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‘Sabrina’ #1 is a Dark and Entertaining Beginning

‘Sabrina’ #1 is a Dark and Entertaining Beginning

 

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Writer: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Artist: Robert Hack
Lettering: Jack Morelli
Cover: Robert Hack
Publisher: Archie Comics

Sabrina #1 is a prequel, spin-off of sorts stemming from the Afterlife with Archie universe. For those unfamiliar with Afterlife, it effectively proves Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s worth as not only an excellent writer but really adding a unique flavouring to very well known characters. Having Aguirre-Sacasa on the helm for Sabrina is exciting for fans of Afterlife. Though it may seem unfortunate that Francesco Francavilla is not doing the artwork, there is no need to worry because Robert Hack really brings a classical horror tinged touch (EC Comics style) to the pages of Sabrina.

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The issue begins on October 31st, 1951, a year after Sabrina was born. Edward Spellman, Sabrina’s warlock father is introduced, alongside her human mother, Diana. Sabrina is to be given to Edward’s two witch sisters, Hilda and Zelda, entrusting them to act as parental figureheads so as to steer Sabrina away from knowing her half-breed background. After the very dark and ominous introduction, the plot quickens in pace, jumping in time frames into the 1960s as we see Sabrina mature. Along the way, familiar faces enter that only add in the excitement of what this series has in store and leave the reader with a traumatic image that will surely appear in your nightmares.

The ride is a very enjoyable one, with a very unexpected balance of the horrific with comedic moments. The artwork really stands out and provides a very unique colouring, as if stroked by a paintbrush. Many images stand out, as Hack often plays within the frames: shadows peer over faces, trees stretch their branches as if reaching for someone to touch, and faces effectively relay the emotions behind Aguirre-Sacasa’s words. Often, the backgrounds behind characters appear scratched with a pastel, effectively utilized especially during a scene where Sabrina has a telepathic freakout. There is no doubt that the creative team of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Robert Hack are crafting something special and have proven through the first issue that this is a series worth taking the plunge. As a bonus, a classic tale of Sabrina from a 1962 issue of Archie’s Madhouse #22 is included. After reading both stories, it is confirmed that Sabrina is a much more darkened version of the teenage witch from the past.

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