Rating: 5/5 – Francavillla, Zombies and…Archie? Perfect!!
It’s been a LONG time since I’ve last read an Archie book. And although this may not be your typical Archie comic, it still counts. Afterlife with Archie number one combines the popularity of zombies, the beautiful and stylish art of Francesco Francavilla and…Archie. I absolutely loved this first issue. If you’re a fan of any of the three things mentioned above, you should be picking this up.
Let’s start with the art. Right from the fantastic cover with the haunting image of Jughead’s up-close and zombified face, you can tell that this won’t be your typical Archie comic. As you turn to the first page you start to see the moody oranges that can typically be found in Francavilla’s work. As Jughead stands at the front door of Sabrina the Teenage Witch’s home, he’s holding the body of his dead dog, begging for help. It’s a powerful image that sets the tone not only for the story, but for the artwork as well. Francavilla will continually use oranges, grays and blues to provide the atmosphere, while his page layouts and panels give the book that old E.C. comics feel. There’s so many panels that stick out in this book it’s tough to select the best, but a startling image of a zombie Hot Dog biting Jughead’s arm, to a quieter, but moody Jughead and Sabrina standing in the rain are just two that immediately come to mind. Francavilla is one of my favorite artists today, and his work here is some of his best.
Although it’s a relatively straight forward storyline, seeing these characters in this type of setting left me excited for what comes next. Writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa adds some nice humor that these characters are known for, while still providing the scares and creepiness that a story like this deserves. Although I felt that the story of Jughead turning into a zombie could have lasted a bit longer, it’s a minor nitpick in an otherwise perfectly paced story. I’d also like to mention the brilliant lettering by Jack Moreli. There’s plenty of scenes in this first issue where the lettering takes a panel to another level. Take for instance the example mentioned above of Hot Dog biting Jughead’s arm. That panel is framed with huge orange letters spelling out the word CHOMP! Without the lettering, the panel wouldn’t have quite the same effect as it does. Throughout the book there are numerous instances like this and Moreli’s work is a key part to the overall look.
To say that I was pleasantly surprised by this book would be an understatement. I’m so on-board with this series and hope that it can continue for the foreseeable future with this creative team at the helm. I’ve already read this issue twice and plan on reading it one more time before the second issue hits. Who knew an Archie book could be one of my favorite books of the year?!
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas – firstname.lastname@example.org
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