Review: Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Witches #4
For a series that is focused on fairy tales dealing with witches, it makes sense that at some point it would have to include Baba Yaga, here drawn from an unused teleplay for the original television series. While there are other witches who are more famous in fairy tales, many of them are not named specifically, and so Baba Yaga as a name is distinctive enough to merit some attention. The story follows a fairly common theme among fairy tales, the death of a mother and her replacement with a mean step-mother and her mean daughters. The young girl acting as the protagonist is forced into a life of servitude, which is made all the worst when she is sent to the dark forest to live.
In the folklore tradition of Baba Yaga there is not one common narrative as there is with for instance Cinderella or Snow White, instead the witch is more like a legend or superstition in her portrayal, and often even a cautionary tale of what happens to children that do not behave. Here though she is put into a story which captures a lot of the commonalities of fairy tales, even when they are not from a specific story dealing with Baba Yaga. This makes the story seem a bit artificial at times, and this is even more evident, as the titular Storyteller is shown in this issue far more than in previous issues, and his presence seems almost like it is necessary to advance the plot. Equally though by pulling from stock material for fairy tales, it does allow the main character to display some redeeming qualities, notably when she is challenged to riddles which she quickly deciphers.
The end result for this issue and this series is a little bit of a disappointment. While the series is quaint and interesting when approached from a certain angle, it also never really managed to reach the level that it could have or should have. The collected edition might be a nice addition to a child’s library, but from an adult point of view, most of the fairy tales in this four part series missed the mark. This fourth and final issue was probably the second best of the four, but as it is still only about average, it is indicative of the problems that this series faced.
Story: Anthony Mighella Art: Jeff Stokely
Story: 7.4 Art: 7.4 Overall: 7.4 Recommendation: Pass
BOOM! Studios and Archaia provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.