Comics took a big risk with crossing over the beloved characters with such a dark and deadly tone. That risk is paying off in a big way. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla are doing a remarkable thing. The Archie characters have never felt so alive despite the fact that characters are actually getting killed. This isn't the Archie Comic you're used to. This isn't a cheap zombie gimmick. AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE has a great story with character development and superb art that will give you chills.