Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artists: Veronica Fish, Andy Fish
Letterer: Jack Morelli
Cover Artists: Veronica Fish, Paulina Ganucheau, Victor Ibanez
Publisher: Archie Comics
Everyone’s favorite teenage witch is back with a vengeance! Following the success of the tv series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and her recent appearance as Archie’s latest paramour in his self-titled series, it was only a matter of time for the blond vixen to once again receive her own title.
In the first issue of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, readers were introduced to a Sabrina Spellman that seems both new and familiar. The new series had a strong debut last month, with a simple, back-to-basics approach.This was the right way to go as the new book remains accessible to new readers, but offers plenty of twists and occasional fan service to appeal to longtime fans. Our story picks up right where issue one left off as Sabrina faces off against a mysterious beast with ties to both her new rival and a potential love interest. What follows is an investigation involving monsters and mysticism as Sabrina takes on the role of teen witch/detective to discover the truth behind Greendale’s latest menace.
Writer Kelly Thompson has made quite the name for herself in recent years and she is very much in her element here. Her iteration of Sabrina is incredibly engaging, full of charming sass, humor, and relatable awkwardness. This last trait may be her strongest, with Thompson depicting her as a lonely teenager, feeling truly alone in a school full of normal, boring kids. Much like nearly every other version of the character, Sabrina is no angel and is not above casually casting small spells for her own amusement. This helps to keep the character grounded, despite the escalating craziness of her situation, particularly during the early pages when she’s actually fighting a Kraken-like beast. Thompson infuses a lot of the sensibilities from her previous work into this, creating in Sabrina a pop-culture composite of Buffy, Veronica Mars, and Kate Bishop, which is in no way a bad thing.
The art by Veronica and Andy Fish is top-notch and may be their finest work to-date. Much like the tone of the story, the art lies somewhere between the bright, cartoony feel of the main Archie books and the grittier, sketchier horror books, particularly Robert Hack’s work on Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. The characters are all distinct, with their own body language and poise that sets them apart from one another. Jack Morelli’s lettering fits the tone as well and is able to keep pace with the story, complementing the art nicely.
Those still lamenting her previous all-but-cancelled series may be left wanting something darker and edgier, while those used to her appearances in the core Archie and Jughead titles may be put off by the creepy vibes. The book as a whole is very entertaining, with Thompson doing an admirable job of bridging those two series into a hybrid that is both fun and creepy. It’s likely not a coincidence that the tone and style of this series is very close to that of the current Netflix series but still manages to keep things lighthearted.