Comic Review – Wytches #1

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he is going to attempt a mini review of his favourite one, with potential minor spoilers.

There were a lot of great comics out this week, but Wytches is a book I have been looking forward to since it was announced a few months ago. This is a new horror series from Image Comics written by Scott Snyder, with art by Jock, colours from Matt Hollingsworth and letters by Clem Robins. All of those people have worked on something that I have loved, so having them team up to bring this new story was pretty exciting.

Wytches. according to Snyder in the last few pages in which he recounts his inspiration for the story, involves the real witches, “No brooms or pointy hats.”, an ancient evil worshipped by those who were burnt at the stake in their place. They creep around in the darkness of the forest, granting wishes to those who bring them pledges: human sacrifices. This first issue opens with one of these pledges in 1919, before moving up to present day and introducing the Rooks family who have just moved to a new secluded home in the woods. Charlie is a graphic artist and writer, and he and his wife Lucy and teenage daughter Sailor (nicknamed Sail, an interesting name) moved to get away from some unpleasant events that took place where they used to live. Lucy is wheelchair-bound following an undisclosed accident and Sail, after months of bullying, witnesses the disappearance of her tormentor. Starting at a new school, Sail’s reputation proceeds her and everyone assumes that she killed the girl. We are shown that while Sail may have wished for it, and she continues to obsess over her potential involvement in what happened, she was certainly not the one who killed her bully. Sail may have unwittingly had an encounter with the Wytches in the forest that night and even though they have moved, the Rook family may bump into them again sooner rather than later.

Snyder is really at home writing horror, on clear display in the excellent American Vampire, but also more subtly influencing the work he has done on Batman. The actual titular evil takes a back seat in this first issue, making way for character development for the key cast and scene setting, which serves to make the world feel fleshed out while the glimpses of the threat really builds the tension and fear. Jock is an excellent horror artist, with his creepy and scratchy style a perfect fit to illustrate the dark woodland setting. The colours from Hollingsworth really accenuate and bring the best out of Jock’s art too, and while I’m used to more pastel colours from him, he shows off a really dynamic range contrasting them in calmer daylight scenes with the oppressive dark scenes taking place in the woods at night. The art all together ramps up the terrifying aspect of the story, with a few stand out panels that are certain to haunt some dreams and cause readers to look up into any trees they walk past in the darkness.

Shockingly, I enjoyed this. Wytches #1 is a great start for a horror series, living up to the hype built up around it. This first issue is bound to sell out, but Image are good at extra printings for their titles so more will be out soon. Pick this up either physically or digitally, it should be a great ride.

Score: 8.5 Pledges out of 10

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