Straight-laced suspense and fright in “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #3” Review

May 27, 2015

Sabrina 3 CovChilling Adventures of Sabrina #3
Archie Comics

Story by: Roberto Aguirre-Scasa
Art by: Robert Hack

The ‘chilling’ in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #3 is by no means a misnomer. In fact, Archie Horror’s companion series to the successful Afterlife with Archie zombie book is an equally disturbing and engaging tale of straight-laced suspense and fright. Sabrina is on the verge of full-fledged witchhood and her baptismal will ensure immortality if she chooses. If that weren’t enough to deal with Madam Satan looks to complicate things further for our heroine.

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa provides a little history lesson about the witch trials and tragic loss of life at the hands of a terrified public. It set in motion changes to the witch by-laws that now affect Sabrina as she approaches her sixteenth birthday. She’ll have the choice to go full witch through a special baptism at the feet of the Dark Lord himself. Or simply decline and remain forever mortal and normal. It’s not an easy decision for Sabrina and the anticipation of the ceremony in a clearing in the woods looms as large as the blood moon in the sky.

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The world of Archie Horror isn’t into cheap theatrics. Instead, the imprint relies on character development and creepy storytelling. It’s the matter-of-fact way ‘Sabrina’ goes about its business in treating witchcraft and its rituals that lend to the uneasy tension on the page. The baptism itself is a mind-blowing affair that presents Sabrina as aSabrina 3 Var member of the Church of Night and conducting a sacrifice. A sacrifice!

She’s no longer the teenage witch with a snarky talking cat and two doting aunts. She’s worshiping at the altar of Satan! It’s not just the shock of it all but the ease and routine with which it happens.

Robert Hack continues to do exceptional work in a classic pulp style that lends perfectly to the ’60s era. Jack Morelli washes the scenes in oranges and touches of brown with splashes of bright colors in hair and clothing. Their teamwork transports the reader to another place full of anxiety and dread.

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Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is the real deal. A methodical journey into the darkest reaches of magic and horror with a sweet budding witch at the center. It still retains some of the high school drama we’re accustomed to, but the stakes are so much higher and the thrills much more genuine.

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