exactly one year since the previous issue was published. Once again, Archie Comics assures us that their best-selling comic book title will resume a regular publishing calendar and that the chronic delays will stop. Of course, they said that one year ago. So we shall see. But it's worth noting that I'm currently holding issue #9 of a "monthly" comic book series that made its debut way back in October 2013!
But before we get too far into this blog post...
This blog entry contains spoilers. If you don't want to know about what happens in AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #9, then stop reading now. You have been warned.
Back to the show...
Riverdale's only know survivors, Archie, Betty, Veronica, Reggie, Mr. Lodge, Smithers, Mrs. Andrews, Kevin, Dilton, Nancy, Chuck, Ginger, and Blaze (FKA Cheryl Blossom), have been on the run for months, just one step ahead of Zombie Hot Dog, Jughead, and the rest of the undead masses. Last issue, they took refuge for Christmas in a spooky old hotel. The issue ended with Archie proposing to Betty... and she said YES!!
Did I mention that we are two chapters into a storyline called "Betty: R.I.P.?"
But this issue is all about Reggie Mantle. He is the person who started this apocalypse. I mean, Sabrina resurrected Hot Dog and Jughead was the first person to get bit by the undead canine, but Reggie was the person who accidentally hit Hot Dog with his car and left the dog to die on a curbside.
We found out the rest of Reggie's deep shame: He didn't accidentally hit Hot Dog with his car. He deliberately swerved to run into Jughead's dog.
We spent a lot of time exploring Reggie's pre-apocalyptic life. Stemming from an online personality test, Reggie began fixating on the question about whether or not he is a sociopath. The only thing that prevented him from accepting that he is a sociopath is that he is in love with Midge Klump.
We learn that Reggie and Midge shared a messed up codependent romance. She would publicly date her longtime boyfriend Moose Mason and then privately hook up with Reggie when nobody else was around. And then she would sit back when Moose would strike out at Reggie for paying too much attention to Midge.
By the way, AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #9 features the first depiction of masturbation in an Archie Comics comic book. In fact, this might be the first depiction of comic book masturbation that I've seen in any comic book! (Barring my "Dykes to Watch Out For" collection)
Remember when people were freaking out over the creating of Kevin Keller, Archie Comics' first gay comic book character? Or when they refused to let him kiss another boy for years? Or when Archie jumped in front of a bullet (at the end of LIFE WITH ARCHIE) to save Kevin's life? What do you want to bet that the anti-gay haters won't ever freak out about this panel? I'm just saying...
Back to AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #1 and the flashbacks within AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #9, we learned why Moose was beating up Reggie way back in issue #1 and why Reggie was so upset that he deliberately swerved to run into Hot Dog. Turns out that Midge was pregnant. Possibly by Moose, but probably by Reggie. And she wanted Reggie to give her $500 to get an abortion. Reggie ends up agreeing to give Midge the money for the abortion, but then gets beat up by Moose for spending time with his girlfriend.
Reggie ends up confessing to Kevin Keller that he went out of his way to kill Hot Dog and now the guilt of initiating the apocalypse is getting to him. He's convinced that the never-ending horde of zombies is following them because he killed Hot Dog.
So he tells Kevin that he is leaving the group to sacrifice himself to the Jughead and the rest of the zombies, including Hot Dog, King of the Dead!
Except that the zombies won't touch Reggie. Instead, he is contacted by Sabrina the Teenage Bride of Cthulhu. For his role in bringing about the apocalypse, Cthulhu considers Reggie to be a dark prince. Sabrina tells Reggie that he is to be rewarded with a gift: the return of his lover, Midge -- fully resurrected and recovered!
However, Midge will only be brought back if Reggie completes one final act of selfishness and destruction: Kill Betty Cooper! And sadly, Reggie agrees to Sabrina's demand!
Will Reggie successfully kill Betty? And will her death destroy the morale of Riverdale's survivors? We will need to wait until AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #10, which should hopefully get published before 2017!!
"The Trouble With Reggie" is written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa with artwork by Francesco Francavilla. It's also lettered by Jack Morelli.