Afterlife With Archie #3 (Comics Review)
After a two-month long wait, Afterlife With Archie returned last week with its third issue. Having debuted in the Halloween Month and received very well by fans, for me the series became one of the highlights of the year, so much so that I put it on my “Top 5 New Comics of 2013” list and the first issue made it to my “Best Comics of 2013” list. It was just that good. Mashing the zombie apocalypse with Archie and the Riverdale gang is something really amazing that writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and artist Francesco Francavilla have done, and I applaud them for it. It is quite a refreshing story in all respects.
But that’s not all of course. There’s a hint of subversion in the story and the way that the backstories of various characters are teased out in issue #3, especially with regards to Hiram Lodge, make this one of the best comics to come out this past week. But the best thing here remains the character interaction and on that note we get to see a lot of different perspective in this issue. The creative team is giving their all to make this one of the best series out right now and I’m fully on that train-ride, watching as these characters try to fight things out the best way that they know how.
One of the best things about this comic has been the sense of desperation and the resulting horror. The highlight of the first issue was a zombified Hot Dog attacking Jughead. In the second issue we saw Jughead attacking Mr. Weatherbee and Ethel. In and around all of this, we’ve seen how Riverdale slowly but surely falls to the zombie apocalypse as the plague spreads throughout this small town. When we begin this issue, some of the latest victims are Jughead’s father and Riverdale’s most famous fast food restaurant owner Pop’s. As a big fan of the characters and setting for ages, I can’t quite contain my own horror at seeing these characters get twisted into these parodies, or falling victim to them.
And this is why Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla succeed so well with this series, because they are not pulling their punches and are plowing on full throttle. Each issue presents a new horror, initially couched in the context of innocence and the loss of that innocence. Issue #3 certainly exemplifies that, most notably when it comes to two of my favourite characters, Moose and Midge.
The thing is that whenever I pick up an issue of Afterlife Witch Archie, I feel sad at what is happening to my favourite characters. I connect with so many of them. This just shows how good the writing on this series is, and how good the art is, that the visualisation makes it all the more surreal.
In this issue, one of the more interesting things we see is some backstory on Hiram Lodge, Veronica’s father and someone who disapproves of Archie very strongly. This issue shows us his earliest days in Riverdale, as he comes into the town in a bid to relocate Lodge Industries and reestablish himself and his family here, especially since his wife Hermione is pregnant with their child and he wants to create a new life for himself. Of course, this ends up feeding back into the ongoing story and we see how strongly Hiram feels about the kids under his protection, now that the survivors of the party at the school have taken refuge at Lodge Manor. It does a lot to help me connect with him. And his butler Withers is delightful as always.
One of the more remarkable moments in the issue is when Betty kind of asks Archie straight up who he likes more: her or Veronica. Archie’s reply, for me, is very poignant and fits his personality to a T: “I’ll be waffling for the next seventy years”. That has been a central theme of the Archie comics for years and Archie has always been caught in a tug-of-war between the two girls. I don’t know, I kind of liked that moment. This becomes more significant later on when Betty and Veronica have a girls moment and despite their differences they kind of come together to be there for each other like good friends.
And for the art, well, Francesco Francavilla’s art is too good for mere words to describe. His characters’ expressions were all top-notch this time and all the scenes he does with the infected people were really good once again again. I wish I could get posters made out of every page!
Overall, a damn awesome issue.
Posted on January 13, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged Afterlife With Archie, Archie, Archie Comics, Comics, Comics Review, Francesco Francavilla, Horror, Jughead, magic, Review, Review Central, Riverdale, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Suspense, Urban Adventure, Urban Horror, Veronica Lodge, Witches, Zombie Apocalypse, Zombies. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.