I apologise if comic books, Archie or horror aren’t your thing. After all, this particular series has somewhat taken over the blog for the last few days – I just figured that, with it being spooky season and with Halloween mere days away, it was a great time to cover a scary zombie apocalypse series, issue by issue. It’s surprised me more than anyone else that the nightmarish, flesh-eating zombies happen to appear in the usually all-ages, family friendly Archie universe.

This issue sees plenty of threads coming together, as many of the survivors at the Lodge residence see their personal dramas beginning to unfold. The enormity of the situation is weighing heavily on poor Archie, who’s seen some truly horrific things – and had to undertake some very traumatising actions to survive. But the fight isn’t over – Jughead is returning to the Lodge residence with an army of Riverdale zombies in tow…

It’s another fantastic issue; Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s impressive plotting, dialogue and character work really shining as the first story arc comes to its action-packed conclusion – and Francesco Francavilla’s art once again being thick with atmosphere and wonderfully clear storytelling. The ending does feel a little abrupt, given the build-up – but, that aside, it’s difficult to find any fault at all with this concluding chapter.

Writer Donald F. Glut, who wrote the Empire Strikes Back novelisation (which Aguirre-Sacasa confesses to have read and re-read obsessively, which is something I have in common with him) and artist Vicente Alcazar are responsible for the bonus tale from the Archie vaults. It’s another ‘Chilling Adventures in Sorcery’ tale from the 70s, presented in glorious B-movie black and white. Alcazar’s art is brilliantly detailed. Glut’s writing is a little melodramatic, but it’s in keeping with the comic book style of the period and the tale – of a crazed scientist creating a Golem to take revenge on everyone who’s ever wronged him, but first using it on the lover who’s spurned him – is a great, Twilight Zone-esque story with a satisfying twist ending.

Well worth picking up in collected form, Afterlife with Archie Book One is the perfect Halloween read for comic fans, whether or not they’re familiar with the usually comical antics of the Riverdale teens.

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