High school can be awkward; moving to a new school even more so. But if anyone is up to the challenge, it’s Sabrina Spellman, right?
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artists: Veronica Fish and Andy Fish
Letterer: Jack Morelli
Publisher: Archie Comic Publications, Inc.
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: March 27, 2019
Previously in Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Our heroine has recently moved to the town of Greendale, along with her aunts, Hilda and Zelda, who are also witches. She’s starting her social life all over again, facing all the challenges of a new high school. Oh, and did I mention her cat Salem, who was once a warlock, but is now a talking – and snarky – cat?
MODERN, REFRESHING, AND TOTALLY SABRINA
Sabrina the Teenage Witch #1 has a rather dramatic beginning. (I do like starting stories in media res.) It’s dark. Sabrina wakes from being unconscious. Her jacket is torn and her arm injured. And there is large, horned beast looming over her. Maybe a wendigo?
And then we cut to thirteen hours earlier. (I like that thirteen there.) It’s morning and Sabrina is just waking up, thanks to Salem sticking his butt in her face. Ah, cats! Better than any alarm clock! Salem does talk, and I like his attitude, especially the sheer joy he’s taking right now in being a cat. Sabrina gets up and gets ready. She puts her trademark black hairband in, and does a little spell to change her iconic white hair to pale blonde. Salem warns her about using magic spells, but this is just a little one – how much trouble could it cause?
Her aunts Hilda and Zelda are already up and in the kitchen. Zelda admonishes her not to be late on her first day at school. Hilda notices that she’s anxious and tries to reassure her. The first day in a new place is never easy, especially if there’s anything about you that makes you stand out.
Sabrina gets to school and we immediately meet Randa, the mean girl, and Sabrina resists using a spell on her. As she picks up all her stuff (that went flying when Randa bumped into her), she meets Harvey. A lot of this issue is spent setting things up and meeting characters. In short order, she meets Jessa, a short, heavyset girl who is Randa’s main victim. And then she meets the handsome Ren, and they have an interesting bit of flirtation over an apple, where Sabrina holds her own, but also casts just another little spell.
The dramatic highlight of the day is during P.E. Sabrina partners up with Jessa, and it looks like she’s made a solid friend. This does not meet with Randa’s approval, so she picks on Jessa some more, and with one more teeny little spell, Randa falls headfirst into a mud puddle and all three girls get sent to the office. Jessa talks about Randa and Sabrina finds out that she has a really nice older brother. You guessed it – that would be Ren.
Sabrina and Jessa serve a detention and end up walking home through the woods after dark, and we’ve finally reached the beginning. The beast attacks them, and Sabrina just cannot draw upon her magic. She gets knocked out, comes back around in fairly short order, then starts to cast a spell, when the Wendigo is struck by a spell she cast earlier and is revealed for its true self.
And we are off and running with some quickly established, but solid, characters, high school drama, and a bit of magical mystery.
I love the new era of Archie Comics, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch #1 is no exception. The art is beautiful. Old, familiar characters are still recognizable, but they have been updated and they fit in so well. The opening scene with the Wendigo has scary overtones – not to the degree of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, but it is a fearsome beast, and it has drawn blood – this is still serious business.
Sabrina herself looks fantastic. She looks like a modern teenager. Her room is quirky and a bit messy. Her range of expression is great, from being a smartass when she’s talking to Salem, to being vulnerable when she realizes, as we all have done, that one of the biggest challenges of being a teenager can be dealing with your peers. Sabrina’s magic is a brilliant pinky-purple which really pops.
The settings look great too. I really like the house where Sabrina lives with her aunts. From the outside it looks like a charming older house. Inside we see mainly the kitchen and a porch, but the kitchen is a fabulous mix of old-fashioned and modern – like something we could realistically see today, but also a great place to do spells. You know, if one actually were a witch.
BOTTOM LINE: I THINK WE’RE OFF TO A PROMISING BEGINNING
I’ve always been fond of Sabrina, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch #1 starts out hitting a lot of the right notes for me. I love the modern style, the art is beautiful, I can identify with her and her anxieties, and I love her for making friends with the downtrodden and resisting the bully. I think it shows some promise for having more interesting things beneath the surface as well, and I look forward to reading more.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch #1
Sabrina the Teenage Witch #1 starts out hitting a lot of the right notes for me.