Let’s take a stroll through beautiful never changing Riverdale. Archie is trying to forever figure out who he wants to take to the prom. Jughead is forever eating hamburgers. Betty and Veronica are forever vying for Archie’s affection.
Now what if that was turned on it’s head?
Afterlife With Archie certainly shows a darker, scarier, and sadder place than what we’ve all grown up with. The series opens with Jughead carrying his recently deceased dog, Hot Dog, to Sabrina’s house. In an act of despair Jughead pleads with Sabrina and her aunt’s to bring Hot Dog back. However, Hilda and Zelda are against the idea. Sabrina however wants to help her friend, so off she goes to help bring Hot Dog back from the dead. There are ramifications of raising the dead however.
I was hesitant about this series at first. On one hand I’m glad Archie is thinking outside the box. On the other Jughead is my favorite character, and Hot Dog kind of looks like my dog Spencer. I’m not saying I’m emotionally attached to these characters, but it is like watching your best friend’s dog die and then become a zombie. This is also not for children. Afterlife With Archie is definitely for an older audience, and there’s nothing wrong with that. For years I’ve been vying for an Archie series I could really get into and that was also age appropriate and finally I have it.
The art is the main draw for me. Francesco Francavilla brings these characters to life (and then death) in a beautiful way. The art is not typical Archie. It’s dark and creepy. When Hilda and Zelda find out what Sabrina has done they show their true selves–something we’ve never seen in Archie comics before.The zombified Hot Dog is also terrifically executed.
The story, written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is fantastic. Reading Veronica say “sexy” anything in an Archie comic seems almost taboo to me. His care and attention to Reggie is the most heartbreaking. Yes, Jughead did just lose his best canine pal. But it’s Reggie who seems to be taking it just as hard (and for good reason). It’s a Reggie we’ve never seen before, and one I’d like to keep around.
This series is off to a great start. I can’t wait to read the rest.