Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: The Crucible

August 29, 2016 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , , )

23308488Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: The Crucible by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Robert Hack

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First off, I have to say I love the cover of this collection. It captures everything you need to know about the story inside, from the retro-EC Comics look of the title, the barren tree framing the scene, and the white hair and letter drawing the eye to the focus. It’s perfect, and even has a touch of subtlety that the cover of Afterlife with Archie doesn’t have. That cover, along with the praise for the story I read online, made me certain this was going to be my kind of comic.

The story is about Sabrina, the teenage witch from the Archie universe, but gone is the cutesy girl with freckles; in her place is a young woman part of a coven. The author keeps Sabrina’s general background, explaining how she came to be a witch and how she came to live with her aunts, but he makes the story much darker. Much darker. For one, she and her aunts feed on the dead whom they collect from the neighboring cemetery; for another, the ritual Sabrina must take to become a witch involves raising Satan in the woods. This is dark magic here, not the kind of thing we saw on the television show.

Most of the story is spent establishing Sabrina’s background, making the plot only about half of the collection. In addition to Sabrina, Aguerre-Sacasa made Betty and Veronica witches, as well. Sabrina doesn’t live in Riverdale, so Betty and Veronica are part of a different coven. Archie isn’t featured at all in this story, save as an aside that prompts Betty and Veronica to establish the protagonist of the story, but it works. Not only is Sabrina’s name in the title, but the story is also about witches, and Archie has no place there.

I didn’t find the story to be as good as I expected it to be, possibly because it exists a little too far outside the Archie universe. In Afterlife with Archie, there was potential for the story to be too gimmicky, as the reader saw how the author adapted the existing characters into the zombie apocalypse; Chilling Adventures has that same potential, but focused on the one character instead of the whole ensemble. It was a little disappointing, even though the shock and horror of the title was effective.

I’m not ready to give up on the title all together, since the story is only just beginning, but as a standalone volume, The Crucible spends a little too much time on the setup. I’ll be interested in seeing where the author takes the story, since this volume ends on the pivot that should make it more interesting.

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