"Afterlife with Archie #10" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Archie Horror
Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Illustrated by Francesco Francavilla
2016, 38 Pages, $4.99
Comic released on August 31st, 2016
Terror has rained down on Riverdale and we've seen how it has affected most of the town's residents. Many are dead. A handful survive after fleeing the area on foot. More are now undead, looking to feast on the flesh of the living. We've also seen what happened to Sabrina the Teenage Witch, who tampered with the Necronomicon and caused all this mess to begin with. Now we take a brief interlude to see how Josie and the Pussycats play into things.
In this world, the band has been around for ages, re-inventing themselves every decade to go with the times. They're able to do this because they're all vampires, of course. Josie recounts the group's history in a special interview with a reporter, explaining how they were turned in the first place and what they've been doing since. While I love the inclusion of vampires in the Afterlife with Archie mythos, this comes through more as a history lesson of sorts, trying to shove these characters into this world for no particular reason. Maybe they'll play an integral part in later issues, but it's still too early to tell.
|Click images to enlarge|
After the events of the previous issue, I was hoping we'd get more from the “Betty R.I.P.” story arc instead of this interlude. Given how solid the series has been up until this point, it is disappointing to lose all that momentum that's been built up with this slow burn of a background on new characters. Obviously, they're not new to the Archie universe, I mean to the Afterlife series.
As with a recent issue of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa weaves real-world history and classic literature into the story. In this case there is a bit of The Great Gatsby as well as major cultural events throughout the 20th century. It adds a touch of realism to Josie's tale.
Artist Francesco Francavilla was born to draw horror comics. His colors alone can strike fear into the heart of the average reader. Each panel has a haunting quality, with bright reds and faded yellows. You can imagine what blood looks like on the page. He also uses shadow very well, often showing only the outline of a character with select highlights, such as their hair or a piece of clothing.
|Click images to enlarge|
Francavilla's designs for the vampires are absolutely terrifying. There's a great shot of the three of them flying through the night air, the full moon behind them. Sharp fangs and fierce claws are bared as they hunt for their prey. Similarly, when Josie is first turned, there is an awesome full-page image of the vampire sinking his teeth into her neck. It's monstrous and beautiful all at once.
While I'm curious as to how Josie and the Pussycats will play into the other horror elements of the book, I'm more interested – and anxious – to get back to Archie and the gang. I'm fully invested in those characters, so this issue feels like new ones being crammed down my throat, like the debacle that was the second season of Lost. If you're an existing Josie fan, I'm sure this will be right up your alley.