Sabrina Enters The Monster Royale In Sabrina #5

by Rachel Bellwoar

No matter how intense things get (and the colors on the opening page remind you of how things were left in issue #4, so it’s easy to get back into the mindset again), Sabrina Spellman never loses sight of who she is and that’s what makes Sabrina #5 inspirational, on top of action-packed. Everything’s in place from the beginning for a showdown. Sabrina’s already suited up from issue #4, so it’s off to the woods to find out what’s been keeping her aunts and to fight some monsters.

Victor Ibanez

In many ways this issue plays out like a warrior Cinderella. Instead of glass slippers, Sabrina has her magical artifacts and one by one you get to see what they do. It’s a real payoff, to not really knowing what they could achieve before, but as they get used up Sabrina loses her power boost. Jack Morelli’s letters go back to normal (curvy instead of poker straight), Veronica and Andy Fish’s colors cool down, and Salem returns to being a cat instead of a flying panther. The clock’s struck twelve but Sabrina’s anything but defeated, and it’s what she does when she doesn’t have any armor left that makes her heroic.
When Sabrina’s hair went white on the Netflix TV show, it was a sign of dark deeds and even darker black magic. Writer, Kelly Thompson, takes it in a completely different direction, and when Sabrina lets her hair go white this issue it’s because she’s comfortable in her own skin. Her hair’s always been white, but she hasn’t always embraced it, but instead of the color being a mark against her, it’s a sign of empowerment and strength.
Thompson saves the best news for last, though, and that’s the announcement that Sabrina’s coming back for a second arc. It won’t be out until next year, but Thompson does leave some clues as to what it might be about. One of the biggest revelations this issue has to do with Sabrina’s peers and how so many of them are able to transform into monsters. Since Sabrina was born a witch, I always assumed it was the same with them, but when you assume… Radka told Sabrina in issue #2 that Ren didn’t know that he was a wendigo. There has to be more to that story than we’ve been told so far.
We meet a lot of other monsters-kids this issue as well, and it’s not entirely clear whether they still have their powers at the end. By “meet,” too, I mean mostly as monsters, with the Fishes going all out to make sure they’re memorable (the minotaur and kraken are especially effective because their eyes are very expressive, so you don’t forget they’re human). Will any of them appear again next year or, at the very least, get a first name, like Allen?
Sabrina #5 is available now from Archie Comics and does a great job at sticking the landing while also setting things in motion for a second arc. Everything comes together at the end and it’s a series that keeps getting better, with a strong foundation to build upon.

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