Monday, December 29, 2014

AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE is the best comic of 2014

Technically, AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE has a one-joke premise. Inspired by a variant cover created by the mighty Francesco Francavilla for the series LIFE WITH ARCHIE, this series seemed engineered to do nothing more than grab headlines and die a quick death.

Back in October, 2013, I reviewed the first issue and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Sure, it was difficult not to have doubts about the premise, especially after disposing of Jughead so quickly in the narrative. The world of Riverdale came to a bloody end with seemingly no place for our heroes (or the story) to go. And then a funny thing happened ...


Against all odds, the book has been the most consistently entertaining comic of 2014. What might be more amazing than the blunt-force trauma of the book's premise is that writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has not only found genuine humanity in the characters, he even managed to justify the Betty/Veronica/Archie love triangle in a way that isn't gross. He's created a compelling story that's absolutely worth more than the sum of its parts.

Meanwhile, Francavilla's art is essential to making AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE work. Pairing Francavilla with Aguirre-Sacasa might seem like an obligatory gesture (Francavilla's idea lead to the creation of the comic, after all) but his art is a constant reminder that you should be having fun here. Equal parts "Ghastly" Graham Ingles, Jack Kirby and Eduardo Barreto, Francavilla has become one of the most prolific artists working today. He does more with a few brush strokes than most artists can do with an entire bottle of India ink ... and he somehow makes it look easy.

What I'm trying to say is, "You should be reading this book."

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