Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Something Wicked #2
Written by Kelly Thompson
Art by Veronica and Andy Fish
Lettering by Jack Morelli
Published by Archie Comics
‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10
“I wish I could just focus on the nightmare that is my weird love life. Instead of betrayal and monsters and existential loneliness.”
You would be hard-pressed to find a better textual summation of what Sabrina the Teenage Witch has to contend with on a daily basis. Having to choose which boy she likes is stressful enough, but throw in a pair of siblings that transform into wendigos and the fact that Sabrina’s aunts seem to have been the ones who caused it, and high school’s seeming more hellish by the day.
With Sabrina opting to avoid her aunts as much as she can, Hilda and Zelda take a backseat in this issue, as the story circles around to interactions with the rest of the cast. Some can see Sabrina’s got something on her mind, while others like Radka have other things to worry about, namely the impending full moon and the wendigo transformation that follows shortly after.
While Radka thinks a spell might help, what complicates this is her reluctance to tell her brother Ren what’s going on – and complicating this even further is how Sabrina might have feelings for Ren, but has to weigh them against how she feels about Harvey. Nothing’s ever got an easy solution for her, and Thompson does a superb job further intertwining the elements already on the board. It’s a tightly drawn web that allows for smooth transitions between more universal teen drama material and the supernatural elements, but not so tight that the story has to be constantly moving at a pace that sacrifices character to account for plot progression.
What’s most magical about the series though is the work of Veronica Fish’s dynamic character acting and Andy Fish’s moody colors. Take, for example, the book’s introduction, as Sabrina reels over the revelation of her aunt’s misdeeds, just struggling with even the normalcy of eating a bowl of cereal. Veronica Fish plays with perspective and distance winningly here, from the initial wide shot of the room, where Sabrina’s eyes look like pinpricks against the light, to closer shots of her looking wide-eyed and on the verge of tears. The Fishes’ handle on emotion here is acute and sensitive, adding to Thompson’s narrative as Sabrina struggles to keep her turmoil on the inside.
When it comes to the colors, Andy Fish does a superb job with the moodiness of the autumnal setting – a sky that’s almost gray, the earthy orange of the leaves – but it’s when the issue shifts from school surroundings to witchier ones that his work is truly spellbinding. This sequence has Sabrina run into the head witch Della, who helps her to learn a magic card game where the figures on them come to life in order to fight. The intensity of the fire illuminates the pair, while the rest of the chamber remains submerged in shadows. And when battle commences, the pinks and blues of their respective fighters are blistering like nothing in the rest of the issue, so it stands out even more.
As Sabrina walks home later in her day, the atmosphere is colored by some less radiant hues that cast the ordinary streets with shadows of her other world. The two palettes are merging more and more with each passing day, and there’s likely no means of separation at this point. Taken with the quote I opened this review with, Sabrina is finding herself in a major crux in her life, and the creative team have found multiple ways of indicating this both visually and narratively within their story.