I have been a fan of Sabrina Spellman stories for a long time. I read a lot of the comics, the first medium Sabrina appeared in, when I was a child. But I only started reading one of Sabrina’s newest incarnations, fashioned as the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, today. I am reading it in a hardback bindup that covers all the chapters published so far. I’m really excited to dive into it. Especially because it’s this version of Sabrina that inspired the Netflix TV show (of which I’ve only watched part one so far, though I’m looking to watch part two over the next few weeks in preparation for Halloween).
Today I will just be covering my thoughts on chapter one of this comic series. First of all I want to mention how different this is from my previous experiences of Sabrina. From the colour palette to the narrative tone, this feels like a complete turn around from the versions of Sabrina that were popular when I was little.
In this first chapter we get Sabrina’s origin story served up with all the darkness of a horror story. Orange is the overwhelming colour giving this story strong autumnal and Halloween vibes. The art style from the outset signposts that this a mature version of Sabrina. This one is dark and gritty where the previous incarnations I read were bubble gum cute.
Surprisingly, it didn’t take me too long to get used to this new version. I’m looking forward to continuing with it.
Chapter one gives us a thorough grounding in Sabrina’s origins, respun in CAOS‘s edgy style. It begins with her father, Edward, convening a coven gathering on Sabrina’s first birthday. It doesn’t take long for us to be shown how dark the witchcraft in this version is. The narrator tells us Edward has ‘conjured his Lord Satan, in the living flesh, numerous times’ and we see him condemn Sabrina’s mother to a horrible fate. The witches in this world meddle with demons, place curses and play with thoroughly destructive magic.
Character wise, this book features a few regulars of the Sabrina universe. Edward is the absent father figure (though for new reasons here). Zelda and Hilda are the protective aunts and mentors for all things magic. Salem, a long standing favourite of mine, is the back talking familiar we know and love (unlike in the Netflix show ☹️). Sabrina herself is still half mortal and half witch, and by the end of the chapter she’s attending a mortal high school and has already developed a crush on Harvey Kinkle, the staple heartthrob of the Sabrina universe.
In this chapter we are also introduced to Ambrose, Sabrina’s cousin. I do believe Ambrose has existed in the Sabrina universe before, check out this link for more info. But this is my first proper experience of him as a firm member of the comic cast and by all accounts this Amborse seems to be a very different character to his previous incarnation. I love Ambrose in the Netflix show and I’m excited to see how his role develops in the original CAOS (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) comics.
So far I find Ambrose’s role quite similar to what Salem’s has been in the past- he’s an experienced warlock who is more in the loop on what shenanigans Sabrina is up to than her aunts, more best friend than family. Because of the crossover between the role Ambrose serves and the one Salem traditionally plays, I see why Salem doesn’t really get to talk on the CAOS tv series (still makes me sad though). But in the CAOS comics we get both of them talking. I’m really excited to see how Salem and Ambrose play off each other as the story goes on.
Another interesting thing to note about chapter one are the Archie-verse crossover cameos. Betty and Veronica feature as witches. Also, we see a Josie poster which I would see as a reference to Josie and the Pussycats. This Sabrina is definitely grounded in the same world as the rest of the Archie-verse (albeit reinterpreted in CAOS‘s edgy horror style).
After quickly pulling us through the first few years of Sabrina’s life the chapter finishes with the introduction of a villain. I’m really interested to see where this comic goes next.
Have you checked out the CAOS comic yet?