|AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE No. 2, January 2014|
Even a sudden brief interlude is no less shocking in content as two school friends discuss putting an end to their “playing ‘Brokeback Riverdale’ and telling their families of their feelings for one another when a brain-hungry Mister Jones abruptly shuffles into the diner where they’re sitting. But far worse gore is yet to come as Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa starts to ramp up the terror and significantly increase the death toll.
Smart zombies are ordinarily something to be avoided, unless you’re the maestro of the macabre himself George A. Romero, and even he has critics following the 2005 release of his motion picture “Land Of The Dead”. But bestowing “the thing that was once Jughead Jones” with a sense of hatred for Veronica is a masterstroke on the part of Aguirre-Sacasa and really helps bring the grim reality of the situation home to both party-goer and reader alike.
Perhaps somewhat disappointingly what follows next could be argued as being fairly standard zombie fare. Having been savaged by Archie’s best friend, Ethel turns into a zombie herself and accompanied by the equally undead Principal Weatherbee and Miss Grundy, starts to feast upon a school hall packed full of screaming, panicking youngsters. However much of this issue’s strength lies in the fact that the American writer is making this bloodbath happen to some extremely beloved and recognisable individuals within the "Archie Comics" world… and once they’ve become infected they aren’t coming back. At least not without spewing bile from their mouths and wanting to sink their rancid teeth into other people’s jugular veins. This comic book really is a very new and difficult take on John L. Goldwater’s characters.
All this action is illustrated by Francesco Francavilla with his usual highly stylised yet somewhat minimalistic pencilling. The Italian’s best work is undoubtedly when he is drawing the zombies feasting upon their prey. Though the utter frustration and rage bestowed upon Jughead when he’s thwarted by Archie from attacking Veronica is wonderfully dynamic, and it is very easy to imagine the thunderous pounding the walking cadaver is giving to the chained locker room door when the ravenous ghoul is later trapped inside.
|The variant cover art of "AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE" No. 2 by Francesco Francavilla|