Friday, February 10, 2017


ARCHIE COMICS – @ArchieComics @ArchieHorror

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

STORY: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
ART: Robert Hack
LETTERS: Jack Morelli
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (July 2016)

“The Crucible” Chapter Five: “The Trial”

Rated Teen + (Violence and mature content)

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is one of two Archie Comics series that were re-imagined as horror comic books.  The other is the zombie apocalypse series, Afterlife with Archie (a play on the title Life with Archie).  Published under the “Archie Horror” imprint, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina takes the traditionally lighthearted Sabrina the Teen-Age Witch and re-imagines Sabrina's four-color world as darkly-hued place of witchcraft, Satanism, and murder-most-foul.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa; drawn by Robert Hack; and lettered by Jack Morelli.  The story is set in the 1960s, with the current story line largely taking place in 1967.  Sabrina Victoria Spellman is a 16-year-old who lives in Greendale with her aunts, Hilda and Zelda (two witches of the Satan-serving variety); her cousin, Ambrose (a warlock); and her familiar, a cat named Salem.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #5 (“The Trial”) finds Sabrina facing the judgment of the Witches' Council for the sin of cavorting with a mortal.  On the eve of her 16th birthday, Sabrina was to be baptized a full member of the Church of Night.  However, her boyfriend, Harvey Kinkle, was tricked into interrupting the ceremony, which cost him his life.  Now, Sabrina must prove that the incident was not directly her fault, or she will face unending torment.

Meanwhile, Madame Satan, the mastermind behind the disaster with Harvey, drafts two Riverdale high school witches, Betty and Veronica (yes, that Betty and Veronica), into her plot.  Together, this trio will attempt to ensnare Sabrina into a dangerous ritual.

Way back in the early years of Image Comics, one of the “Image guys” explained why fans should accept that many Image Comics titles arrived in comic book shops way past their initial date of publication.  It takes a long time to grow roses was basically what that Image guy said.  So Image Comics were like roses, which to many are the epitome of flowers.  Thus, it took a long time to draw Image Comics, those roses of American comic book publishing.

Well, quite a few of those early Image Comics were roses to some, but they were weeds to others – weeds that eventually nearly choked the life out of the U.S. comic book market.  Also, I think it was the seminal hip-hop duo, OutKast, that sang that roses really smell like shit.

Anyway, it has been nearly a year since the publication of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #4, and, if I remember correctly, there was a long wait between the publication of the first two issues of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and the third and fourth issues.  All four issues were like roses, for the sake of the metaphor, so the length of time to grow Chilling Adventures of Sabrina installments were worth the wait.  They are flowers from a garden of unearthly delights, and when they finally bloom, they are a creepy sight to behold.

Seriously, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #5 is so good that I can't be mad.  It is certainly worth the wait.  Yeah, I'd like to read it more often, but while reading issue #5, the long delay between it and the fourth issue was the last thing on my mind.

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Robert Hack have created a horror comic book for the ages.  They are not defiling all-things Archie; rather, they are expanding the possibilities of the world of Archie Comics.  I think that the possibilities for expanding that world into multiple genres are limitless, but that has rarely been tested.  I also think writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's work is the vanguard that led to the recent new-look Archie Comics.

With artist Robert Hack, Aguirre-Sacasa will remain at the forefront of a revolution.  Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #5, a helluva occult comic, proves that.

[This issue includes a preview of Afterlife with Archie #9.]


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

The text is copyright © 2016 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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