Afterlife with Archie #9
Writer: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Artist: Francesco Francavilla
Letterer: Jack Morelli
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Publisher: Archie Comics
A review by Amelia Wellman
If you’re a fan of Archie comics, horror, drama, zombies, Lovecraft, Sabrina, the end of the world, Francesco Francavilla, meaningful characters, or famous pop-culture references, you should be reading Afterlife with Archie. There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it really. You should be reading Afterlife with Archie.
The horror began in Riverdale when Reggie Mantle killed Jughead’s pooch Hot Dog. A year has passed since then and Reggie has been living with his secret and the terrible guilt that comes with it. When an act of kindness prompts a confession from him, Reggie is forced to make a decision that will affect everyone. Is there any good in him or is he beyond redemption?
This issue is a Reggie-centric story and, compared to the Reggie in the rebooted Archie comics (2015), I really like this Reggie. He’s far from the cookie-cutter good character that Archie is, but, to answer this issue’s big question, I don’t think he’s beyond redemption. The way the story is told through his memories (and in one case, delusions) really made me have to stop and think about him as a character. There are still stories to be told with these characters, there are still things to learn about them. With characters that have been established for decades, that’s an impressive feat.
The first thing you’re going to notice about Afterlife with Archie is the art. Francavilla’s art is about as distinct as it comes. He works in a palette mainly consisting of vivid reds, oranges, and shadowy blacks. When dealing with memories and flashbacks, his palette changes to cool purples and blues. It has an old-school, pulp publication feeing to it and although it might not strike you as the prettiest, cleanest, or most detailed art you’ve ever seen, it’s art that conveys tone. You’ll never feel like you don’t know what a character is thinking or feeling, especially in this issue.
Buy it! Besides the constant delays that plague Afterlife with Archie, there’s nothing not to like with this series. Francavilla’s art will have you in absolute awe the whole way through. The story has ties to the classic Lovecraftian mythos of elder gods and inhuman abominations and the series feels like in-depth character studies that will make you question whether you ever knew them to begin with.