Thursday, December 11, 2014

AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #7: This is What the First Thanksgiving Must've been like in the New World...

AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #7 finally got published yesterday. It seems like seven months since the surviving members of the Riverdale Gang escaped from Jughead and his undead horde of zombies (back in issue #5). But apparently, it's only been a month and our favorite pals & gals are preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving in the middle of the woods.

I should note before I get too far into this discussion...

This blog entry contains spoilers. If you don't want to know what happens in AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #7, then stop reading now. You have been warned.

Back to the show...

Just in case you don't remember, our survivors include Archie, Veronica, Betty, Reggie, Kevin Keller, Ginger Lopez, Mr. Lodge, Smithers, Nancy, Chuck, Dilton, Jason & Cheryl Blossom, and Mrs. Andrews. Their overall mission is to escape to the CDC office in nearby Pittsburgh, PA. Personally, I would've traveled to Greensdale and sought assistance from one of the many nearby witches or from Salem or even from Cousin Ambrose. If nothing else, Kevin and Ambrose could hook up before the ultimate end!

I've mentioned before that one of the things that I love about AFTERLIFE is that it features the same old Riverdale Gang that we've known and loved for 70+ years, but that's not entirely true. The essence of these characters rings true, but most of these characters have been tweaked for the sake of tension and perversity.

Let's set aside the secret Sapphic romance between Ginger and Nancy. Obviously, there's that creepy twincestuous romance between Cheryl & Jason Blossom (more on that later). But Mr. Lodge is revealed to be a selfish adulterer and an absentee dad. The rivalry between Betty and Veronica has been ramped way up (more later about that, too). And then there is Betty's older sister Polly...

Polly Cooper is traditionally written as the older sister who's moved away from home to become a successful television news reporter. She's wise and often provides sound advise for her younger sister. But this is AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE. This Polly Cooper is horrible. She is rude and selfish and bullies her family -- particularly her goody-goody younger sister. She has obvious behavioral problems. It wouldn't surprise me if we eventually learn that she abused drugs. Or pregnant. Or both.

The details are shrouded at this time, but Polly was eventually sent away in the not-to-distant past to some sort of "program." I can't help wondering if we will eventually meet up with Polly in a future issue, which could be a lot of fun. After all, we're eventually going to run low on characters and we will need to increase the size of our group. Plus, Polly is sufficiently dysfunctional and we can always use a new source of drama within this book!

We learn all about Polly from Betty. She is trying to recreate her old diary, since she had to abandon everything back in Riverdale. This is her way of staying connected with her past. Of course, this leads to renewed trouble between her and Veronica. Ronnie is terribly suspicious of Betty's connection to Archie and her jealousy explodes towards the end of this issue. Because it's always a great idea to get into a screaming argument in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. Regardless, things aren't looking good for our two BFFs:

And then there is Jason and Cheryl. Can we just put it out there that the Blossom family is messed up? I mean, really messed up? Mama Blossom looks timid and drugged up. Jason is extremely possessive of his twin sister and I get the impression that her father was sexually molesting her during her youth. At the very least, this family was isolated from the outside world and the twins' sexual relationship was tacitly encouraged by their domineering father.

I'm not sure what prompted the memory, but Cheryl brings up the subject of her long-lost puppy, Sugar. Long-time Cheryl Blossom fans know that she has a pet Pomeranian named Sugar. But this Sugar looks more like a Cocker Spaniel. A dead Cocker Spaniel who was strangled to death by Cheryl's awful brother, who couldn't stand the idea of anything coming between the two of them.

We don't see it happen, but Jason Blossom is now dead. Killed, presumably, by Cheryl Blossom. Except that she's now going by the name of Blaze. It took me a little bit to remember the significance of this nickname. It's from the old EXPLORERS OF THE UNKNOWN series.

Seriously, don't sleep with your back to Blaze.

Lastly, there was a nice little nod towards this summer's AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #6, which featured the unholy wedding between Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Cthulhu of the Elder Gods. It seems that everyone keeps dreaming about Sabrina's torment. I'm curious if these dreams are just limited to those who know her or if the entire planet now dreams of Sabrina?

Next issue promises to be a Christmas story reminiscent of "The Shining." After that, we've been told that Jellybean will make some sort of appearance. I've been asking about her for a long time (here, here, and here). As with Polly Cooper, I think it'd be interesting to introduce Jellybean and Mrs. Jones to our group of survivors -- especially since Jughead keeps hunting them down.

"Dear Diary..." is written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa with artwork by Francesco Francavilla. It's also lettered by Jack Morelli.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I finally read this and it was great. I was completely unfamiliar with Explorers of the Unknown so I didn't get the Blaze thing. I'd be just as happy if Cheryl wasn't even in the book, but hopefully they'll make her interesting. I find Betty and Veronica's interactions more compelling. Since the next issue is a Christmas issue, I hope it doesn't take another 6 months. Also, Roberto Aguirre Sacasa promised Jingles, but not until issue 10, which might make sense since we'll be lucky to have issue 10 by NEXT Christmas! Ha ha.