It’s been a very long time since we last had an issue of Afterlife with Archie. The delay has not only been frustrating as a fan, but also as an advocate for great comics. I’d gotten people hooked on the series (including my father) only to watch these new Archie Addicts go through a painful, yearlong withdraw.
This week, however, Afterlife with Archie finally returns with Issue #9. Could it still have the same subversive magic as it did in 2013-2015? Would the story feel as terrifying and poignant as it did before?
And, most importantly, is it good?
Afterlife with Archie #9 (Archie Comics)
- My sincere gratitude to the Archie team for their detailed (but not too detailed) recap page.
- Francesco Francavilla’s interior art, how I’ve missed thee.
- Reggie’s a monster, but I still totally agree with him on the ‘funny movie’ thing.
- Something about Archie and his friends taking stupid internet quizzes makes me giggle…
- …until it gets creepy.
- Ugh. No fair making me feel sympathy for Reggie.
- I thought I knew where this was going, but the smug grin just flew right off my face.
- Like, seriously, how many times is Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa going to make me hate Reggie followed immediately by feeling bad for him?
- …and there’s our heart wrenching/horrifying final answer.
Is It Good?
Despite a yearlong gap between issues, Afterlife with Archie effortlessly reestablishes all the components that make it one of the best horror comics around.
Francesco Francavilla’s artistic brilliance shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody, but his excellence extends well beyond doing cool cove work. His interiors are just as beautiful, crackling with emotion and atmosphere that fit the story perfectly.
As far as the writing goes, Aguirre-Sacasa provides us with a story that will toy with your emotions right up until the end. He also does a great job examining the inner workings of a sociopath. It’s a subject that has always fascinated me, particularly if people without empathy can still feel something approximating love toward another person.
*stares at David Brooke with a mix of longing and anger*
Aguirre-Sacasa takes this question and weaves it beautifully into a narrative that looks obvious at first, but ends up throwing you multiple times before its stunning conclusion.
Please don’t eat the horse please don’t eat the horse please don’t eat the horse…
Another mark in Afterlife With Archie #9’s favor is that it truly can be enjoyed by anyone. I’ve insisted for a while now that you don’t need to have any sort of deep understanding of the “Archie Mythos” (heh) to read this comic. When I started reading this issue, I knew next to nothing about the character of Reggie beyond what I’d seen in this series. After looking him up on Wikipedia, his story here feels even more poignant, but nothing I learned was necessary for understanding his actions and their motivations. The world Aguirre-Sacasa has constructed in Afterlife can completely stand on it’s own.
If you do read/have read the original Archie series, however, then there are plenty of cool easter eggs and hidden narrative threads to enhance your experience. Either way, Afterlife with Archie remains a top shelf horror comic. Add it to your pull list today—which will hopefully have more than one new issue added to it this year.