Story: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Art and Colors: Robert Hack
Letters: Jack Morelli
What They Say:
“WITCH-WAR” Part Two, “Burnt Offerings”: Edward Spellman, trapped in Harvey’s body, has been reunited with Sabrina, and is ready to enact his dark agenda!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Ah to be young and in love, and to have the love of your life brought back from the dead.
That’s right, poor Harvey Kinkle, last seen being torn to shreds by a coven of witches, is back, thanks to the spell Ms. Porter gave to Sabrina, and our teenage half-witch couldn’t be happier. The issue begins with her dancing around her room, singling along to “My Boyfriend’s Back.” Her revelries are interrupted by Salem and Ambrose (her cat familiar and her cousin, respectively), who try to warn her against going through with this. Sabrina, being in love and a teenager, blows them off and meets Harvey in Riverdale at Pop’s Diner.
Unbeknownst her Sabrina, only Harvey’s body came back. The soul inhabiting it is that of Edward Spellman—Sabrina’s father. We learned all about Edward in the previous issue, and for the moment, he plays it cool, not wanting to tip his hand and expose himself to his many enemies. Unfortunately, this means he has to cozy up to his sixteen-year-old daughter, and even more unfortunately, he only seems moderately disturbed by the thought.
Edward/Harvey plays dumb and Sabrina fills him in the best she can. Their reunion gets cut short by Sabrina’s aunts, who summon psychopomps (which, the editor’s footnote tells us, are creatures that ferry the dead from Earth to the afterlife). Sabrina fights them and her aunts and pulls off some tricky magic to do so. Eventually her aunts relent, leaving Sabrina with a vague warning about the consequences of her actions. Sabrina doesn’t learn the full cost of her spell until she gets home and Salem and Ambrose inform her that she must kill someone as payment for Harvey’s return.
Things are heating up for Sabrina and the coven. Madam Satan—disguised as Ms. Porter—plays the teenage witch like a fiddle, orchestrating Harvey’s death and Edward Spellman’s return. Her reasons remain cloudy at the moment, but given this story arc is called “Witch War” we can assume they aren’t altruistic.
The interactions between Sabrina and Edward/Harvey provide the most interesting and suspenseful moments. Edward/Harvey wisely takes it slow, but the potential danger he represents to everyone lurks just beneath his every stolen All-American smile, and the way he reacts to holding his teenage daughter is delightfully creepy (this is a horror comic, after all).
As always, the writing is spot-on, and the art is very well suited to the story, capturing the look and feel of Seventies horror movies and presenting characters who look like real people and not the Greek Gods comics typically provide us. Hack’s psychopomps visually steal the story, looking like a cross between those big-brained skull-faced aliens from Mars Attacks and Metroids. All the elements that make this one of my favorite series running are present, but for some reason, this issue feels lacking. The story is much more on the surface than I’m accustomed to seeing with this title, and it doesn’t delightfully dive into literature, history, and pop culture as the previous issues have done.
There’s nothing wrong with the plot, and certainly not the artwork. Frankly, it’s difficult to express why it feels lacking, but it does. There’s something too straightforward about the story, almost like the comic needs to get this particular plot point out of the way in order to get to the really good stuff. It might just be that after seven very good issues, the story takes a slight dip in quality—unnoticeable except when viewed in context to the previous installments.
Although the story doesn’t quite feel as in-depth and immersive as the previous issues, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina 8 is another solid issue in one of the most enjoyable horror series on the shelf right now. It comes hot on the heels of the previous issue, so hopefully this means that the timeframe between books will be quicker and a little more consistent. Even if it’s not, I’ll be here to see what happens next. Dr. J gives this a…
Age Rating: 15+
Released By: Archie Comics
Release Date: August 16th, 2017