Indie Comics Review: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #9
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Publisher: Archie Comics (Archie Horror)
Writer: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Art: Robert Hack
Colors: Robert Hack
Letters: Jack Morelli
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Sabrina must make a harrowing decision in order to keep what she thinks is Harvey’s soul from returning to the dead. Things don’t get any easier for the Teenage Witch in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #9.
It all starts with Robert Hack’s homage cover to the first appearance of Sabrina as drawn by Dan DeCarlo in Archie’s Madhouse #22. The word balloon on the cover acknowledges that we have had a big gap since issue #8, cover-dated October 2017! It’s a great homage and it’s a playful tease with the reader. The first page also acknowledges the gap as it catches readers up on “The Story So Far….” It’s a nice refresher for returning readers, but it’s also a perfect device that allows new readers to jump in and understand exactly what’s going on.
The story continues to add twist upon twist as Sabrina has to make the decision to take a life in order to keep the resurrected Harvey (Sabrina’s boyfriend) alive. Of course, if you read the first page you know that Sabrina thinks it’s Harvey, the truth is far more disturbing. Aguirre-Sacasa works a magical balancing act as we continue to like Sabrina and root for her despite the further down the path of witchery that she travels. There is certainly a theme in all the different iterations of Sabrina that holds this central question, “Aren’t witches essentially evil?”
Robert Hack’s art is beautiful. He handles pencils, inks, and colors and it is truly stunning to look at. The colors appear to be inspired by a sepia tone effect with browns and yellows dominating the backgrounds. The main characters have pops of bright red or blue but otherwise remain nearly monochromatic with the background creating a unique and bleak look for the comic. It works masterfully! Additionally, there’s just enough gore to remind you that it’s a horror comic to contrast with the usual day-to-day look of the scenes.
Archie Comics veteran Jack Morelli even gets in on the act as he tailors his lettering style to fit the series. It’s smaller and appears unobtrusive to enhance that everyday facade instead of going for a garish over-the-top expressive approach that would detract from the intimacy between the characters.
The look and tone of the series are clearly descendants of EC Comics Crime and Horror comics of the 1950s and the Warren Magazines, Creepy and Eerie of the ’70s. Archie in its Red Circle Comics imprint of the ’70s attempted this as well, so there is a clear lineage at Archie Comics for this type of book. This team is doing fantastic work! And, we can’t forget to give Archie Comics a point for continuing the numbering in lieu of starting over with a new #1!
The only possible negative for this is the long delays between issues, but even that is mitigated mostly by “The Story So Far…” which leads off the issue.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #9 is another outstanding comic book. Each issue has built on the previous to take the reader down a dark and mysterious path with Sabrina Spellman. If you like horror comics with a heart and brain, this is a series you should be reading. This is one of those series that transcends the medium and it deserves that extra 6th rating out of 5. Now, if Jon Goldwater can just chain up Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Robert Hack in a basement somewhere so they can knock out about 25 or 30 more issues…