"Wytches: Bad Egg Special" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Scott Snyder
Illustrated by Jock
Colored by Matt Hollingsworth
Lettered by Clem Robins
2018, 80 Pages, $7.99
Comic released on October 31st, 2018
At long last, Wytches has returned and does so without missing a beat. This oversized special, Bad Egg, collects material previously released in the now defunct Image+ magazine, along with the never-before-seen finale to this new story. We're introduced to some new characters from The Irons that hunt the hideous Wytches and learn how growing up in that world can affect a young man named Sebastian.
Wytches: Bad Egg works so well not only as a solid story but as a terrifying horror tale because it feels real. Writer Scott Snyder puts so much care into these characters, fleshing them out so they might as well be someone you grew up with. This book in particular speaks to a specific time in Seb's life that should resonate with everyone. The boy is trying to figure out his place in the world and he's just starting to rebel against his overprotective mother, testing the limits.
His mother is not a monster though. She's part of The Irons and she recognizes what she has to do to keep her son safe from the Wytches out there who would literally eat him alive. Their relationship is an interesting one to watch as there is definitely love there, although it's a tough love. They spend a lot of time together, but they're far from your typical sitcom family.
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Seb and his mom move around a lot hunting Wytches, so it's tough to get close to anyone else. It's also not recommended in their line of work. Seb makes his first real friend with Jackson and their relationship is very special. This is more of the real quality that Snyder brings to the table. You can replace Seb and Jackson with you and your best friend growing up and it would be nearly identical. This relatability is just one of the elements that makes Wytches such a compelling read.
Artist Jock captures that wide-eyed innocence that can come at that age in both of these characters. It's interesting to see Seb finally relax when he's hanging out with Jackson and then put his guard up when he's alone again. This is the one place he can just be himself. His facial expressions and posture change.
Since we're pulled so deeply into this world and the lives of these characters, it makes the horror elements all the more frightening. When something scary does happen, it hits like a freight train. We get our first taste of this early on when Seb is attacked in a field. These unnatural pieces stand out, like something that doesn't belong in the quaint life that we've seen outside of the monsters.
When these things do show up, it's like reality around them warps and changes to try to hold them. Colorist Matt Hollingsworth goes from the dark, shadowy town to a brighter, more electric vibe, like we just stuck our fingers in a light socket. It's a definite jolt to the system and helps make the scary aspects of the story stand out even more.
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My only issue with the artwork is that there are too many visual effects added on top of it. It's like the images were done and then the creative team dropped a bunch of paint on them. This can work in some instances, like when the page looks blood splattered, but it gets to the point that when the Wytches appear, you can barely make out what you're seeing on the page. It's almost like lens flares for comics. Since we spent so much time building up to the issue's climax, it's a bit of a letdown when you can't make out what is about to attack Seb.
One aspect of Wytches that is a welcome return is the eerie sounds the creatures make. They don't really speak. Instead, they utter this haunting “Chit Chit Chit” that can appear out of nowhere and scare the crap out of you. It's like the signature sound you hear when Jason's about to strike in the Friday the 13th movies. Letterer Clem Robins weaves these sound effects into the artwork, making them float across the page in the creepiest way possible. This adds to the overall experience and puts it over the edge of terror.
Wytches: Bad Egg is an incredible comic. It's a reminder of how great Wytches is and how much I missed it. There's another arc in the works and it can't come soon enough. This is Stephen King-quality horror that will stay with you long after you've finished it. Read this one with the lights on.