I’m A Comic Book Guy – After Life With Archie

Writer: Craig Young

alwarchie9While everyone in the media is losing their mind about Captain America’s history being rewritten again, now making Cap a long standing member of Hydra. Oh and a Nazi. I’ll let that set in for a moment before you Google it. Go on, I’ll wait. Welcome back. On the other side of the shop, DC Rebirth attempts to fix 60 years of history. From its Legacy heroes, to the post Crisis on Infinite Earths ear, to Identity Crisis (where everything too a really sharp turn into the darkness), Final Crisis, Flashpoint and finally “The New 52”, DC is again making a move to combine everything ever to a streamlined story.  It’s also an attempt to fix a lot of bad press and bad decisions. Good luck to them. However, within all the hype and hoopla, another great story continued and it’s been the long delayed “Afterlife with Archie”.

For those of you that’s never read the book, I’d tell you to spend the $20 and pick up the collected first trade paperback Afterlife with Archie: Escape from Riverdale. The idea of the Archie Horror Line is a combination of a more mature presentation of Archie (which has involved sex, subtle nods to masturbation, the occult, and a lot of beautifully designed pages of grotesque zombie violence. Archie meets Zombie. Writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and illustrator Francesco Francavilla are still crafting a story that gives you the sadness and horror of The Walking Dead, but the character familiarity of Archie and the Riverdale gang of characters.

Afterlife-with-Archie-9-2This week saw the long delayed release of issue 9 and focused on Reggie Mantle and an important question, “What makes a sociopath?” Always the foil to the heroic and good natured Archie Andrews, Reggie Mantle grew up rich but hollow. The story is more of a flashback defining the terms of Reggie Mantle as a person.  Bad decisions he made. The fellow Archie Universe romance interest “Midge”. His envy of Archie’s family situations as compared to his. Far into the beginning of the zombie apocalypse, the guilt becomes too much for Reggie and he bares his soul to fellow survivor Kevin Keller. As Reggie admits he was the person who killed Hot Dog (Jughead’s dog), who was later raised from the dead by Sabrina the Teenage Witch (and now bride of Cthulhu) and became patient zero for the zombie apocalypse. The story in this issue is an amazing look at one character at the end of his rope who bares all, not wanting to have to admit to himself that they are as bad as they believe.  Admitting his role as reason the world is in the position that it is, Reggie decides to accept his fate and runs directly into the zombie horde, but is met with a different fate and a final challenge to his personal dilemma.  Given the choice, does Reggie betray his friends and the Riverdale survivors, with the reward of Midge being returned to life as his willing slave?  “The Trouble With Reggie” is part 4 of the R.I.P. Betty storyline and available now at many local comic book stores.

Till next week…I’m a Comic Book Guy.

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