Sabrina Spellman must face the Witches’ Council for her crimes… Your Major Spoilers review of Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina #5 awaits!
Previously in Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina: “On the eve of her sixteenth birthday, Sabrina prepared to be baptized as a full member of the Church Of Night. But Madam Satan manipulated Harvey into following Sabrina into the woods, where he witness her initiation – a profane rite no mortal should lay eyes upon. Harvey’s intrusion into the darkest of witch ceremonies led to his untimely demise, killed by the coven. Sabrina must hide the truth of his disappearance from everyone in Greendale while also grieving the loss of her first love. She’ll do anything she can to get Harvey back – but first, Sabrina must face the Witches’ Council to be tried for her sins of cavorting with a mortal…”
CAN’T BELIEVE THAT *THEY’RE* WITCHES, TOO
So, yes, it has been a while since the last issue of ‘Chilling Adventures’, but within a few moments of opening this issue, I forgot all about that. After last issue’s final-page reveal by Miss Porter, offering to help Sabrina bring Harvey back, this issue throws us full-tilt into madness, with Archie Comics regulars Betty, Veronica and Nancy rehearsing for the upcoming performance of
“MacBeth” The Scottish Play. Robert Hack’s art is simply gorgeous in this issue, giving us a Marilyn Monroe-Betty, a Bettie Page-Veronica and provocative-without-ever-being-salacious witchy frolicking. (More on that, later…) Special note must be given to the perfect coloring, adding menace, drama and more than a little bit of dread to scenes that are already wonderfully rendered. As Riverdale’s favorite daughters finish with rehearsal, Miss Porter (aka Madam Satan) arrives, and carries B&V out into the woods to secretly assist Sabrina, who must face the judgement of the Witches’ Council. Aguirre-Sacasa’s scripting is excellent, counterbalancing Sabrina’s own trial with her father’s, some years ago, as well as making some ingenious connections that I never saw coming.
VERY COMPELLING STORYTELLING
Last issue featured many subtle nods to the work of Stephen King, this issue namechecks Shirley Jackson and features Shakespearean quotes and scenes, all of which serves to heighten the tension, with familiar themes and settings making the events of the story even more horrifying. And, whenever I start to relax, the issue surprises me with a plot twist. We see a bit more of Harvey Kinkle’s family in this issue, and the frighteningly-frozen smile of his grieving mother may be the scariest thing in this book (and trust me, that is saying something very impressive.) When Betty, Veronica, Sabrina and Madame Satan commence the second bit of witchy gyrating, their “infernal dance” is disturbing, compelling and subtly erotic all at once, and the sequence of their spell-casting is note-perfect. Most pleasing of all, Sabrina Spellman takes decisive action in this issue, no longer content to be pulled along by the hidden rot of events in Greendale. Granted, she undertakes an incredibly bad idea, one that the last page shows will have far-reaching consequences and probably a body count, but let’s be honest: That’s why one reads this book.
THE BOTTOM LINE: STILL GOT IT
In short, the careful (and impossibly difficult) balance between “America’s wacky teenage comic since 1940” and “eldritch monstrosities, murder and all things that go bump in the night” is maintained here, and these twenty-odd pages pack enough story and action that it reads like a much-longer book. Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina #5 gives us no less than THREE game-changing moments, some seriously black humor, more than a little social commentary and the satisfying visual of Veronica Lodge casting dark rituals in the night, earning 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. A creative team whose work continues to be this good can be forgiven for even months-long delays…