Review: Spell on Wheels #1
Spell on Wheels #1 is a nice start to a new short run series. If the first issue is any indication, we should be treated to something akin to The Craft goes on a road trip without all the drama. While these twenty something witches are off making a living, doing a bit of sorcery and spells for the nonmagical folks, they are robbed by a vengeful ex-boyfriend. The premise of this series is the girls hitting the road to get their magical wares back and it seems pretty darn fun so far.
Kate Leth hits on some pretty deep undertones in this issue making it a standout and a pretty fresh take on not only the road trip story but, on the magical front. The way that Leth gets the action going and leads the story shows us her talent and mastery of writing. There are some interesting things going on in this premiere issue that fit in nicely with some pretty deep social issues.
One of the things that stuck with me was the violating feeling of the robbery. There is something to be said about having your private space invaded and having someone take private precious things from you. Leth handles that by having two of the girls sleep together to feel safe. There’s also the issue of the jilted ex. Nathan, the culprit breaks into the house to steal from the girls because he was dumped. Leth owns kudos for showing the kind of entitled arrogance that causes a jilted male ex to exact revenge against the woman who dared to deny him.
While Leth keeps the story light and airy with a hint of fun she manages to tackle some pretty deep societal and, male/female relation issues. She’s able to explore some of these feelings without bringing the story down or making things heavy. Everything is presented as an organic part of the story and something for the reader to think about as they read it and after.
I also loved that the central characters of the story who are three twenty-something women, leaning on each other while finding out who they are. As a comic book, it passes the Bechdel Test and when they talk it’s not about the men in their lives or society, it’s about each other. Spell on Wheels #1 shows women getting along, living autonomous lives, and existing much like most women live their lives. That feels like it’s in contrast to the way that so much of media presents women and their interpersonal relationships with each other.
There is also the way that Leth handles the fact that she’s dealing with a diverse group of girls. She doesn’t make the different ethnicities an issue. There is no mention of race because the story doesn’t need it. The story is presented as things happen in real life when friends of different races hang out they act as if it is normal because it is. The racial diversity is not a central or integral part of the story it just is and that is a beautiful thing.
Megan Levens’ artwork brings a sense of airiness and light to the story. It throws back to the old Josie and the Pussycats comics which is appropriate because that was another great girl-powered, ass kicking trio. The color palette is relaxing and bright and, doesn’t overpower the story being told. Levens’ gets extra kudos for the fact that she takes on the different ethnic backgrounds of the girls and makes them look different but, not stereotypical, like caricatures of their races or, like racially ambiguous people dipped in different hued crayons.
Overall Spell on Wheels #1 has me hooked and I’m all strapped in and ready to ride shotgun in Jolene, that beautiful convertible coup that will taking them on the journey. This issue ends with the witches knocking on the door of the first person who bought some of their stolen magical loot off of the dark web magic ebay. I can’t wait to see how it all plays out, because Spell on Wheels looks like it is going to be a fun road trip romp with some strong female characters and a killer story.
Story: Kate Leth Art: Megan Levens
Story: 8.9 Art: 8.4 Overall: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy
Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review