|Review by Erin Maxwell|
Archie Comics continues to move its characters into the modern era with spooky and genuinely creep revamps of its most popular characters.
Riverdale teens are no longer coming up with plans to outsmart Mrs. Grundy or meet up at Pop’s after school. Rather, they are outrunning zombies, destroying their undead parents and flirting with the idea of incest (Afterlife with Archie #1)
Following the living-impaired reboot of the red-headed teen heartthrob, the Archie catalog revamp continued with Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
Set in the ’60s, the first issue explored the white-haired necromancer’s tragic back story, including an evil warlock pops-turned-tree, cannibalistic aunties, insane mother, and a hot sidekick cousin.
The comic is clever. It is spooky. And it most importantly, it is well written.
In this second issue, the main antagonist makes her appearance in Sabrina’s sunny life.
Iola, aka Madam Satan, was a witch wronged by Richard Spellman, father to our beloved white-haired teen magic user. After jilting the sorceress for a mere mortal, Madam Satan waited in a purgatory hell for years, awaiting her chance to return.
While her plan for revenge is not quite laid out, her twisted sense of right and wrong sets the tone for the comic: Sabrina is in big trouble.
A good balance between both the ghoulish horror and the lighthearted use of pop culture emanating from Sabrina herself defines the book as something more than a half-baked attempt to cash in on the current popularity of niche genre.
But it is not only the characters that get a scary makeover, but the look of the comic itself.
As in the first issue, the comic moved away from the traditional “Archie” heavy-lined inking, and into a style that pays tribute to the look and feel of horror comics from the ’50s.
Despite all the changes, Sabrina appears to remain Sabrina: Funny, cute and slightly mischief making. When not hanging with boyfriend Harvey, cheering at a big game or tanning herself poolside with Anne Margret (really), she takes her black magic background in stride.
In the end, the story is compelling not because of what was updated, changed and revampted, but because of what stayed the same: Sabrina herself.