"Wytches #6" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Scott Snyder
Illustrated by Jock
2015, 40 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on May 20th, 2015
Charlie Rooks is a desperate man. He has put his life in grave danger in an effort to save his daughter Sailor from the frightening wytches that have taken her deep into their lair. There was no hesitation in this. He knew that risks that coming to this place would bring, but the only thing that matters right now is Sailor. She's in trouble and he's her father, so this is just what he has to do.
That unquestionable loyalty Charlie to his daughter is what pushes Wytches to a whole other level. Reading this a father makes me think of what I would do for my own kids. What lengths would I go through? Would I face a horde of monsters in a dark cavern? That relatability is what makes a great horror story. I'm not reading this thinking of which character is going to get butchered by a slasher. Instead, I'm putting myself in Charlie's shoes and questioning how far I would go if put in the same situation. This character is forced to make one of the most difficult decisions that anyone, parent or not, would have to make. Seeing that creep up is heart-wrenching.
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Wytches gets to the all-to-real terror of being a parent, responsible for the life and well-being of another person. This can be scary on its own, but setting it against the backdrop of this strange town with its bizarre creatures lurking in the woods amplifies everything.
This isn't to say that you need to have a kid in order to enjoy Wytches. That's far from the truth. This stands on its own as a terrifying comic. Charlie's trek into the wytches lair is reminiscent of The Descent, but with far scarier monsters. Artist Jock went all out with these creatures. They're stringy and awkward with limbs that extend too long, giving them an unnatural look. Their faces are distorted, as if someone shuffled the features around when they were in utero. Tendrils of flesh extend over their mouths, barely covering rows of large teeth stuck in a wretched Joker-like grin. Their first big reveal in this issue comes as Charlie tosses a flare down a large hole in the cavern, revealing dozens of them lining the walls.
The thing about these monsters is that they're not the scariest thing in the book. That comes through in full force with the stunning conclusion to this issue (and the first story arc). Writer Scott Snyder presents a truly heinous act that changes everything you've read up until this point. It's one of those endings that makes you want to immediately go back and re-read the previous issues with a new set of eyes. This emotional and poignant scene is framed by the wytches slowly surrounding the characters for the final kill.
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The present-day action is interspersed with shots from one of Charlie's book signings from a couple years prior. It shows the family in a happier moment, having put what they thought were the worst times of their lives behind them. It's a great bookend to the issue, showing just how deep the bond is between Charlie and Sailor and how she had saved his life once before, albeit in a completely different situation. Now he's trying to repay that debt.
Wytches delivers very real terror. This is not a book with cheap jump scares or cannon fodder kills. It's scary in the truest sense of the word, shaking you right to your very core. It works on multiple levels, touching on the horrors of parenthood, family, and good old fashioned monsters. Plus, this is just the end of the first story arc. There's another one on the way. Pledged is pledged.