Rating: 5/5 – Josie & the Pussycats Enter the Afterlife Universe.
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.
This series is good. Damn good. This is the fifth time it has been reviewed on ComicSpectrum in its short 10-issue lifespan: Twice by Shawn Hoklas, by Kevyn Knox, by Adam Alamo, and now finally by me. Every time it has gotten a 5/5 rating. That’s a pretty strong consensus across 4 different reviewers. I’ll also point out that the book has come out at a pretty glacial pace; issue #1 came out in October 2013. But this is a book that is definitely worth the wait and I’d rather see it continued by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla at whatever pace they can manage instead of handing it off to other creators who will tell the story differently, even if they do a great job.
This extra-length 33 page issue was a change of pace from the normal zombie apocalypse fare. The story is set before the zombie plague, going all the way back to 1906 and checking in with our characters every decade or so. Aguirre-Sacasa does a tremendous job showing the band being retooled, reworked, and renamed across the musical eras. It was also fun to recognize the classic song lyrics used and try to set them to their music in my head, but I’m strange that way. Francavilla’s art is superb, as always. Moody coloring and heavy use of blacks really enhance the storytelling, yet he still manages to capture a feel of ‘place’ in each of the timeframes the story visits. I can’t say any more without spoiling things, and this is an issue that should be read and experienced without having me recap the plot. It’s great, just buy it!
I’ve loved this series from the beginning. It launched the Archie Horror line and kicked off the revitalization of Archie as a publisher, its success paving the way for the relaunch of the main titles as well as bolstering the fledgling Horror line. Every issue has been a gem to be cherished when it comes out, and this issue is my favorite so far. They’ve all been 5/5s, but I’ll give this one a 5++. This could have been padded a bit and released as 2 normal sized issues, I’m glad it came out as one extra-length story that can pretty much stand alone. That’s right, you don’t need to have read any other issues of the series to enjoy this one, it stands on its own and leads right into Day Zero of the plague in Riverdale. I, for one, hope we get to see more of Josie, Valerie, and Melody in the early days of the zombie outbreak, without the Archie gang, maybe having them passing by incidentally in a Hamlet/Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead sort of way. I’m eagerly waiting for issue #11. Whenever it eventually comes out it will have been worth the wait. This is truly one of my favorite series on the stands.
Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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