Sabrina the Teenage Witch – Kelly Thompson, Veronica Fish, Andy Fish & Jack Morelli (Archie Comics)

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You know when you get a song stuck in your head and the chorus just keeps playing over and over again in an endless loop?  When said song just refuses to leave and ignores all of the saccharine promises that you swear blind to it that you’ll definitely fulfil and the ridiculously over the top and impossible to follow through on incentives that you offer it if it’ll just pack it’s bags and be on its way? Well, Sabrina the Teenage Witch is the four colour version of that song and as soon as you let it in, the minute you give it even the slightest modicum of space in your imagination, it’ll sink it’s incredibly pleasant claws into your brain, draw up a couple of chairs, put the coffee on and announce its intention to stick around for the foreseeable future. And as much as I wish I could say that I’d like it to leave, I can’t because I like reading, and spending time, with this book. I like it a lot.

Much as I hate to admit it, I’m a bit of a late arrival to Sabrina fandom. I’m at that awkward age that means I was too young to catch the animated shows, too old to watch the Melissa Joan Hart show when it first aired and, doubtless due to some machismo related insecurity or other, the comics were never on my radar when was I younger, so my introduction to Sabrina came via the rather splendid Netflix show, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Which, as you’ve almost certainly guessed, means that this Kelly Thompson and Veronica Fish (with a little help from Andy Fish) led reboot, reimagining, new beginning, call it whatever floats your boat and makes you happy, book is my first foray into Sabrina Spellman’s comic book adventures.  And as first times go, it was, and is, pretty spectacular and I couldn’t have asked for, or expected, more.

It’s a blink and you’ll miss some plot point or other, hellishly fast and frantic broomstick ride that sees Sabrina, her feline familiar Salem and her aunts Hilda and Zelda moving to Greendale, which incidentally is home to the Witches Council, and enrols the teenage witch (who already has her powers, is aware of her origins and has a solid grasp of magic) in the local high school. Then the brakes come off and we’re plunged headlong into a tale that’s drenched in betrayal and revenge and dripping in monsters, sets our heroine up in a love triangle, establishes the hierarchy among her peers and her place in it and reveals all manners of secrets and mythology about Sabrina’s new friends and home which nicely sets up the scenery for whatever comes next.

Both Kelly Thompson and Veronica Fish (with a little help from Andy Fish) are at the top of their game and on fire (figuratively, not literally) with Sabrina.  Driven by its complex, incredibly driven and well-rounded cast of characters who thrive on a mixture of just the right amount of teen angst, insecurity, bravado and curiosity, punchy dialogue, an intriguing and enjoyable story and beautifully detailed and unique art, Sabrina the Teenage Witch continues the long lasting legacy of Sabrina Spellman in grand fashion. And it is absolutely magical… Tim Cundle 

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