Classic Comics Cavalcade: A Heroic Twist On A Classic In ‘Sabrina The Teenage Witch V1’

by Tony Thornley

Archie Comics has seen their classic characters take many forms in recent years. Perhaps no one has seen more than Sabrina the Teenage Witch (aside from maybe Archie himself). It’s not a surprise then to see Sabrina get a recent revamp from a team of comics’ top creators in 2019.

In 2018 (which seems so far away now), Archie Comics launched a line-wide revamp called Archie Forever. This included a return for the flagship series to its legacy numbering with Archie #700, a new Betty & Veronica series, and the Jughead’s Time Police miniseries. None of them made quite as much an impact though as Sabrina the Teenage Witch from Kelly Thompson, Veronica Fish, Andy Fish, and Jack Morelli.

The series was a rebooted take on the classic character that had more in common with the early years of Amazing Spider-Man than it did the classic sitcom or the Archie Horror series and its Netflix adaptation. It was a series full of teen drama and romance, but also superhero-esque adventure, thrills and magic. Though it didn’t sacrifice the classic characters, settings and concepts, it was a fresh take that was one of Archie’s best received stories since the Mark Waid and Fiona Staples led relaunch of the flagship Archie series.

Newly moved to Greendale, Sabrina Spellman hopes to blend in quickly, despite her half-witch, half-mortal heritage. By the end of her first day, she’s already involved in a love triangle, made a new friend, and discovered that the resident mean girl may be a wendigo!  That’s just the beginning of a whirlwind adventure that transforms Sabrina from a novice witch to Greendale’s mystical protector!

This series was simply a lot of fun. Thompson leans into all the right tropes with the story, pick and choosing what would build a story best, then adding elements to modernize the concept in several different ways. The dialogue is snappy, the romance works, and the magic is interesting without becoming a deus ex machina. The superhero elements she added is a great hook, keeping me engaged throughout the story.

The Fish siblings do a fantastic job on the art throughout. They have a great grasp on figure work, shifting to a slightly softer and more close up style for the soap opera style elements, then move to a bit more angular and wide framed look for the action. The colors are sharp and do a lot of work to convey the emotions of the story. Morelli’s letters add a lot of depth as well, with smart choices in everything for placement to font.

This is a great new modern take on one of comics’ greatest characters, that’s well worth checking out.

Sabrina the Teenage Witch Volume 1 is available now in print and digital editions from Archie Comics.

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