Wytches is a comic that keeps on getting better, and for a series that started out as good as it was right out of the gates, that’s certainly saying something. Where the first issue was an introduction to the Rooks family and their new station in life, the second issue was very much about what made Sailor tick and what kind of dangers existed in that family, this issue is all about her dad. Framing him in the issue as a dad who went through the same anxiety as a child as Sailor does legitimizes a lot of his over-worrying problems, as do the horrifying things the wytches have done to him that no one seems to believe. This is an issue that’s mostly concerned with things that have already happened, and uses the aftermath to present us with new information (the dad’s experience with the wytches, an apparent drinking problem, etc).
Wytches made it clear relatively early (and then again in Snyder’s essay at the end of this issue) that this is a book about the things that scared us when we were kids giving way to things that still should scare us as adults. Here, it’s a cultural hierarchy of wytches > witches > normal people, where the things that we thought went bump in the night got replaced by acceptable copies and then it turned out the real deal was way worse than we imagined. In this way, this book amps up a lot of its psychological trouble, which is really its biggest strength (aside from Jock absolutely murdering it on the art every month). It’s another one of those horror comics that’s actually about horror. It’s not about jump-out scares on a page turn, where suddenly a wytch is looming over Sailor and, by extension, the reader, it’s about personifying the fears of everyday life, personifying the paranoia that maybe everyone is out to get you--and the scary part is, they could do it, too.
One very welcome part of the comic this month was, instead of the letter column, the above-mentioned essay by Snyder as well as a color process by Matt Hollingsworth, who colors the living hell out of this book. What I laid on Jock’s shoulders last month, in terms of the splotch effect, turns out to actually be entirely Hollingsworth’s doing, and without finding out for sure what he’s going for, it’s fascinating to see the way that he does it. It’s without a doubt a bold choice, not just in terms of coloring, but in terms of adding another element to sequential storytelling, and it’s worth devoting some time to paying attention to for the next few issues. Aside from something as specific as that, there are a few splashes in this issue that really grab you and make you think that Hollingsworth is working out a lot of stuff in the coloring of this book--and it’s working.
Jock is, as always, the steady, guiding hand of Team Wytches. His artwork is rock-solid, whether it’s a quiet family moment inside what must be the largest McDonald’s Playplace in history, or whether it’s a horrifying ritual enacted by an ugly person. It all seems completely normal and completely ominous.
I have not finished an issue of this comic without feeling a little depressed and a little wigged out, which is a lot for me as a reader. Usually I can compartmentalize something away and not think about it. Not so in this case. Not so at all. This book is something special. Pick it up now, while you can still get the first and second issue reprints.
Writer: Scott Snyder Artist: Jock Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 12/17/14 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital