Something terrible is seeking Sabrina Spellman, but it’s one of her nearest and dearest who will pay the price… Your Major Spoilers review of Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina #4 awaits!
CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA #4
Writer: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Artist: Robert Hack
Colorist: Robert Hack
Letterer: Jack Morelli
Publisher: Archie Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina #4: In accordance with the ancient witch law, at age sixteen Sabrina Spellman was offered a choice: Baptism into the coven of witches, or reject her heritage and live as a normal human being. Rituals of darkness and blood led to the moment of truth, and as Sabrina moved to write her name in the dark book…
…Harvey Kinkle arrived in the midnight woods.
ARCHIE HORROR DOESN’T MESS AROUND
Last issue was a slow build to a moment of pure horror, with Miss Porter (known also as Madame Satan) manipulating Harvey, the aunties manipulating Sabrina, and all hell breaking loose (in the most literal sense) at the end. This issue opens with Harvey running for his very life, pursued through the forest by the Spellmans’ coven. If you’ve read ‘Afterlife With Archie’ (which takes place in a different, but equally horribly continuity), you’ll know that Aguirre-Sacasa is not afraid of killing even the most senior member of the Archie gang, but I couldn’t believe that they’d do something bad to goofy Harvey. And then, just as he is about to escape, Sabrina appears, and everything is going to be okay…
…until it’s not. This issue gives us back story on Mr. Kinkle, terrible tales of his Greendale childhood (featuring bullies with the familiar surnames “Repperton” and “Merrill”, a clear nod to the master of these teenage tales of the uncanny) and things in his past, before the creators rip our hearts by ripping out his. Metaphorically speaking, although that doesn’t mean that it’s not a fatal encounter.
AND SOME SPECIAL GUEST-STARS
The false Sabrina ensnares Harvey, while the real Sabrina tries to fix it all, only to discover the most disturbing scene this book has yet delivered to us. The second half of the book deals with Greendale’s search for its missing football star, even calling in reinforcements from nearby Riverdale, including Betty and Veronica, who come face to face with Madame Satan and return home not quite as confident as they were before. This issue features some truly dark moments, bits so entertainingly gruesome that you can’t help but admire the creators’ chutzpah as your skin crawls. (The subtle build to the question of what’s in the meatloaf caught me by surprise, and it’s so terrible, it’s perfect.) Robert Hack’s art is wonderfully moody and terrifying, but still capable of super-subtle moments of beauty (especially when it comes to Miss Porter, but she’s a literal succubus.) Most of all, as the issue ends, I feel a genuine dread of what’s coming next, especially in context of the opening storyline of ‘Afterlife,’ and I know that I will not be able to look away, no matter how terribly it all plays out.
THE BOTTOM LINE: WHEN THEY CALL IT ‘CHILLING’, THEY AIN’T KIDDIN’ AROUND
Even having read and enjoyed every issue of the sister series, I didn’t expect Harvey’s fate, I didn’t expect what came of it, and I was utterly poleaxed when the buses arrived from Riverdale. Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina #4 turns up the suspense, ups the ante of horror, and does it all with style and retro-panache (after all, this takes place in 1967), leaving the latest offering with 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. Good horror is hard to find, which makes this issue doubly wonderful to read.