Afterlife With Archie #9 Review

Warning: This review contains spoilers for the end of the issue.

Even the most casual of fans knows that Reggie is Riverdale’s dirtbag. Rude, crude, and perennially booed, he is a jerk. While certain portions of his personality have been lessened or taken away over the years, he is still the go-to villain in any Archie story. Reggie loves pranking Archie and doing his best to manipulate Veronica into ditching him. He’s a sleazy dude with a greaser-style haircut to match. He’s the one you love to hate, even if he goes too far on some occasions.

If a Reggie-focused story isn’t based on his maliciousness, it is about deflating his massive ego. He is an extreme narcissist, dubbing himself ‘Mantle the Magnificent.’ He’s obsessed with personal grooming and making sure that everyone knows how talented he is. A common Archie Comics staple is Archie and Reggie competing in some activity, usually sports-related, and some blunder causes Reggie to humiliate himself. Also, he has commonly been portrayed as a womanizer; gleefully hitting on girls who are already in a relationship, especially Midge. Despite all of this, some stories show his good side, such as playing the piano for a church or standing up for his father’s integrity. With all of this, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has a Herculean task on his hands if he hopes to humanize him. (Yeah, alliteration!)

Thankfully, he seems to be up to the task. Afterlife With Archie #9 humanizes Riverdale’s biggest nuisance while simultaneously dramatizing him. The issue focuses on his struggles to redeem himself for (unwittingly) starting the zombie apocalypse, although he’s starting to suspect that it’s his fault. I went from feeling sorry for Reggie as he worries that he might be a sociopath, to disgusted at him creepily lusting after Midge, even literally having her as his first and last thoughts of every day.

Throughout the entire issue, I bounced between liking and disliking Reggie, especially near the end. Reggie is revealed to have a death wish. He leaves everyone behind to confront the horde of zombies, hoping that they would kill him quickly. Shockingly enough, they completely avoid him, even when he kneels before the zombified form of Hot Dog. Then, he hears a strange voice, revealed to be none other than Sabrina!

Sabrina, now completely under the thrall of Cthulhu after their marriage in the previous issue, convinces Reggie that if he just completes one simple task, then Midge would be resurrected for him to “do whatever he wanted, to her.” Putting that incredibly disturbing statement aside, what would Reggie have to do? Oh, nothing, just go back to the gang, repent, and then kill Betty. Yeah. Unfortunately, we won’t find out what’s going to happen after that huge cliffhanger until the eleventh issue, because next time, we’re getting treated to a one-off special about a band called Josie And The Pussycats.

I really enjoyed this issue. It hammers home just how despicable Reggie is and gives us a reason to potentially root for him in the future. Just after he sorts out all of his creepy Midge issues. One of my main complaints would just have to be the incredibly long hiatus between issues. Other than that, it’s all good.