Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Vol. 1: The Crucible

While this graphic novel is probably best appreciated when read during the Autumn months, especially around Halloween, I finally got around to reading it this week and it was still enjoyable, even when read in the middle of cold and snowy weather.  This had been on my to read list for a while but for some reason it was always passed over for other titles.   I was afraid that I had waited too long to read it and that the hype would cloud my enjoyment of it.  Boy was I wrong.  This was a dark, sad, funny, retelling of the Sabrina story that most of us know and I would highly recommend it.

In this very dark version of Sabrina, she is a 15-year-old in the 1960’s, being raised by her two aunts, and trying to navigate school, friends, and boys while deciding if she is going to commit to the Devil on her 16th birthday or choose to live as a mortal with her boyfriend Harvey.   When an ancient foe returns to Earth, Sabrina’s life will change forever, and she must come to terms with her family’s secrets.

I was surprised that I liked this story so much because I am not a fan of horror. I usually avoid anything scary in order to sleep at night and not have nightmares about what I read or watched.  But I couldn’t escape the great reviews this story was getting as well as the fantastic artwork I saw posted on reviews and blogs and wanted to see what all the hype was about.  While this had scary moments, there was nothing too terrible in it.  In fact, I found this story to be more sad AND funny than scary.  I even found myself laughing out loud at some parts. If you are looking for the Sabrina of the nineties, look elsewhere.  This Sabrina practices actual magic i.e. the Occult, and the town is filled with witches and warlocks that don’t bat an eye at the idea of murder, cannibalism, and Satan.  The artwork in this series is exceptional.  The use of color is beautiful and really accents the tone of the story and sets the mood in certain scenes.   The story would be creepy enough as written, but the art adds another level to the horror you feel while reading.

sabrina cell

The characters are well developed, even the ones we only see for a few pages.  Edward Spellman, Sabrina’s lost father, is for lack of a better term…a dick.  His actions cause irreparable pain and suffering to most of the people in his life and I felt bad for anyone who was unfortunate enough to cross his path.  That’s not to say Sabrina’s aunts Hilda and Zelda are wonderful people but at least they have a love for Sabrina that shows in their words and actions.  Madam Satan is a fantastically evil character and I loved every time she was on the page. She makes a very formidable foe and I look forward to seeing how her character continues to wreak havoc on Sabrina’s life.  The inclusion of Archie, Betty, and Veronica was a nice surprise and I hope they are in future issues.

This is a fantastic start to what I hope continues to be an amazing story. I loved the characters and the art and would recommend this to everyone, even if they don’t traditionally enjoy horror.

Favorite Quote: “Should she be baptized and accept the Dark Lord’s final blessing…. or should she go to the pep rally and after-party with Harvey?”

Author:  Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

Artist:  Robert Hack

Published: 2016

Rating: 4 Stars

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