Ok, so I’m late as usual. As my new work schedule adjusts and I’m not putting out so many website fires (Holly’s head combusting in a cacophony of convention Kodachrome) I’ll be hopefully getting back to a regular comic review schedule.
I also would normally review the first or last issue of a book, maybe a run if I have enough of a run to warrant it, but this is just issue 9 of Afterlife with Archie. It doesn’t seem like it should be anything special. It should feel like it’s just more of the same.
It’s not and you should read it.
If you’re an Archie fan this book gives you major insight into one of the greatest rivals in comics history; Reggie Mantle. Now I know this book is a separate entity unto itself or even an alternate universe if you will, but up until the zombie apocalypse hits I like to think everything in Riverdale was the same as it was since the 1940’s. This would include the rivalry between Archie and Reggie for Veronica, Reggie’s crush on Midge, Jughead’s disdain for Reggie and everything in between.
That being said Reggie is the epitome of the word Frenemy. He’s known these people for years. They’ve had good times and bad. Reggie’s facilitated trouble for all of them more times than they can count whether they knew it at the time or not but they all still accepted him because that’s what friends do. I mean a little leery on occasion perhaps but still friends.
In this issue though, he feels real guilt about something he did. He recounts a story to Kevin Keller about how he thought this entire time he might have been a sociopath. That everything in an online test he and his friends were reading applied to him. He admits to Kevin that he thought the entire zombie outbreak was caused somehow by him killing Hot Dog, Jughead’s trusty canine companion (if you’ve been reading you know it completely was).
In a stroke of genius by writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, immediately after realizing he’s not a sociopath because of the guilt he felt, he’s given the opportunity to do something even more heinous than running down poor Hot Dog. With the promise of getting his one true love for all eternity, Midge Klump in the process, of course he takes it.
I actually found myself feeling bad for Reggie as he recounts his love for Midge. She uses him as her stand-by whenever her and her steady, Moose Mason fight. She leads him on with empty promises to the point where he obsesses over her. She fucks with his head and his heart but rather than get the girl in the end, usually he gets an ass-kicking from Moose. It’s really sad and I don’t blame him for being a bitter petty asshole. He’s a spoiled rich kid, who can’t have what he wants yes, but he’s also human and we see the actual human Reggie Mantle in this issue. For once he’s not just the snarky foil for Archie. He becomes a human and makes a human and very, very scary decision. Sociopath? Maybe, but let’s see how the rest of this arc plays out.
After a little hiatus this book is back with a vengeance and if you get the chance I HIGHLY recommend it even if you’re not an Archie fan. The artwork by Francesco Francavilla is without measure as usual and every issue brings something new to the table. It’s not a slow burn Walking Dead type zombie apocalypse which for me makes it worth the wait between issues because I know every issue is gonna be great. Pick up the trades if you wanna catch up because those early issues are MONEY...