See all reviews of Afterlife With Archie (5)

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.

I was also jonesing an Archie fix, but had resigned myself to reading (and promoting) other fantastic horror comics like Nailbiter, Postal, and Harrow County.

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)

afterlife-with-archie-9-cover

Observations

  • 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?

No.

It’s fantastic.

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.

afterlife-with-archie-9-reggie-horses
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.

Afterlife with Archie #9 Review
Picks up right where the series left off, firing on every cylinder and reestablishing/reminding us why Afterlife is one of the best horror comics out there.Francesco Francavilla is known for producing beautiful covers, but he doesn't get enough credit for his fantastic interior work.Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa crafts a script that masterfully plays with your expectations and emotions before reaching a heart-stopping conclusion
Sometimes at night, I wake up sweating, the nightmare of waiting another whole year for an issue of Afterlife with Archie piercing my sleep.
10Fantastic
Reader Rating 2 Votes
9.5
  • spazaru

    Great review for a great comic. I am frustrated with the delays, but with Roberto writing the Riverdale TV show AND the awesome Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comic, I don’t see the delays getting better. But if any comic is worth the wait, it’s this one.

  • kentkangley

    I love this title and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s writing and the art of Francesco Francavilla and Robert Hack are all amazing. I only have one complaint about RA-S’s writing. His use of parentheses and other non-verbalized writing techniques in speech bubbles really takes me out of the story. The characters are either speaking or narrating, but they’re not writing, and the writing should reflect that. It’s a small thing, but when it comes up, it’s noticeable.