"Hex Wives #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Vertigo Comics
Written by Ben Blacker
Illustrated by Mirka Andolfo
Colored by Marissa Louise
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Move over, Stepford. There's a new creepy town where the women look brainwashed. In the case of Hex Wives, a group of men have somehow tricked or captured some immortal witches into thinking they're doting housewives. They wait on their husbands and don't ask too many questions, even when they go out for their mysterious work past the never-ending flames in the distance. Yeah, the neighborhood is surrounded by a huge fire, creating a barrier the women are scared to cross.
The flames create this disturbing atmosphere from the jump. The town looks quaint and peaceful, but then you look up and the world is on fire. In case you had any doubts that this was a horror book, there's your proof. Marissa Louise's colors paint an ominous backdrop for the series.
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Hex Wives has an unmistakable creepy feel to it. You know that something isn't right, but you don't know how all this came together, or how these women were taken down. Cracks are starting to show, particularly with Isadora as she starts to question what's really going on.
It's more than a little unsettling to read this in the present day in the era of toxic masculinity. Here you have these powerful witches who just wanted to live and love, forced to be little more than a slave by a bunch of jerky dudes. There's even a “m'lady” spoken in a truly cringeworthy moment. Isadora visits Nadiya only to find her friend has been baking all day. Her kitchen is full of cakes and pastries, all made to please her man. When a spider pops up, her husband rushes in to save them from the pest.
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Much of the eerie feeling of Hex Wives comes in Mirka Andolfo's artwork. Everything is perfect and just right, but you're waiting for the other shoe to drop. Something's coming and we don't know what. We get a glimpse of this in the cliffhanger ending and it's a jaw-dropping moment. This is something that shouldn't exist in this quiet little suburb and it's more than a little shocking. It's also pretty friggin' exciting because I hope this snaps the women out of this trance and they can take these jerks to task.
Hex Wives is a very relevant comic right now. Writer Ben Blacker has crafted a haunting story that gets right under your skin with how wrong it feels. Unfortunately, there will be a segment of the population that will see the men as the good guys and that's even more chilling.