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Spoiler Alert: Afterlife with Archie

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I have something to confess. I’ve been enjoying a lot of Archie books over the last year.
Growing up, I always saw Archie as this super cheesy, disposable entertainment that was made for my sister. But, there’s something about these books as of late that has really hooked me. From talking about real world events and their impact to Riverdale to the creation of Life with Archie, an alternate storyline that goes in to what Archie’s life would be if he either married Betty or Veronica.
Artwork Courtesy of Archie Comic Publications, Inc.
As crazy as that series got, I was not prepared for what writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa had in-store for readers in Afterlife with Archie.
When Jughead’s dog, Hot Dog, is hit by a car and killed; he’s absolutely devastated. Distraught and not knowing what to do, Jughead turns to the only person who can help him: Sabrina, Riverdale’s resident witch. Hesitant at first, Sabrina agrees to help and uses the powers of the Necronomicon to bring his dog back from the dead. As the night turns to day, trouble brews that could destroy not only Riverdale, but the world.
This book is next-level-bananas.
Despite the darker tone of the story, it’s still weirdly recognizable as an Archie story. Aguirre-Sacasa’s characterization of the gang is spot on. Everybody is still who we’ve always loved. Archie is still loyal to Jughead, Jughead is still loyal to Archie, Reggie is still a jerk who takes things to heart, Betty and Veronica still fight over Archie and Dilton is still a know-it-all.
What I think is great about this story is that it takes these well-known and loved characters and puts them in a slasher film, where characters are not known to last long. I want the Archie gang to survive, but I know that not everybody is going to make it out alive and that creates really tense situation.
Not only is the story well done, but the art is perfect. Francesco Francavilla’s noir style, along with his colors, paint a grim horrific page devoid of the bright happy world that were used to seeing in Riverdale. The bright lights that shine on the horrific faces of characters really shine to the backgrounds of blood red and obsidian black colors.
By the end of the story, I was completely onboard and dreading the next issue and seeing what’s in store for the gang. Aguirre-Sacasa and Francavilla are a great paring and have created something that I think Archie fans and horror fans can come together and enjoy.