After the popular Sabrina: The Teenage Witch miniseries of 2019, the team has blessed us with a sequel and I, for one, was pretty excited to get my paws on it. Does it continue to make magic with the beloved teenage witch?
Sabrina: Something Wicked #1
Veronica Fish and Andy Fish (Art), Jack Morelli (Letterer) and Kelly Thompson (Writer)
June 3, 2020 (digital: April 1, 2020)
We open with the introduction of a threat sucking the life out of Greendale residents, leaving them wizened and skeletal. We then follow Sabrina on a full day, from spell breaking in the woods with bad girl Radka (part-time wendigo), napping in class, juggling two interested boys, meeting new witches, and finding out some surprising truths about her aunts Hilda and Zelda. Thompson manages to pick the plot up easily from volume 1 without skipping a beat whilst keeping this first issue entry level for any new readers, a tricky line to walk always.
The art and colours by Veronica and Andy Fish are engaging and playful. The dynamic flow of panels keeps up with the fast pace of the story and I love when they occasionally drop in a full-blown cartoon face, which adds a playful element and harkens back to Sabrina’s classic Archie cartoon origins. The artistic team’s depiction of magic in this book is ethereal and beautiful, capturing the mystical energy and drawing the reader into the allure of the supernatural. The colours are always amped up, slightly unnatural but still rich and deep. They make these moments stand out from the more standard colours used to depict Sabrina’s school life.
All of my favourite fantasy stories reflect the real world back to us with heightened elements, and Sabrina stories reflect that period of time when teenagers are learning to juggle schoolwork, friends, hobbies, and romance. Sabrina: Something Wicked #1 continues this inherited theme elegantly and with great charm and realism, even if some of the things that Sabrina is juggling are midnight spell-casting sessions deep in the forest. Sabrina’s relationship with her aunts, Hilda and Zelda, is further developed by Thompson in this new volume as we see Sabrina’s continued realisation that the people who raise you are a lot more complicated than you initially believe. They are fully-fledged humans (or witches) with flaws, secrets, and their own agendas.
The Something Wicked team avoids the more saccharine options for depicting Sabrina, instead grounding the Spellmans’ magic in more visceral practices, connected to nature, life, and death. The particularly blood-like spaghetti sauce they tuck into helps retain some bite to this issue. As well as Sabrina’s early speech on the duality of witchcraft, refuting the concept of good or bad magic, and reminding us that magic, like all power, is all about the intentions and nature of the person using it.
Sabrina: Something Wicked #1 has certainly cast its spell on me. I can’t wait to read the rest of this mini-series and would love to read an on-going series by this team.