Death has come to Riverdale, and for the past several issues it has taken the lives of those closest to Archie and his friends. As the first arc wraps up here, we see that staying at the Lodge Mansion may no longer be an option, as the zombies seem to be drawn to the survivors’ location. And with the undead pushing the protective barriers past their breaking points, the survivors on the inside have just about reached theirs, and a new course of action is desperately needed.
Instead of increasing the body count in this issue, there’s a nice build of tension and urgency. Aguirre-Sacasa does this by not only raising the stakes, but also dropping several hints as to how all of this madness began. However, the standout character in this issue would have to be Smithers. Most of the issue is told through him as we’re shown just how devoted he is to the Lodge family through a series of flashbacks.
As usual Francesco Francavilla has been nailing the visual half of the story in every panel. His visual style is just as drastic a change from the usual depiction of the characters as the story we’re getting. However, it works and syncs with the narrative just perfectly. What puts the visuals over is his use of the limited choice of colors that pack quite the eye pleasing punch needed to assist in certain panels.
There is no way you could have convinced me years ago that one of the hottest horror titles on the shelves would be starring the gang from Riverdale. With each issue we have been given solid story development and a more mature take on these classic characters that feels as if they’ve been depicted this way for years. So if you didn’t get the chance to start this series at the first issue this isn’t where you want to start. What you should do is go back and grab the previous four issues and work your way up to how great this one is!