Monday, November 6, 2017

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Sabrina Spellman grows up without her parents with her aunts Zelda and Hilda. Her life is far from normal since her aunts along with the rest of her family (except her mother) are all witches. Her cat Salem talks and acts as her familiar. Sabrina doesn't have full fledged witch powers yet and has to partake in a grisly ceremony on her 16th birthday to accept these powers. She balances the magic world and the regular world of her town Greendale and her school. Her father's past actions come back to haunt her in the form of a jilted undead ex-lover dead set on ruining the entire Spellman family.

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a horror revitalization of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. Instead of light hearted foibles, cheesy jokes, and zany family dynamics, this series has a completely different mood and genre. This is hardcore horror with casual cannibalism, Satan worship, and bloody rituals all grounded in 60's era aesthetics (which is also when the series takes place). These witches are evil and get their power by pledging themselves to Satan. Small references are peppered throughout each comic that include name drops like Dr. Saperstein (the Satan worshipping OBGYN from Rosemary's Baby) and Mrs. Lovett (the human-meat pie baker from Sweeney Todd). Sabrina balances the much darker magic world with the mortal world, shown as she grows up through the 50’s and 60’s.

As a character, Sabrina is a fairly typical teenager. She is torn between the power of Satan and the promise of a future with Harvey, her high school sweetheart. The Witches Council bans relationships between witches and mortals, although Sabrina is the product of one, a point of contention with other witches who call her half breed. Her aunts don’t hestitate to use their magic when their charge is threatened, like conjuring a giant spider to terrorize an arachnophobic classmate of Sabrina’s who made fun of her heritage. My favorite character is Madame Satan, formerly known as Iola. She committed suicide dramatically after Sabrina’s father left her for a mortal and returned after spending years in Gehenna, faceless and tortured. Her revenge on everyone involved isn’t swift or painless and works exceedingly well. I’m honestly kind of rooting for her because she’s so much more entertaining than the other characters.

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a delightfully dark comic (especially in comparison to the source material). The art is consistent with the era and beautifully done. The only real flaw of the story is the final installment focuses on the backstories of Sabrina and Ambrose’s familiars Salem, Nag, and Nagaina instead of continuing the crazy cliffhanger of the previous story. Other than that, I am excited for the continuation of the series and will be checking out other Archie Horror titles, including Afterlife with Archie, which crosses over with this story.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

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