If any comic on the stands today knows how to control a specific atmosphere, it’s Scott Snyder and Jock’s Image Comics-published Wytches. The pages practically bleed colorfully painted splotches of suffocating dread. The latest issue, #3, continues to build onto the ongoing conflict of the Rooks family, offering lots of scares that delve deep into a very real kind of fear. While I was left a bit wanting in regards to plot progression, this third issue is a great comic that manages to keep getting readers to care more and more intimately about these characters while simultaneously courting some healthy skepticism.
In classic Snyder fashion, this issue starts off with and occasionally flips back to a seemingly unrelated story from these characters’ past and thematically ties it into the present in a way that really affects. It’s so cool how this writer can take such a small anecdote about childhood play and present it in such a way that manages to conjure up all sorts of anxiety. A simple approach can go a long way when it comes to monster stories, but Snyder goes down a more complex road and succeeds. All looming danger in this series is caked in concern for this poor, anxious girl and her endlessly caring father.
This issue takes place some time after the first issue, exacerbated by a flashback that explains issue #2’s ending. Detailing a creepy encounter the father has with an odd, monstrous woman, this scene is not only viscerally uncomfortable, but gives some much needed hints at the mysteries of this first arc. Presented in this comic is an intriguing mystery that forces readers to think about the psychological limits of the characters. In the process, readers will probably stumble into having these thoughts about themselves, revealing the true terror of Wytches.
What’s unfortunate is that, despite all of this issue’s achievements, I was left wishing the plot had moved forward a little more. The regular monthly release cycle of comic books necessitates a substantial wait time between issues, so it can be a bummer when things don’t considerably progress. There are some fun surprises and a cliffhanger that seems to tease a truly exciting next issue, so it isn’t all bad.
The art here does continues to dazzle, in all of its eerie, discomforting and foreboding glory. On that same note of streamlining, however, I did occasionally find the paint-splattering in this issue to be a tad overdone. The purposely obtuse imagery that makes things hard to make out plays with one’s imagination in such a way as to force some dark analysis, even though sometimes I was left a bit annoyed that I couldn’t quite understand what I was looking at.
At the end of the issue, Snyder wrote up an essay delving into what emotionally drove him to develop Wytches. It’s a story that any die-hard Snyder fan will already know from interviews he’s done, but it’s a chilling and well-written read all the same. In it, he paints a clear connection between Wytches and real-life fears formed from the implications of relationships with loved ones combined with mind-numbing anxiety. He’s not full of shit.
Story: Scott Snyder Art: Jock
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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