The idea of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch as a dark, bloody horror comic in the vein of Warren Publications’ unnerving black-and-white horror anthologies from the ’70s sounds, on the face of it, ridiculous. Sabrina has always been a goofy, Scooby-Doo-esque Archie character better suited to sitcoms and cartoons than unsettling horror.
That makes what Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, one of the masterminds behind Archie’s bid for more grown-up readers with books like Afterlife with Archie, such a consistent surprise. Aguirre-Sacasa is Archie Comics’ chief creative officer (he also wrote the screenplay to the Carrie remake), and here he smartly draws out the horror by showing us an evil plan coming together brick by brick. Sabrina has been the target of a witch’s rage, but instead of coming at her magic in hand, she’s been subtly manipulating Sabrina into doing something horrible without her knowledge. The book ends on a disturbingly perverse note that hints at more trouble for the witch from Greendale.
The atmosphere, though, is all thanks to artist Robert Hack. Hack’s eye for detail in his inking and the hard brushstrokes he colors the book with give it an ongoing sense of claustrophobia: Even huge, open spaces feel too close for comfort. And when things get gory, there’s just enough detail to let your imagination fill in the rest. Bloody, atmospheric, and unnerving, Sabrina has it all for horror fans.