Sabrina’s got some new friends and a few new secrets to go with them!
This series deserves full marks for taking a story we’ve seen before in various media and wrapping it in some magical new trappings. The art is fun, the dialogue is snappy and cute, and this version of Sabrina is just so relatable and such a total sweetheart that you want to see her figure things out.
Teen dramas are chockfull of characters keeping secrets from one another, regardless of whether or not it makes sense for them to do so. It’s a relief, then, to see that overused trope pretty much tossed aside for this storyline. Sabrina keeps her monstrous confrontation a secret from her aunts for about .05 seconds, then realizes that they’re her best shot at getting the answers she needs. Likewise, Sabrina keeps her new friends’ secret in order to earn their trust, because she knows that she’ll need allies in order to fit in at Greendale High.
Sabrina is portrayed as smart and capable, but also willing to put the same trust in others that she’d want from them. It’s a very refreshing character trait to see in a book of this type. None of the drama feels manufactured. Instead, each confrontation builds off of previous information and plot points.
One minor quibble is that the scene with Harvey in this issue is a little too similar to the meet-cute from last month. Still, the dialogue is so charming and the whole scene has enough of a “Xander meeting Buffy for the first time” vibe to it that I didn’t really mind. It also moves the story forward, as it could have been a real missed opportunity to have Sabrina waffle on whether or not she wants to go on a date. It’s great to see Sabrina allowing herself to be somewhat like a normal teenager in this way.
The artwork continues to be a delight, especially in the more supernatural sequences. A big highlight of the issue is the descent into the lower levels of the Spellman residence. Hilda and Zelda’s witchy Batcave is fascinatingly realized, lined with ancient masks and books, simultaneously pastel and gothic in the way that only a couple of witches from Riverdale would decorate their digs. It’s a wonderful touch for which the art team of Veronica and Andy Fish deserve to be credited.
The look of the kraken at the beginning of the issue is also fantastic, with its almost rubbery movements and cartoonish facial expressions. It has an almost “Marvin the Martian” look to it when it skulks away after the confrontation with Sabrina and company that I really enjoyed. It took the edge off of a tense moment with just the right amount of levity.
It’s pretty inescapable for a series about a witch to not occasionally have to dive into some of the darker supernatural elements inherent in that concept. However, this series is clearly having a lot of fun with taking the tropes of the genre and dressing them up in classic Archie Comics humor and aesthetics.