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Reggie Takes Center Stage in Afterlife With Archie #9

Written by Matt Lune on Thursday, May 26 2016 and posted in Reviews

Reggie Takes Center Stage in Afterlife With Archie #9

“No one thinks of themselves as a villain”. Reggie Mantle is the focus of this, the late and latest issue of Afterlife With Archie, but have the delays killed this book?


Source: Archie Comics

Afterlife with Archie #9

Writer - Robert Aguirre-Sacasa 

Artist - Francesco Francavilla

 

"The week of the Halloween dance (God, doesn't that seem like forever ago?)"

This line, spoken by Reggie Mantle in the latest issue of Afterlife With Archie rings truer than I think writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa realized when he put pen to paper (or maybe it's deliberate!). Because the first question on my mind picking up issue 9 is probably the same thing most people would think, and I can save you the trouble of searching for the answer – May 6th 2015. That's when (according to Comixology) the last issue of Afterlife With Archie came out. That's over a year ago.

"There's no excuse for late books, just apologies" proclaims Aquirre-Sarcasa over on Archiecomics.com, and let's face it: this isn't the latest a comic book has ever been. Hell there's a bunch we're still waiting on (I mean, Batman: Europa was announced back in what, 2004? And only just come out. Off the top of my head I doubt we'll ever see the end of Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas). And he's right: there genuinely can be no excuse for a book being over a year late.

afterlife09-01.jpg


You'll forgive me for starting the review off this way, and while normally I would always rate the book on nothing except for the book itself, that's sort of my point: the severe issues with scheduling has impacted my enjoyment of the series and subsequently this issue. No one can deny that Fraction and Aja's Hawkeye lost a lot of steam (and some would say goodwill) when it's final few issues were delayed and even at one point coming out in the wrong order, and likewise Afterlife With Archie is suffering from that same fate.

Lateness, as mentioned earlier however, isn't a new thing in comics, nor will this be the last book to suffer, and years from now when we've got the trade collection in our hands, all that will exist is the finished product. Only a select few still feel the sting of Civil War delays, or find their blood boiling at the unresolved conclusion to Black Cat: The Evil That Men Do; most just read and judge them on the content and quality of the work (based on my two examples, judged poorly, but that has nothing to do with delays).

So that is how I will approach Afterlife #9, as an issue devoid of delays or real world problems. Thankfully, the biggest real world problem I had coming into this book – my ever-fading memory – was greatly assisted with a thorough recap page, almost as if they knew most people's recollection of what's happened so far would stretch to "there's zombies, right?"

afterlife09-02.jpg

 

"No one thinks of themselves as a villain"

Afterlife With Archie #9 is a fantastic one-and-done issue. It's entirely from the point of view of Reggie Mantle, Archie's constant rival and opposite, and it's his skewed vantage point of the world we get to see; both the present and the past given the 'Reggie' treatment, and it's hard not to empathize with him. Hard, but not impossible. In fact as he starts to divulge his darkest secret regarding the current Zombie snafu affecting Riverdale, and specifically his part in its inception, the unreliable narrator trope starts to kick in, distancing you from him while simultaneously keeping you penned inside his mind.

I genuinely don't think I need to say anything about how amazing the art is. Francesco Francavilla is always, always superb, no more so than in the horror genre (or in the case of Batman: Black Mirror, the psychological horror), so to say Afterlife #9 shows off his talent for mood, pacing, layout and characterization impeccably should be enough for anyone.

afterlife09-03.jpg

So yes, there's a consistent level of quality on this series that has been unwavering since the start, a bar that has in fact been raised ever higher by each subsequent issue. While this is one of the quieter books with regards to action, the plot revelations and consequences moving forward are as gripping as anything previous.

I'd understand if you're waiting for the trade; I'd understand if you're buying the books but reading them all at once (this is, after all, part 4 of the current arc, even though it can easily be read on its own); I'd even understand if, like me, you still read it when it comes out even if the impact is lessened somewhat due to the severe delays. What I wouldn't understand is if you're not reading it at all, because despite the scheduling issues, Afterlife With Archie is genuinely superb.






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About the Author - Matt Lune


Trapped in a world he never made, Matt is a comic-book obsessive and frequent internet user. GSOH with a vast and mostly useless knowledge of Marvel comics, Matt is currently striving to expand his reading experience into the DC Universe and as much Independent work as his bookshelf will support. Surrounded by dreams of making it big, when he's not on Twitter (@MattLune) he can be found on his own site, AwesomeSourceComics.com.
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