Afterlife With Archie caught me, and everyone else I suspect, by surprise when it turned out to be so damn good. Taking characters you think you know better than some of your friends and turning their world upside down, as well as taking the original innocent, bubble gum type comic and turning it into horror was quite the gamble. In this case the gamble paid off quite well. Sabrina the Teenage Witch was always one of my favorite characters in the Archie universe yet she played a small, though integral, part in the series. It seems the creators decided to use her as the anchor for another horror comic. Not a spinoff, more a companion piece.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina isn’t set in Riverdale, hell it’s not even set in the present day. Instead it is set in the past, the 1960s to be exact. It also owes more to the Sabrina TV show than the original Sabrina comics. She has her aunts, Hilda and Zelda, her talking cat Salem and she’s in love with a boy named Harvey. That’s pretty much the end of the similarities. Sabrina is a halfbreed. Half human, half witch. Relationships between humans and witches are forbidden and after Sabrina’s birth her mother pays the price for the transgression committed by her warlock husband. Sabrina ends up functionally an orphan in the care of her father’s sisters. They decide to move to a place where no one will know them or Sabrina. So she can grow up as normally as a witch can.
This didn’t blow me away like Afterlife With Archie did. I was a little thrown by the lack of connection with that comic, in fact. About halfway through I let go of that and began to appreciate it on its own terms. It’s dark and twisted but more importantly it’s an interesting story. I think there’s less to play with because it’s a solo character as opposed to the Archie ensemble but there’s plenty of foundation to build on. I’m intrigued to see where they take it.
I’m giving The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina 4 out of 5 stars. It’s a good yarn and definitely a good book to debut in the month of Halloween. It may not have come out of the gate as strong as its companion series but I think it may well have legs. I’ll keep reading to see where the run leads me.
CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA #1
Terror is born anew in this dark reimagining of Sabrina the Teenage Witch’s origin. On the eve of her sixteenth birthday, the young sorceress finds herself at a crossroads, having to choose between an unearthly destiny and her mortal boyfriend, Harvey. But a foe from her family’s past has arrived in Greendale, Madame Satan, and she has her own deadly agenda. Archie Comic’s latest horror sensation starts here! For TEEN+ readers.
Script: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Art: Robert Hack, Jack Morelli
Cover: Robert Hack
Rosemary’s Baby Variant Cover: Robert Hack
On Sale Date: 10/8
32-page, full color comic