My unofficial countdown to Halloween, with me reviewing a different Afterlife with Archie comic every day until All Hallow’s Eve, continues with a look at the eighth issue.

Archie and Jughead – yes, the very dead Jughead – discuss the possibility that Cheryl Blossom may have brutally murdered her twin brother, while in flashbacks, we see the survivors taking a vote as to whether or not to allow Cheryl to remain with the group. Back in the present day, however, the ghosts of Riverdale’s past are coming back to haunt everyone, in more ways than one…

Though I’m not keen on the lore now going way beyond the necromancy-originated zombie apocalypse and into the Lovecraftian realm as well as featuring some pretty overt references to famous ghost stories (The Shining is very explicitly referenced, to name just one), from the point of view of the character drama, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa absolutely nails it. And despite that lack of enthusiasm for the lore, I’m still blown away by Francesco Francavilla’s stunning art (this time, we even get to see an unshaven Archie – who would have thought we’d ever go there?).

The back up feature this time around is made up of three single-page comics purporting to be facts about Zombies, Dragons and Voodoo – all of which first appeared in the pages of Chilling Adventures in Sorcery in the 1970s. Aguirre-Sacasa, in his intro to the strips, acknowledges that these are hardly the most accurate or culturally sensitive strips – and he’s certainly right there. Despite this, they’re cheerfully bizarre, campy fun if you can overlook (The Shining references continue into this part of the review too!) the rather insensitive depictions of other cultures.

So even though Afterlife with Archie hasn’t quite regained the mojo it had during the stunning first five issues, it’s still a good read and plenty of seeds are being planted for future issues. It’s just a shame that there’s not many more left – the series ended prematurely at issue #10, meaning that there’s only two left to cover. Stay tuned to see if the series goes out with a bang or a whimper.

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