strong>”Afterlife With Archie” #4 continues to be one of the best horror titles out there. The zombie apocalypse has wreaked havoc upon the sleepy and wholesome town of Riverdale. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla know how to pour on the scares with every single panel. This one is simply a must.
WRITTEN BY: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
ART BY: Francesco Francavilla
PUBLISHER: Archie Comics
RELEASE: March 6, 2013
The death toll rose to high numbers when zombie Jughead crashed the Halloween Dance at Riverdale High. Archie Andrews was able to rescue some of his classmates, even the drama queen Veronica and the do-gooder Betty. But the two most important people in Archie’s life are still missing. Rather than stay with Veronica and Betty, Archie made his way through the dark woods to his house. Finally reaching his doorstep, Archie has no idea whether or not his parents are still alive. Will Archie be able to save his mother and father from the zombie uprising? Or have they fallen victim to the zombie infection already?
What’s really interesting about Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s writing is how he develops the character growth for Archie Andrews. In the first installment, Archie is more of a supporting character in the background. At the Halloween Dance, Archie slowly became the reluctant hero in an extraordinary situation. In this installment, Aguirre-Sacasa throws Archie front-and-center into his own coming-of-age tale. Leaving his naiveté behind, Archie is gradually learning what it takes to survive the zombie apocalypse.
Aguirre-Sacasa makes excellent use of flashbacks throughout the story. We learn the back-story behind the relationship between Archie and his dog, Vegas. Though the narrative turns incredibly dark, there is a love story about a boy and his dog that feels genuinely heartfelt and honest. Aguirre-Sacasa wants you to care about Archie’s parents before he unleashes the zombies on them.
The imagery from Francesco Francavilla’s phenomenal artwork is truly remarkable. In the opening pages, Francavilla puts so much detail into the facial expressions of Archie’s loving parents. There is a heartwarming vibe of tenderness when the two stand together. I get a kick out of the yellow lighting and the orange color scheme Francavilla uses in his flashback panels. Francavilla then pours in the red ink when violence erupts on the page.
Francavilla does something really fantastic with the panel layouts about midway through the narrative. In a single page, through 15 panels, Francavilla is able to make each image match together so perfectly. There are stories within stories as Francavilla jumps back and forth between the past and present. You understand what Francavilla is saying through his illustrations without the use of captions and dialogue balloons.
Horror fans are in for a special treat with “Afterlife With Archie” #4. An unforgettable installment and an artistic triumph, the “Afterlife With Archie” series manages to combine the teen drama and the zombie genre with great skill.
Reviewed by – Jorge Solis