Publisher: Archie Comics
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artwork: Veronica Fish, Andy Fish
Lettering: Jack Morelli
Release Date: 1st April 2020 via Comixology (CLICK HERE)
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 disruption, it has become something of a rarity at the moment when a publisher actually releases a new comic, but with Archie Comics eschewing the direct market and making their April 1st releases available digitally, we thought it was worth taking a look at the first issue of the second volume of their well-received Sabrina series.
Hot on the heels of Sabrina saving Greendale, her friends and her family at the conclusion of the first volume, ‘Something Wicked’ sees our heroine easing back into high school life and trying to ride high on some of the positive momentum in her life. However, as you might expect, things are rarely that straightforward, and with her attempts to free Radka and Ren from their supernatural afflictions hitting a bit of a brick wall – not to mention the sinister new threat stalking the streets of her home town – there are plenty of obstacles for Sabrina to overcome in this brand new arc.
Unfortunately, with the exception of the first few of pages (and indeed the final one), this reads very much like high-school-teen-drama-by-the-numbers, with the all too familiar tropes like love triangles and the ongoing struggle to balance various commitments very much front and centre. Now admittedly Sabrina’s commitments are decidedly more supernatural than most, but the formula is unmistakable, and actually saps a lot of this issue’s excitement with its familiarity. It’s particularly noticeable given the fact that this is essentially the first chapter in a new story (albeit a continuation of the previous series), and lacks any significant ‘hook’ to draw new readers in – other than the appeal of our leading lady herself, that is.
On the plus side, I’m absolutely loving the artwork by Veronica and Andy Fish, who deliver a loose, cartoony approach that feels reminiscent of the classic Archie Comics style without aping it completely. The colours are bold without ever becoming suffocating, and the whole thing has a real feeling of energy to it – with the exception of the high school sections, that is, which are very much by the numbers.
At the end of the day, Sabrina fans – particularly those who have already picked up the previous series – will find a lot to like here, although there’s just about enough for new readers to entertain themselves with too. I’m hoping that once the series picks up some momentum and the more spooky aspects of the story are pushed to the forefront this could becoming something great, but for the time being this is still a serviceable beginning to the latest chapter in the life of everyone’s favourite Teenage Witch.