Review: Afterlife With Archie #6
“Witch in the Dream House”: The unthinkable has happened: Riverdale has become ground-zero for the zombie apocalypse, and the surviving members of our gang have been forced to flee their beloved home. However terrible things have been for Archie and friends, they’ve been MUCH worse for Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Banished to witches’ purgatory after using the dreaded Necronomicon, she’s now fighting for her immortal soul! The award winning team of writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and artist Francesco Francavilla continue their celebrated run on the critically acclaimed series. A perfect entry-point for new readers as the smash horror TEEN+ hit of the season continues! Definitely NOT for all ages!
After a short break, Afterlife With Archie is back this month with a new issue and the beginning of a new story arc that serves as an entry point for new readers. As always, the story is written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa with art from Francesco Francavilla. Jack Morelli rounds things out with lettering. The first five issues blew readers away, but how does the beginning of the second round measure up?
This whole zombie ordeal in Riverdale got started when Jughead’s faithful canine companion Hotdog was hit by a car. Grief stricken, Jughead turned to Sabrina (the teenage witch) for help. The precocious little witch stole the dreaded Necronomicon and brought Hotdog back to life…well, life-ish. Her aunts sent her to witch purgatory and that was the last we saw. Now we see where Sabrina has been. When Sabrina finds herself in a mental institution run by Dr. Lovecraft, she quickly learns that things are not what they seem. Psychological terror meets the world of Archie as the world of Lovecraft brings some huge, huge changes to the life of Sabrina. Can Sabrina rage against the machine and turn the tables on this crazy world in which she has found herself? Will Lovecraft be able to use Sabrina as his pawn in a game of chess with some elder gods?
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa throws readers for a loop as he perfectly incorporates the work of H.P. Lovecraft into his high concept of zombified Archie characters. As odd as it seems on the surface, it’s an incredibly natural progression of events and makes Sabrina’s fate utterly terrifying. While Archie has brought the scares and chills, this is the most unsettling issue to date. This is pure psychological horror from beginning to end. There are no happy endings in the world of Afterlife With Archie, but Sabrina’s story may be the saddest. Francavilla also turns in his best work to date as well. There are creepy crawly things playing in the background of the story, but all the subtitles help build to a monumental reveal that will have you pouring over the final pages for several minutes. The artist lures you into a false sense of security with the first few pages being so bright and vibrant, but that quickly gives way to true horrors.
Bottom Line: Afterlife With Archie has been a series that has gotten a lot of people talking, but this is the issue that will have EVERYONE talking. Aguirre-Sacasa and Francavilla have begun their second arc in style, and it will be thrilling to see where it goes from here. 5/5
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