There has been a lot of scary stuff going on in the once-bucolic town of Riverdale lately. How has it all affected the life of everyone’s favorite teenage witch? Your Major Spoilers review of Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina #1 awaits!
INTRICATE AND BRILLIANT
Wrong. Oh, so very wrong. This issue is the scariest thing I’ve read in recent memory. Interestingly, it’s also a separate continuity from sister book ‘Afterlife With Archie’, as it begins in the year 1951 with the events surrounding Sabrina’s birth, giving us a glimpse at her long-lost father. But, as with ‘AwA’, this book takes the silliest conceits of the source material and plays them (you should excuse the expression) dead seriously, with Edward Spellman’s intentions for his newborn daughter clearly of the evil necromantic sort. The use of Hilda and Zelda in this issue is perfect, with their dowdy spinster exteriors hiding their true shape-shifting, possibly evil, possibly cannibalistic natures. The story hits every single note perfectly, from the introduction of Salem (a wonderfully dry presence throughout the rest of the issue, as he was in TV), introducing Harvey Kinkle and…
…anything more that I could tell you about that would spoil perhaps the best part of the issue. Suffice to say that right up until the final page, resurrecting one of the most minor MLJ characters and making me afraid of HER, Aguirre-Sacasa’s script is perfect in tone, dialogue and plot.
EVERYTHING YOU KNOW IS STILL RIGHT, SORTA
And, OH MY GOD, that art! Robert Hack’s work is stylistically in the same wheelhouse as Francesco Francavilla’s on ‘Afterlife’, but a little more photo-realistic in nature. The first appearance of Zelda, Hilda and their coven is unnerving as hell, but more importantly, it feels like its taking place in the 1950s, from the fashions, to the hairstyles, and his ink/coloring style is unlike anything I’ve seen in years. The subtlety of the line reminds me of the old-school ‘Chilling Adventures Of Sorcery” comic that gives this issue its name, with several pages looking like they were shot from the original pencil illustrations, making for a beautiful effect. The entire issue is really artistically amazing, with a couple of cameos that were fun without ever distracting from the dark and ominous tone of the whole affair.
THE BOTTOM LINE: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
If you’ve never read ‘Afterlife With Archie’, first of all, go get it. It’s very well-done work, that succeeds not only as a horror story but as a tale of the characters we’ve all grown up with, one way or another, and this book is a lovely counterpart to it. Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina #1 is excellent, with a literate and truly frightening story combined with utterly gorgeous/blood-curdling art, earning 5 out of 5 stars overall. Here’s to more Archie Noir stories to come…