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Afterlife with Archie: Escape from Riverdale

Afterlife with Archie: Escape from Riverdale - Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Francesco Francavilla I'm supposed to be reading through all my unfinished series to catch up with all of them, but I had to take a break from that when I saw this books. Why? Two reasons:

1. I can knock out a graphic novel in a few hours.


Like most kids, I grew up reading the Archie digests, and I enjoyed the crap out of them. I got to know all the characters there, and how they related to one another. So when I was given the opportunity to see what happened to them when thrown into the zombie apocalypse, I couldn't pass it up.

The premise would suggest that the series would just be a novelty item, but Aguirre-Sacasa does a great job of taking the story seriously. Characters die (usually in a most gruesome fashion), and sometimes characters have to put down their loved ones. This isn't anything new to the genre, but it is new to the world of Archie, and Aguirre-Sacasa doesn't hesitate to go after some of the bigger names in the series.

The art is drawn in a very dark style, with muddy colors keeping most of the scenes in shade. The depictions of the characters and settings are reminiscent of the style EC adopted for their line of horror comics, but where they used a brighter color palette, here Francavilla used the Quake palette, and to good use. The scenes are evocative and engaging, as well as repulsive.

Aguirre-Sacasa also did a good job with pacing the story through the scene boxes. A particular scene where Archie has to make a terrible decision is done well, with Archie thinking back on what led to this point, even as he's taking hard measures in the present. It's moving, possibly more so because this is Archie we're talking about, not some random character we're only just getting to know, but also because Aguirre-Sacasa put the scene together well.

My only complaint with the story is that the time from contagion to acceptance was pretty fast (I've always imagined a zombie apocalypse taking some time for people to accept the impossibility of the situation, with a lot more people dying because they're telling themselves it has to be something else), and that this collection is really just exposition, but I'm willing to forgive it to get the story rolling. I was under the impression that this collection was a one-shot thing, but the series is ongoing, meaning we can see more and more zombie Riverdale action. If it's going to continue in this vein, then I think it's going to get better.