Disclaimer: All of the comics reviewed in this column were either provided by the respective creators/companies, or were purchased from local comics shops in and around Salt Lake City.

SABRINA #1 (monthly horror comic series, full color, 43 pages, Archie Comics $3.99)
Written by: Roberto Arguirre Sacasa
Art by: Robert Hack
Lettering by: Jack Morelli
Our Rating: (8 out of 10)

Archie Comics has a hit on their hands with “Afterlife With Archie” by Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa, Francesco Francavilla, and Jack Morelli. The comic is a spectacular take on Archie characters thrown into a world of zombie horror. The art is done using Francesco Francavilla’s pulp heavy style and color pallete. It sets the book apart from every other Archie comic and every other comic on the shelf.

Archie Comics is trying to replicate that success by taking their teenage witch character Sabrina, and place her in a mature and contemporary horror setting. If “Sabrina” issue one is any indication with the direction the storytellers are going with “Sabrina” then the good folks at Archie Comics have nothing to worry about.

The story is a simple one but it was done, I think, the right way by being told in an extra-long issue. Sabrina is the result of a hybrid marriage between her father the warlock and her mother the regular human. If this were the Harry Potter world, Sabrina’s mother would be a muggle. In this world though, she is abused, hypnotized, and driven insane by magic. Just after Sabrina’s birth her father, Edward Spellman, promises his daughter to a dark occult purpose. His mother is not OK with the idea but she has no choice. To hide the truth, Edward drives her mad.


Sabrina #1 - More Preview Pages Below

Sabrina needs a female figure in her life though so Edward has his sister’s look after her. Sabrina, after all, is a precious prize for Edward’s master, Lord Satan. Sabrina is a beautiful young lady who grows up quickly and is clearly a powerful witch. By her father sixth birthday, her father has disappeared and she is now in the sole guardianship of her aunt’s Hilda and Zelda. It is hinted that Edward is the prisoner of a tree. That part stuck with me and made Scott Snyder’s Wytches even spookier. This week was a good week in comic books for fans of the horror genre.

Sabrina desperately wants her father and needs some connection to her nuclear family. She acts out and her aunts do anything they can to rein her in. They soon decide that leaving their coven to move to nearby Greendale is the best choice. Sabrina, her aunts, and her cat familiar Salem move to Greendale and the story moves forward a few years. Sabrina’s hair has changed, she has a warlock cousin in the house, and she is dealing with being a teenager in 1964.

This book that can only be described as horror-fying.

The book is a great introduction to the story with great character exposition and some moments of genuine horror. The color pallete for this book is decidedly brighter than “Afterlife With Archie” but that allows for storytelling elements to become darker when necessary and appropriate. By the end of the book, the shadows have darkened and the story has taken a terrifying turn. What comes next should be thrilling.

Pacing is everything to a thrilling story and Robert Hack masters that with his panels and personification of facial features and character reactions. The coloring feels like a bit of a watercolor style mixed with traditional comic book gauche. The characters have distinct colors that represent who they are and that will hopefully continue through the rest of the series. It feels like Hack and Sacasa are teaching a dreadful dance set to apprehensive music. They've set a marvelous tone and this book that can only be described as horror-fying.

Mark Avo AKA Zendobot can usually be found reviewing comic books and picking out his favorite moments every week for “Five and Three” right here on Big Shiny Robot. You can also find him writing and inking The Salt City Strangers comic book or pretending he’s an expert for The Undead Soup Podcast (http://undeadsoup.com/undead2/). You can delight or even heckle him with your tweets @MarkAvo and he’ll be totally thrilled.


‘Sabrina #1: The Crucible’ Review
Images Courtesy of Archie Comics


‘Sabrina #1: The Crucible’ Review
Images Courtesy of Archie Comics


‘Sabrina #1: The Crucible’ Review
Images Courtesy of Archie Comics


‘Sabrina #1: The Crucible’ Review
Images Courtesy of Archie Comics


‘Sabrina #1: The Crucible’ Review
Images Courtesy of Archie Comics


‘Sabrina #1: The Crucible’ Review
Images Courtesy of Archie Comics


‘Sabrina #1: The Crucible’ Review
Images Courtesy of Archie Comics

Previous Post: 'Star Wars: Rebels' 1.3 "Droids in Distress"

Next Post: Five and Three

Tags: Sabrina , Witches , Archie Comics , Horror , Afterlife With Archie