Something wicked has come to Greendale, and it’s after everyone’s favorite teenage witch. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Book One follows Sabrina Spellman from infancy to high school as she tries to find a balance between mastering witchcraft and living as an ordinary teenager. Unfortunately for Sabrina, the mistakes of her father’s past have come back from the dead and are out for blood. Sacasa’s retelling of Sabrina the Teenage Witch is hauntingly new but pays dutiful homage to the Sabrina we all know and love.
Overall Rating: 7 out of 10
Creativity of concept: 7/10
This is not a tale of high school hijinks and pubescent angst. Sacasa manages to turn the former comic strip and TV favorite into a walk on the dark side of old-fashioned witchcraft. From Sabbaths to sacrifices, the Spellman witches pull no punches when it comes to utilizing the darkest methods of magic. This volume also treats fans to a cameo from some Riverdale classics, who prove to have their own formidable abilities in the dark arts. The Chilling Adventures is a creative take on an older story, but perhaps not for fans that prefer more light-hearted narratives.
Does the art style fit the story? Yes. Be that as it may, I was not blown away by artist Robert Hack’s portrayal of Sabrina and her crew. Personal opinion aside, his work still merits praise for managing to give the visuals of Greendale a “pulp horror” feel. The style is reminiscent of pre- Comics Code horror magazines, which fits the tone of the writing like a glove. Even so, I felt as though some of the characters came across emotionless, mortal or not. The facial expressions at times seemed to miss the drama of the written speech. It’s possible that this is an intentional creative choice, but for me, it simply did not read.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Book One is a page-turning quick read. I was fully engrossed from page one until the final page. My main critique is the character development. At moments, relationships feel rushed or forced instead of growing naturally across the pages. Specifically, Sabrina and Harvey’s relationship (though partially magic-induced) really doesn’t feature a lot of development before suddenly they are willing to risk their lives for one another. As a reader, I certainly liked their relationship but did not feel intimately connected to it as readers often do with written romance.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is sure to be a classic among horror comics and within the extended world of Archie Andrews and his friends. Whether you’re a comic fan looking for a new title, or a fan of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, The Chilling Adventures has plenty to offer- as long as you don’t scare easy!