What's Going On?
This is how the end of the world begins. In Riverdale, of course. Jughead's beloved mutt, Hot Dog, gets hit by a car and dies, so of course he visits Sabrina the Teenage Witch for a spell to bring him back to life. Stephen King won't sue for a Pet Semetary "homage." A zombified Hot Dog bites Jughead and George Romero won't sue for a Night of the Living Dead "homage." Veronica dresses in a Vampirella costume that really doesn't seem appropriate for a minor. Betty fails to out-sleaze in her slutty nurse get-up. Jason and Cheryl Blossom are up to something really disturbing (even for a horror comic), while Ethel joins the ranks of the living dead. All of the survivors (plus one) make their way to the Lodge mansion because it's built like a fortress. Pop's goes up in flames. Archie's dog meets Jughead's zombie dog and it's one of the few times in my life that I've cried while reading a comic book. Things get tense in the mansion, there's a fireworks show, and Robert Kirkman won't sue for a Walking Dead "homage."
How's the Writing?
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's work is top notch in every chapter of this trade collection. The nods to various other horror classics enter seemlesly into the story. It manages that ultra-fine line of being dark without also being depressing. I'm not as big of an Archie fan as a lot of the folks who will end up reading this collection, but he gives just enough background for each of them so that you can follow along and keep one character straight from another, even if you have only a passing knowledge of the old comics.
How's the Art?
Francesco Francavilla reaches the perfect blend of old-style cartoony and ink-drenched modern horror. If Dan DeCarlo and Stephen Bisette got caught in that transporter from The Fly and merged together, this is what you'd get for an artist. Every page is beautiful and/or grotesque.
Buy or Skip?
Buy, obviously. This one took a lot of people by surprise when it first came out (myself included). Zombies attacking Riverdale sounds like the premise for a joke issue, but this one is deadly serious and easily one of the best horror comics on the stands right now. In fact, if it wasn't for the companion book, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, I'd say this was THE best horror comic currently on the stands. Archie Horror is actually really scary? Who would have thought it?