Sabrina #1 (Comics Review)

Sabrina the Teenage Witch has been a big part of the Archie-verse over the years, even going so far as to get its own live-action television series or an animated series or the vast number of prose novels or what have you. Last year, we got to see a very different version of Sabrina than we had ever seen before, in Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla’s Afterlife With Archie, which put the blame of the Zombiepocalypse on Sabrina, unfortunately enough. It was a really dark and gritty take on Sabrina, and I admit that I loved it, mostly because it was a big shock to my system, having grown up with the kid-friendly version of the character.

And now Roberto and Archie Comics have launched Sabrina, a new comics series featuring Sabrina that kind of takes place in an alternate universe to Afterlife With Archie, but is no less grimdark or full of horror and suspense. With Roberto’s excellent writing and Robert Hack’s creepy, surreal artwork combined, the first issue released this week is all kinds of awesome, taking us from just a few days after Sabrina’s birth to her life as it is in high school. Lots of fun twists and turns, with some great dialogue and art make this an issue worth reading.

Sabrina 001

To be honest, I was wanting this to be a spin-off of Afterlife With Archie, but the fact that it is not is all the more awesome. And that’s primarily because this new series is very much Sabrina: Origins or Sabrina: Year One. And that’s fun, for me at least. As I said above, we see what happens after her birth, and what happens to her parents as well. One of the big questions I’ve always had about the character is why she lived with her aunts in the first place. And this series, indeed this issue, answer that question, in a most tragic way. But then, I’ve come to expect that of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who has done some wonderful things on Afterlife With Archie and does the same on this issue as well.

Right from the get go there’s this distinct creepy horror vibe since Sabrina’s father is a warlock and we see that he is quite ruthless as well when it comes to the promises that he has to keep to his coven, led by his two sisters Hilda and Zelda. And that they will not let anything stop them when it comes to Sabrina’s future, not even her mother Diana. There’s a strong tragic vibe to the story and I quite enjoyed since it is so very different from the regular Archie comics, and also so very similar to Afterlife With Archie, with many of the same stylistic flourishes to the story.

I loved Sabrina in this issue of course, but I think that equal admiration should be there for every named character in this issue, especially all the ones who are shown on the pages. Without any one of them, this issue would simply not have the same feeling. After all, it is Edward’s callousness and the compassion that Hilda and Zelda have for Sabrina that makes this issue so great. Yep, Roberto has reinvented the characters to serve his dark vision of them, but they are no less intriguing or fun to read about because of that.

In fact, I would even say that I love this version more, precisely for their uniqueness, which is quite meritorious I feel. And one thing that is so great about this issue is how Roberto fills in all the mythology about Sabrina and her powers and her moving to Greendale with her aunts and so on and so forth.

Robert Hack is the artist here with lettering with Jack Morelli. His artwork is similar in many ways to Francesco Francavilla’s on Afterlife With Archie, but he definitely stands out on his own as well. Whether it is his pencils or his inks or his colours in this sisue, I loved every moment of it. Almost, since there are a couple scenes where the art was just slightly inconsistent, but that’s very minor and easily ignored as well. The whole creepy horror vibe, with even a bit of the serious supernatural and thriller mixed in, makes the art really gorgeous. Robert Hack is every bit as awesome here as Francesco is on Afterlife With Archie.

Yes, buy it and read it! You really don’t want to miss out on this one!

Rating: 9.5/10

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Posted on October 10, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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