This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: The Witcher Omnibus.
I often wonder how to start a column when the focus is an adaptation of other media – especially when the other media is an adaptation of something else. Such as it is with Dark Horse’s The Witcher Omnibus. The book collects four five issue miniseries mostly written by Paul Tobin, with two being based on the books and two seemingly based on the video games that were also based on the books judging by Geralt’s armour and the appearance of certain characters in the final story.
As someone who has grown to love the The Witcher over the last 18 months, getting a chance to experience the stories in a different format was an exciting opportunity. I loved the books, and thoroughly enjoyed The Witcher III: Wild Hunt on PlayStation 4. The eight episodes of the Netflix adaptation wasn’t even close to being enough for me, and I can’t wait to experience more when the second season hits. For some reason, despite being a comic guy, I had never actually read the comics until my parents sent me the omnibus for my birthday (it hasn’t happened yet – I just have no patience when it comes to opening gifts for my birthday), and I read the 200 odd pages in two sittings interrupted only by an exhausted sleep.
The book was a fantastic read, and I really enjoyed seeing how the a short story from one of the first two books translated to comic book form (I’d be more specific which book it was from, but I read them back to back and often get which short stories are in which book mixed up), just as it was fun to see a story set after the events of one of the game’s endings. Thankfully, it was the ending I had gotten when playing through, so it could be confusing if you only went through the game once and got a different outcome.
That’s honestly the only downside I can think of to the omnibus. That you may need to know pieces from the other adaptations to enjoy one of the stories within (even though the game isn’t specifically referenced so the story won’t spoil your enjoyment of Wild Hunt), but if you’re somebody like me who has gone all in of Andrej Sapkowski’s creation then you’ll not notice it. Or if you’re willing to accept that certain things have happened that don’t impact the story then you’ll still be able to enjoy the final story.
All in all, it’s a minor complaint.
The art is varied within the omnibus, with the first two tales taking on a more Hellboy-esque look and feel which suits the world of Geralt just fine, and the latter two taking inspiration from the imagery gamers are more familiar with. Either way, I had absolutely no complaints with how the book looked, how it read nor how Tobin and the rest of the creative team handled Geralt of Rivia.
The book will set you back between roughly $25-30 depending which side of the Canadian border you’re on, and it was worth each and every penny for me. If you’re curious about who Geralt is beyond the events in the Netflix show and you haven’t read the books yet, then this is a great introduction. The nature of his long life and many adventures lend themselves well to short pointed stories within a five issue miniseries, which is what makes this book stand out so well; there isn’t an epic story told over hundred of pages, but rather a selection of Geralt’s contracts, his adventures and his stories. So toss a coin to you
witcher comic shop and grab this book. You won’t be disappointed
Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.