Scott Snyder/ Jock/ Matt Hollingsworth/ Clem Robins
For those who’ve been reading my material for awhile, you may recall me writing about Wytches last year when the first issue debuted. It was a great read, but something I could ultimately wait on to be collected, since my comics budget only allows for a set amount of comics per month. I’m glad I did, because aside from reading as one big story, I’m sure the wait between months would have drove me insane.
Wytches is a Stephen King-esque tale by the acclaimed team of Scott Snyder and Jock, whom I know from the excellent Batman: The Black Mirror. Joining them is acclaimed colorist Matt Hollingsworth and letter Clem Robins. This collaboration leads to an comic that’s absolutely horrifying, but also genuinely amazing. The story takes place in a small remote town in New Hampshire, with a family of 3 with their share of secrets.Not to be outdone, the town of Litchfield also has it’s own secret, in the form of the Wytches, an ancient evil which can make your dreams come true for a price. Needless to say, the two cross paths and a number of bad things happen. Yes I know that’s not exactly the most detailed description, but I want to keep this thing light on spoilers.
As someone who was introduced to Jock’s work on the excellent Losers, I’m not entirely sure if this is his first journey into the horror genre. If it indeed is, whoever decided to put him on a horror book is a genius. His art is perfect for this time of story, mixing realistic looking characters with some horrifying designs for the Wytches. The book has a tight, claustrophobic feel to it, and it’s more than appropriate. And the build up to actually seeing what the wytches look like is handled so well, making it all the more scarier when you finally get to see them in up close. There’s some brutal stuff in here, which a lot of sick moments involving things twisting and contorting themselves in ways they shouldn’t. What I’m saying is that if you don’t like ultra violence and grotesque moments, maybe stay away from this book. It also has a dark, slickly look thanks to Hollingsworth colors. I’m not sure exactly how to describe the filter he used for Wytches, but it makes the book look diseased, making me really unclean and kind of uneasy while reading it. You know, the sort of thing absolutely perfect for this type of book. These two give us some brutal and wicked imagery, making this book a frightening, yet strangely good looking head. I also like the choice of Robin’s jagged fonts, give the book a sense of urgency, keeping the reader on their toes at all times. In addition to that, the more bombastic sound effects uses for the Wytches themselves will send a chill down you spine.
Snyder himself is no stranger to horror, weaving all sorts of supernatural elements into his current Batman run, not to mention his previous Image mini-series Severed. Here he’s channeling Stephen King to the fullest, giving the readers a brutal read, with some clever twists both in the narrative and on familiar horror tropes. The dialogue in Wytches is perfect, and the horror feels all too real. Scott makes his leads very likable, so every twist and secret revealed feels like a massive betrayal to the reader. The pacing is spot on as well, building moment to the explosive conclusion, which would either be a solid ending for this story, or be a really good set up for a sequel of sorts.
Wytches is a horror comic overflowing with concepts and lore. Snyder, Jock and Hollingsworth drop a lot on the reader, warranting multiple re-reads, and even include all the back end material from the single issues. For those not in the know, those sort of extras are usually dropped from the $10 trades, so it only makes the complete package all the more attracted. For $10, Wytches is a hard book to resist. It’s gripping complete story that will keep you on the edge of your seat, and will haunt you for day. The book channels a lot of horror movie troupes, yet gives you a fresh and original terror in the end. Buy on sight if you’re into scary comics, because I imagine it’s going to be hard to find once Halloween grows closer. It’s a horror book that embraces the medium to the fullest, something I have seen since Locke and Key.