• Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina, The #4



    Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina, The #4
    Released by: Archie Comics
    Released on: July 29th, 2015.
    Written by: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
    Illustrated by: Robert Hack
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    This fourth issue of the newly revamped Sabrina series begins, not so surprisingly, where the third left off. Sabrina has been baptized, she’s written her name in the devil’s book and become his handmaiden… at least that was the plan until Harvey showed up, tipped off to the ceremonial happenings by none other than Madame Satan posing as a substitute teacher at the school named Ms. Porter. That brings us to this fourth chapter, aptly entitled ‘Harvey Horrors.’

    When it begins, Harvey is running through the woods – he’s being chased, but he was smart enough to heed Sabrina’s warning… “Harvey, they’ll kill you… RUN.” He saw things he was not meant to see.

    As Harvey runs we flashback to his childhood when he went out to those same woods to peek at a stash of girlie magazines he’d heard about at school. If you grew up near the woods, you’ll likely have similar memories from your own childhood – why porn gets stashed in the woods is a mystery for the ages, but then as Sabrina was told, the woods are the ‘Devil’s Cathedral.’ He gets busted by Billy Repperton and some other older juvenile delinquent types and they’re not happy he’s been peeping at their stash. They chase him, he runs.

    Back in the present day, he stops running. He realizes, quite nobly and possibly quite stupidly, that he’s left the girl he loves back there with those things. But then Sabrina appears right in front of him, calming him, telling him all will be fine and encouraging him to kiss her. He does, but it’s not what he thinks it is. Back at the ceremonial site, Sabrina is bound and punished by Della, who tells Sabrina and her aunts that their carelessness will result in punishment by the council. Witch law has been broken, but Sabrina says she’ll make it right and she heads out into the woods to find Harvey. But if Sabrina is trying to find Harvey, that means that what Harvey just kissed was… something else.

    That’s not good.

    There are times in everyone’s life where they’re forced to choose between right and wrong, and that’s really the focal point of this issue – Sabrina has made a choice and that choice has had horrifying consequences, the kind that she never saw coming. Sabrina may be a witch, but she’s still a teenage girl and has the same feelings and wants and needs and desires that almost every other teenage girl in the world has had to struggle with. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa focuses on the human element just as much as he does on the supernatural/horror aspect of this story and it’s all for the better. Scares are better and more effective when they happen to characters we can believe and that maybe we can actually relate to. Everyone’s had their heart broken at least once, so it’s hard to imagine anyone not feeling for our titular witch after what we see happen. The story also earns bonus points for favoring the slow burn over more sensationalist aspects of the narrative. Shocks and blood and gore are great – and we get a good bit of that here – but underneath all of that is this wonderfully perverse feeling of impending doom. You get the feeling that he’s just getting started, and the ending? Damn.

    Complimenting this perfectly is the amazing artwork of Robert Hack. The man’s illustrative style is richly detailed and the softer penciling employed here harkens back to the best of DC’s seventies horror comics (which would seem to be a bit of an influence on this series). The panel layout is pretty traditional, don’t expect too much experimentation here in that regard, but what happens within those squares, how it’s depicted here… it’s creepy stuff. Very atmospheric with great use of color – heavy on earth tones for the scenes that take place in the woods, drab for some of the interiors and then colorful to accent certain moments here. It works and it works well. On top of that (and we’ll be vague here so as not to spoil things), there are some other characters that pop up here that are illustrated in a distinctively nontraditional manner, the end results of which are simply awesome.

    If that weren’t enough, this issue also contains a vintage Sabrina story called ‘Double Date’ that is, quite appropriately, centered around Sabrina’s relationship with Harvey. Written by Dick Malmgren and illustrated by Dan DeCarlo, it’s a pretty amusing old school Sabrina story that is not only a lot of fun but very indicative of just how very different this new take on the classic characters really is.