"Wytches #1"Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Scott Snyder
Illustrated by Jock
2014, 40 Pages, $2.99
Comic released on October 8th, 2014
Imagine walking through the woods and hearing a woman crying for help. As you move closer to investigate, you find her trapped inside a tree, covered in blood. Her nose is missing and she's begging for you to release her from this prison. That's how Wytches by Scott Snyder and Jock begins, and I'm already spooked by it.
The opening scene is flashback, whetting our beaks with a brief glimpse at the horror that this creative team is capable of. It then jumps to the present, focusing on the Rooks family, who have just moved to a new house in an effort to escape the rough lives they've had up until now. The mother, Lucy, is now in a wheelchair. The daughter, Sail, has witnessed something horrifying yet unexplainable. It's all that Charles can do to keep his family safe and together. Although Sail is where the action is heading, Charles feels like the lynchpin in Wytches. He's holding everything close based on sheer will and love for his wife and daughter. He's willing to do anything for them.
There are some insanely creepy scenes throughout this over-sized debut issue. What's interesting is that not all of them include the supernatural. Some of them are just regular people being really unsettling. This provides a human side to the terror in addition to the creatures in the title. I'm not entirely sure what to think of the witches just yet. Little is shown of them, but it's clear that they're very powerful and frightening. This is definitely not your run-of-the-mill, broom-toting, pointy-hat-wearing witch. This is something far scarier.
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There's an uneasy feeling that creeps in as the issue progresses, like something isn't quite right. Even though the Rooks have moved to a whole new place, they're still haunted by their past. They haven't quite put everything behind them just yet.
Jock's artwork is so sharp, these panels could almost cut your fingers as you read them. The characters are presented rather callous and without soft edges. Even in moments of peacefulness, you get a sense of foreboding, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Early on, when Charles puts Sail on the bus to school, there's a panel showing a close up of his face, showing a mixture of hope and dread. He's praying that this is what Sail needs to move on, but he's fearful that they're not past this hump yet and everything can crumble.
There are several scenes of outright terror in Wytches that Jock brings to life gloriously. It's the kind of madness-inducing violence that can only come from the supernatural. I had to go back and re-read some of these pages to make sure I really saw what I thought I saw. I get creeped out every time I look at them.
Wytches has a never-ending sense of tension. It grabs you from page one and never lets go. I'm hooked. I also can't read this in the dark. It delivers true scares in a way that will stick with you long after you've finished the comic.