This comic is graphic, scary, and now I can add intellectually engaging. I have nothing but praise for this.
This issue begins with a flashback to when Archie is young and his parents took him to adopt a puppy. Archie’s mom, Mary, is struck with sadness as she remembers having a dog as a child, and when the dog died, having to face the realization that death is an inevitable part of life, something her own young son must one day learn.
Mary: …I’m just remembering the dog I had, when I was a girl. Spotty. How overjoyed I was when I got him, and how utterly devastated I was when… when…
Fred: Spotty was a good dog.
Mary: He was, and it was the most awful feeling, Fred, and I can’t bear the thought of Archie going through it.
Fred: Yes, but that’s years from now, Mary. And sad to say, a part of growing up. Comes a time in every young person’s life when they realize that not everything is forever…
Mary: Too, too soon… when they learn that death’s a part of life, even their own.
Archie makes it home where his dog, Vegas, fights with the infected Hot Dog and becomes a zombie dog too. But the real dark twist in the story comes when Archie enters his house and discovers his mom is alive but that his dad is infected and has become one of the walking dead. As Fred gets ready to attack Archie’s mother, Archie comes to her defense and violently kills his father, having flashbacks of their happier times together as he is forced to smash his father’s skull with a baseball bat.
It is a very dark and disturbing sequence, but very symbolic. Archie assumes the role of an adult male and the master of the household upon the killing of his father. He then escapes with his mother in an attempt to make it back to Veronica’s house and rejoin the others. Even though there is no sexual innuendo concerning Archie and his mother, this is a clear reference to the Oedipus myth.
I am still amazed at how complex and dark this series is. I applaud the writers for taking risks and making Archie into something modern and engaging.