Sabrina has learned the horrible price the forest paid for her use of magic. With a killer on the loose in Greendale and a promise to keep to her friends, Sabrina has to figure out how to solve all of her problems the old fashioned way.
The idea of Sabrina’s newfound fear of using magic quite so liberally is an interesting take on the character. So much of Sabrina’s history has been based around classic “wish fulfillment” storylines, so it’s compelling to see the normally carefree character trying to manage her usage of spells. It also makes the “spell counter” motif of the previous Sabrina miniseries feel even more important. Magic has an actual, quantifiable cost for Sabrina now, so it makes sense that she’d be keeping tabs on how much she uses it.
The other big component of this story has been the relationship drama, which was my biggest complaint last issue. It was starting to feel like every scene with Harvey was pretty similar, but this issue really pays all of that off. The fact that Sabrina continues to try to do the right thing, even when it’s painful, is such a consistent part of her character. The scene between her and Harvey in this issue could so easily have been a “woe is me” moment, but it absolutely rings true, both in how it plays out and how quickly Sabrina does what she thinks she must.
The comedic bits land very well in this issue, as well, particularly the scene where Sabrina fakes her enthusiasm for a night with her friend Jessa. Sabrina’s facial expressions and her overly-excited body language provide the biggest laughs of the issue. However, the artwork from Veronica Fish and Andy Fish throughout is stellar.
As always, spells are rendered in bursts of fantastic color, along with impressive swirls of light and fog. Two particularly great sequences involve a revisit to Della’s ancient game of Savoir Faire, as well as a scene where Sabrina renders herself invisible. Sabrina somehow pops off the page while still seeming believably translucent (and Salem’s reactions are the icing on the cake that keeps the scene from getting too tense).
On the other hand, there is a bit of meandering about at the beginning of the issue. The serial killer storyline has seemingly been put on the back burner, now just being something mentioned in each issue without much in the way of forward momentum. This feels especially noticeable when Sabrina repeats some of the same steps as previous issues, including spying on her aunts and going to Della’s shop. It feels just slightly padded.
Despite that tiny qualm, I am so glad to have this series back! This third issue has been delayed for months, and I was absolutely missing Kelly Thompson & co.’s special brand of magic.