"Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Archie Comics
Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Illustrated by Robert Hack
2015, 36 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on April 15th, 2015
And we're back. Five months after the release of the first issue, the horror-filled re-imagining of Sabrina the Teenage Witch returns. This time around, the title character takes a backseat as we get up to speed with the Queen of Hell herself, Madam Satan. It turns out that she has a loose connection to the Spellman family and she's pretty pissed off, so she has set her sights on young Sabrina.
The vast majority of this issue is spent with Madam Satan as she works her way into a position close to Sabrina. Writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa weaves this character's origin into the overall mythos by making her Edward Spellman's kooky ex-girlfriend. Picture the absolute worst break-up you've ever had. Now multiply that by a million and that's approximately how bad this went. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, right?
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Madam Satan's story is like something out of an episode of Jerry Springer. She reaches crazy stalker levels of obsession with Edward, and vows to take revenge on his family because he broke up with her like twenty years ago. She clearly hasn't seen Frozen yet. Let it go, lady. The lengths that Madam Satan goes are pretty insane. The plan has been meticulously thought out, however there is little to no regard for the lives left broken or flat out ended in her wake. Nothing is going to stop her from reaching her goal.
There's a particularly chilling scene where Madam Satan visits Sabrina's mother, Diana, in the Hearthstone Clinic. This is where Diana was left after she had what appeared to be a lobotomy. Now she lulls about in a wheelchair. The pages are filled with tension because you're not sure what kind of horrible revenge Madam Satan is going to enact on “the other woman.” This is coupled with the break-up story, so you get a quick rundown of her origin before she ultimately performs something incredibly cruel and dark.
When Madam Satan first appears, she looks like a dead body that's just crawled out of a lake. Her eyes have been replaced by two small skulls. Although she literally steals the face of a young woman, this “dead face” look pops up throughout the book, usually whenever she uses her powers. It's a nice effect showing what's really lurking beneath the skin.
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Artist Robert Hack's panels look like decades old photographs that have just been unearthed from an attic somewhere. This helps as the story takes place in 1966. You're instantly transported to that time period. From the moment you open the book, you realize that this is something different.
If the first issue of Sabrina told her origin and this one delved into the past of Madam Satan, hopefully the next will have their paths crossing a bit more. As it stands, we're given exposition I'd expect from a Bond villain as Madam Satan plots her revenge against the daughter of the guy that broke up with her years ago. She suffered in Hell for all that time, not because of something Edward did, but because of what she did to herself. Also, I don't understand how she's dubbed “Queen of Hell” on the back cover when she literally had to claw herself out of the underworld for her elaborate vengeance. She's like the Joker of this comic...if the Joker had dated Batman's dad and held a grudge.