"Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #5" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Archie Horror
Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Illustrated by Robert Hack
2016, 34 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on May 18th, 2016
It's been almost a year since Chilling Adventures of Sabrina graced comic shop shelves, and I'm glad to see it return. When we last left our heroine, her boyfriend Harvey Kinkle was just murdered by the coven after he witnessed Sabrina's baptism into the Church of Night. Now she stands trial in front of the Witches' Council for her connection to this mere mortal. Fortunately, she has an ace up her sleeve in the form of Madam Satan, the former lover of her deceased father who has been on one of the most bizarre paths of revenge in history.
The opening pages of Sabrina bring back the witches of Riverdale, Betty and Veronica, first seen in issue #1. They have this privileged way about them, playing with the dark arts like it's a new handbag. They've witnessed the true power of spells and sorcery, but they're still having fun with it. Later on, when the pain starts to come in droves, they're far less playful.
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Artist Robert Hack's designs for the characters fit in perfectly with the period. The girls are wearing their Riverdale cheerleading outfits, which consist of a sweater, pleated skirt, and high socks. The hair styles are something you'd see in an old movie. The overall look of the entire book, especially the colors, gives it a feeling of a found treasure, like it's been lying in wait for you to discover it for ages.
Sabrina's trial has some eerie similarities to real-life court drama, complete with comments from the audience. Instead of the Bible, Sabrina swears in by putting her hand on the Satanic Gospels and putting up the devil horns. That's so metal. She endures a handful of tests right out of Salem to prove that she's not lying about her involvement with Harvey. Of course, she is lying and that's where that ace comes in.
This trial is interspersed with flashbacks to a similar one with Sabrina's father, Edward. He was asking permission to marry a mortal, the woman who would eventually become Sabrina's mother. Edward had some different tactics, but it's clear that the Spellmans play by their own rules, especially when dealing with the Witches' Council.
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The real terror in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina picks up with the end of the issue, when Madam Satan's plan comes together. It's something I did not see coming and throws a real monkey wrench into the works. Maybe I was wrong about Madam Satan's revenge strategy after all. Her plan is far more sinister and a million times creepier. What this means for future issues is anyone's guess.
This is a welcome return for Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and one that packs a serious punch. It ratchets up the fear and starts to tie everything together in a way that has me clamoring for more. I just hope I don't have to wait another ten months until the next issue.