Fans of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina are surely aware of her “familiar” cat, Salem. The talking feline is there to help Sabrina and be her companion. But how did Salem become a familiar? Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #6 answers that question and a few more. Read on for the Major Spoilers review!
Previously in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Sabrina has a talking pet cat named Salem. Protective, thoughtful and a bit creepy, this is the story of how he became a familiar.
I certainly didn’t see this issue’s story coming, that’s for sure. What I thought would be continuing the main story line turned out to be a great done in one tale about how Salem became a familiar, as well as Ambrose’s cobras. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa sets the eerie tone in the first two pages as a mouse is seen scrounging for food. The captions read like a children’s story: “M is for mouse. There is a mouse in the house.” Of course, I initially thought Salem would be the downfall of the poor mouse, but as usual Aguirre-Sacasa has some tricks up his sleeve. “C is also for cobra”. From there the story goes into an exchange between Salem and the cobras about how each of them became familiars.
Both stories are done extremely well, with Salem’s being the best because of how slightly tragic it is. The cobras were a prince and princess that attempted to murder their father, the Maharaja’s very young bride-to-be. It’s in the vein of the old EC horror comics, where there is a twist and the characters get what they deserve. Salem’s, on the other hand, had me in knots. As a young man named Samuel in Salem, Massachusetts, he gets work at John Proctor’s farm. He starts a fling with Abigail, Proctor’s servant girl, getting her pregnant. Samuel refuses to marry Abigail and at one point suggests she leave to have the child and abandon it, or worse. Abigail turns out to be a witch and you can figure out some of what happens from there. Even more unsettling things happen, including the most disturbing goat appearance in a comic ever. While Salem certainly wasn’t a good person, it’s also hard not to pity him somewhat. He’s patiently waiting for the day he’ll become human again, one that I’m not sure will ever come. I also really liked how Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa mixes in real world settings and events, as well as other classic horror stories such as the “The Monkey’s Paw.” It all comes together in a creepy and well done one-shot story that anyone can pick up and enjoy.
SERIOUSLY…THAT DAMN GOAT
Robert Hack delivers some of his best work on the title yet. While I don’t always like parts of his work, such as faces or figures being warped, there are a fewer instances here. Mr. Hack more than makes up for it in the horror aspects too. Seeing the Devil in walking goat form, not once but twice, is something I won’t get out of my head any time soon. When the characters are turned into animals, the change is horrifying as the animal and human attributes blend and pull together. The panel that shows just Abigail’s head surrounded by eerie light as she curses Samuel resembles an old Tales From the Crypt comic. Like some of the story, the art has an EC Comics vibe, working to its advantage. Along with the orange and brown “fall colors”, the book remains unlike anything else on the stands.
BOTTOM LINE: ANOTHER WINNING CHILLER
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #6 is a wonderful done in one story that is eerie, tragic, slightly heartbreaking, and disturbing. Definitely disturbing. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa proves again that the Archie characters can be used effectively in ways that haven’t been seen before. Robert Hack continues his great work, delivering the best of the title so far. Readers who are curious about Chilling Adventures couldn’t do better picking up this issue. It sets the tone of the series perfectly while not carrying any baggage with it. Who’d have thought that one of the best and original horror comics out now would star Sabrina the teenage witch? Certainly not me, but I’m glad it does.