Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: June 24, 2015
Edition: Paperback, 114 pages
Genre: Graphic Novel, Horror, Mystery
Rating: 4.5/5 Rating
Everything you thought you knew about witches is wrong. They are much darker, and they are much more horrifying. Wytches takes the mythology of witches to a far creepier, bone-chilling place than readers have dared venture before. When the Rooks family moves to the remote town of Litchfield, NH to escape a haunting trauma, they’re hopeful about starting over. But something evil is waiting for them in the woods just beyond town. Watching from the trees. Ancient…and hungry.
This is going to be one of those reviews where I will have literally no bad things to say: a horrifying and mysterious story that also packs a powerful message about parents and their children. And if the story wasn’t scary enough, the combination of JOCK’s art and Matt Hollingsworth coloring may terrify you on their own.
The Rook family has just moved to a new town, a new house. A fresh start. Yes, this start over is good for whole family, but really it’s meant for Sailor. She was bullied by a girl, Angie, at her last school. Angie has Sailor meet her in the woods one night when she pulls out a gun, hits her in the head with the butt of the gun, and tells Sail to strip. That was when something took her. The cops later found Sailor in the woods unconscious from the blow… but they also couldn’t find any trace of Angie. Sailor is convinced that something is out there that took her; the cops and her parents are convinced she is confused from getting hit in the head; and everyone else and the kids at school are convinced that she murdered Angie.
The move was supposed to leave all the talk and rumors behind – help lessen Sailor’s stress and anxiety. The first day of school proved that there is no escaping from people talking, but it also proved something else: that their is something in the woods.
The Rook family is made up of Charlie, Lucie, and Sailor. Lucy is a nurse, and is also confined to a wheelchair; Charlie is comic book writer; and Lucy is a school girl. For nearly all off the first volume, the story focuses on Charlie and Lucy, and their relationship.
Even before the incident with Angie, Sailor has always suffered from anxiety and stress, and it appears that it has been a serious issue for most of her life. When we first meet Charlie and Sail, Sail is waiting for the bus for the first day of school. Charlie can tell the anxiety is coming, so he start this game with her where they try to come up different ways to kill mythological creatures (like stick dynamite is a a griffin’s bum) XD It works to cheer her up, but it also shows the care and concern that Charlie has for her. It’s also showed something else in his face as the bus drove away: guilt. We learn later in the story that Charlie used to be an alcoholic, and at time when Sailor needed him most, he was gone in his own world, and he blames what has happened to her on him.
I loved the horror and wytches of the story (which I’ll get to in a second), but I think this father-daughter relationship was the greatest strength of the novel. This starts out as what seems to be a story about Sailor and the wytches – which it is – but it quickly turns its focus onto Charlie, and then this story becomes a message about how far a father will go to protect the daughter he loves. And you will feel the power of the Snyder’s writing. I am not a father, not a brother, or anything of the like, but Charlie and Sailor’s relationship, and what Charlie does for her, hit me right in the heart.
The other thing that hit me in the heart was the horror. It should be no surprise to anyone that there actually is something is the woods and these somethings are wycthes. These wytches are nothing like the witches you are familiar with. These are tall, black, horrifying monsters. There is no pointy hats and brooms. Although there is a cauldron, and they do steal children.
What makes these monsters actually scary in the art. I’m not sure there is a better example out there of using art to set the mood for a story. It captures the story and feelings of the characters perfectly, and is able to tell part of the story on its own. While Synder hints and talking about these watches with out characters, we see – almost – parts of them in panels, hiding between the trees and branches. It was like getting told a scary story around a campfire and then actually seeing something is the woods arounds you.
And if great characters and art weren’t enough, yes, the plot is just as amazing. In short: issue #1 ends with one hell of a zinger and from there on you aren’t going to put this down. Each issue on is filled with shocking moments, and the final chapter of the volume, issue #6, pulls out all the stops, and let me tell you… I don’t even know.
It’s a horror story that will scare you; it’s a mystery story that will shock you; it a graphic novel that you need to read.
Date Read: 10/31/2015 - 11/01/2015 Review Written: 11/01/2015