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Afterlife With Archie #10

    Ian Jane

  • Afterlife With Archie #10

    Afterlife With Archie #10
    Released by: Archie Comics
    Released on: August 31st, 2016.
    Written by: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
    Illustrated by: Francesco Francavilla
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    The tenth issue of Archie Horror's flagship title starts with a scene that takes place not in Riverdale, but Los Angeles at the Chateau Marmont on October 31st, just before the plague turned everything upside down. Here a reporter named Blankenship is interviewing the beautiful Josie McCoy, who explains to him how she was born in 1906, how she and her band, The Pussycats, went from a high school garage act to the hottest band in the land. She doesn't want to divulge a lot in the way of personal details, her private life is just that, but her manager promised…

    …and so we flashback to 1906, how her mother died six minutes after giving birth to her in an alleyway on the way to the hospital after her father abandoned them. Josie was left at an orphanage run by Alexandra Cabot and she worked the girls to the bone. It was here that Josie met Melody Valentine, Valerie Brown and Pepper Smith, all orphans who grow close enough in time to become like family to one another. Their shared love of music made the work a little easier, but it didn't go over well with Cabot until one of her boyfriend's, Uncle Buddy, heard them and figured they had potential. From here, he groomed them as the Cabot Sisters and turned them into a Vaudeville act and toured them around. Their fame grew, they made some money, but in Georgia some folks weren't happy that a black girl was going to be on the same stage as white performers. A quick visit from the Ku Klux Klan run them all out of town. From there, they looked for bigger cities, more progressive venues, in which to perform. As teenagers in the twenties they played New York City but it looked like this would be their last gig - Uncle Buddy was apparently playing around with Pepper, and the ramifications of that play date were due to arrive in a few months. After the show the girls met a man named Henry Irving who whisked Josie, Melody and Valerie off to a party at his Long Island mansion on the beach leaving Pepper to contend with Buddy and Alexandra. The girls performed and it went off like gangbusters. After the show? Irving coaxes Josie out on to the balcony and it's then that we learn why, when he passes mirrors, we see no reflection and how Josie, Melody and Valerie have managed to look so good and so young for well over a century.

    As the decades unfold, the girls reinvent themselves time and time again, performing during the day and at night, seeing that justice is served along with their insatiable lust for blood. But Irving, he was still around, and Pepper too…

    This issue is a pretty cool 'break' from the events happening in Riverdale. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's story does a pretty cool job of working Josie And The Pussycats into the Archie Comics 'horrorverse' without breaking the dark tone of the main storyline. We'll see where it goes from here, clearly it'll tie into the main thread, but for now, this issue doesn't have anything to do with Archie or Jughead or the rest… for now. The script is clever in how it ties in the vampirism to changing trends in music and the band's part in those trends. There's some humor here, sometimes fairly dark, but it is rightly played straight for the most part. There's good depth, some interesting character development and some equally interesting moral dilemmas at play in the last half of the book. At the same time, it ties in some interesting aspects of the more traditional Archie history, rethinking Alexandra Cabot's role for example.

    Francesco Francavilla's continues to be the perfect artist for this series. His style has an appropriately eerie tone to it that jives pretty much perfectly with the writing. He gives Josie and the other girls the right mix of sex appeal and intensity in the key scenes that ask for it, and his penchant for using darker, shadowy panels better than pretty much anyone else in the industry really shines throughout this issue. The coloring, as it's been in pretty much every issue so far, leans toward the darker side of the palette but again, it's in keeping with the first nine issues of the series and it looks fantastic over the heavy inks and thick line work that are a big part of what makes his art so cool to look at.

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