It’s spooky season, so why not continue with my reading and reviewing of the surprisingly excellent Archie Comics horror series, Afterlife with Archie?

The third issue – much like the first and second – covers a lot of ground, with some great world building as we take a look at just how powerful (and rich) the Lodge family are, along with some brilliantly catty character work as supposed BFFs Betty and Veronica (the latter being one of the aforementioned Lodges) snip at each other. There’s also the payoff of the final caption from the previous issue – so yes, we do indeed find out who among the teen survivors holding up at the Lodge estate has been infected already…

Though we jump around again chronologically and to different sets of characters, the narrative doesn’t ever feel disjointed; despite the story’s structure, it always feels focused on giving us the necessary exposition as quickly as possible before moving us back to the suspense and horror of the present. It’s a genuinely well-written tale and yes, once more Franco Francavilla absolutely knocks it out of the park with his fantastic art.

The backup story from the vaults this time is the legendary Dick Giordano’s 70s Chilling Adventures in Sorcery tale, in which a nasty – and very Lon Chaney Jr-esque – host of late night horror gets his comeuppance, courtesy of a vengeful ex-employee and a very powerful ‘prop’. It’s got wonderfully detailed black and white art from the late, great Giordano and is another great sting-in-the-tail horror story.

Again, this issue proves just how compelling the concept is; far from being the joke or opportunistic mature tale featuring the usually family-friendly Archie characters, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s writing and Francesco Francavilla’s art truly elevates the series to unmissable status.

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