Review: Wytches #4

wytches-4

The latest issue of Scott Snyder and Jock’s Wytches picks up the pace with multiple scenes that manage to deeply unsettle, and not just in a single way. There are the parts that are uncomfortable thanks to physical terrors in setting and character interaction, while other portions of the comic manage to be frightening because they peel away layers on main characters in a way that isn’t very flattering. Wytches #4 is a shocking comic, but in the most subtle way possible. None of the reveals in this comic, besides the one on the last page (which fits, considering how the comics craft works), are out of left field, which is perhaps what is so impressive about their overall effectiveness. Wytches works, and it does so with surprises that aren’t so unexpected as to be sensational; it doesn’t need that.

Sailor, the teenaged, anxiety-raddled girl who’s been victimized so much in this comic thus far, finds herself in quite the predicament this issue. The circumstance she finds herself in is visually terrifying, brought to the page in wonderfully creepy style thanks to Jock’s art. There’s just enough respective detail and obscurity in the drawings to simultaneously force readers to look at something shocking and imagine the rest. What’s even more distressing are the mental gymnastics Sailor has to do to save herself, which recall an anecdote from her past in which she exerted herself to impress her father Charlie.

This anecdote makes her dad look awfully mean and gross, depending on a substance and only extending love to his daughter through the most boisterous, obnoxious, and demanding of ways; this is quite different from the man readers have become accustomed to. The simple fact that Sailor saves herself by recalling a mildly traumatic moment in her past, dealing with an unsavory version of her father, is incredibly cool whenever the contrast set up in this issue is considered. In the present, her father, who is shown here to be filled with guilt over how he used to treat her, is trying his best to save her but fears he’ll fail her.

On his side of the fence, the environment is even harsher, making him deal with a stupendously screwy woman with constantly confusing motives. Jock visualizes his struggles in the same great way as he does Sailor’s, with lots of spooky art. This issue may just be the most impressive yet in terms of art, with the splashes of paint toned down in favor of more interesting coloring techniques. Alcohol finds itself sprinkled on the pages instead of random rainbow-colored drops, and certain pages take on themes tailored to a certain color similar to a Francavilla or Deadly Class-style page. Anything that’s difficult to make out is never frustratingly so; it’s done for increased horror.

There’s a specific panel in Wytches #4 that is especially awesome, further bolstering the point that this is the best issue since the debut. At one point, Charlie talks to his wife about a monster he believes he saw, and she tells him, “There’s no such thing as monsters.” This line is super-imposed over a flashback panel of that unsavory Charlie, which emphasizes what Snyder has been saying this series is all about from the start. He’s not trying to startle us with inhuman monsters, but make us afraid of the monsters inside all of us; even in seemingly loving parents.

Story: Scott Snyder Art: Jock
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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