The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina issue 1 Review
With the soaring popularity of the Afterlife with Archie series from Archie Comics, it was no wonder that they would start to spread their new horror bent towards other characters and titles in the land of Riverdale.
Enter Sabrina, the teenage witch. When we last saw Sabrina, she was sent away to the nether-realm as punishment for bringing the dead back to life, but the new Sabrina title begins in another time period completely. Modern Sabrina will remain in the pages of Afterlife with Archie, this new Sabrina title has more in common with the classic Creepy and Eerie comics of the past than with modern day zombie horror.
And that is what the new Sabrina comic is all about. It is a step back in time for classic horror comic fans. Sabrina is taken from her mother as an infant on October 31st, 1951 by a coven of witches headed by her father and his two sisters. Her birth was part of a deal with the devil, and she has a dark future ahead of her.
Her mother goes mad, and her father mysteriously disappears, leaving only her two aunties to raise her. It isn’t long before Sabrina’s magical talents make themselves known, and we sense that Sabrina is going to become another Hermione of the magic realm. Taunted by her peers, the family moves to another town to give Sabrina a fresh start as she begins high school. Her talking cat Salem is there to give her advice, whether she wants it or not.
The whole story has a “Rosemary’s Baby” feel to it, and through this you get the sense of the horror that is hopefully to come in future issues. There doesn’t seem to be any Wiccan bent to the witchcraft in these pages. The witches in Sabrina’s world get their powers from Satan. They perform evil deeds, and were burned at the stake for probably quite justifiable reasons.
I was surprised that Archie Comics went in this direction. Sabrina herself has not performed any evil deeds as yet, aside from a self-serving love potion. I never pictured the whole Sabrina gang as part of a devil worshipping coven of evil, and I still prefer to think of Sabrina as the teenage girl filled with angst, who was born into magic and isn’t really evil herself.
They are doing a good job with the period feel of the comic. References to Ringo Starr and J.F.K are peppered in with the correct clothing and environment for the time. If anyone would know how to put together a comic set in this period, it would be Archie Comics. The story so far doesn’t feel like a simple retelling of a tale we’ve heard a hundred times though. It’s modern storytelling applied to a period piece comic.
It will be interesting to see what direction writer Roberto Aguirre-Sarcasa takes Sabrina. I know there will be horror, and the artwork by Robert Hack has that feel to it. This introduction to her universe gives us a lot of backstory, but no real sense of Sabrina herself yet. This is a great start to an interesting new series concept. I’m ready to see something really scary.