Written By: Scott Snyder
Art By: Jock
Published By: Image
Issue #5 of Wytches is sure to seem like a slow issue. The last few issues, especially #4, had some stunning revelations and surprises that were keeping us very much edge. With issue #5, Scott Snyder decides to open with a bang and then treat us with some great flashbacks into Charlie’s relationship with Sailor and how much recent events have challenged not just his family but his own insecurities as a father.
We previously saw some flashbacks that showed that Charlie and Sailor have come a long way. It was heavily implied (and somewhat discussed) that Charlie had a drinking problem and that Sailor kept having to prove herself to her father which definitely caused some problems with their relationship. The best thing about these flashback scenes are that they rarely seem wasted and do much to tell us about the current state of the characters we’ve been following since issue one. While I’m a huge fan of the Ferris wheel flashback, the flashback we get in this issue is my favorite of the series.
Snyder has done a wonderful job so far of making it appear as if Sailor is the only person in danger. After all, she was presumably pledged and has some past demons to take care of. Yet this single flashback almost begs us to ask the question of who really is struggling with past demons and its a painful set of pages to sit through. Sailor’s pain is valid and very real and I feel like Snyder outdid himself when it came to her lines of dialogue. The more Snyder dives into the characters of Wytches the more I like them. They’re highly flawed with their own unique sets of fears and wishes and I feel like it’s easier to connect to a story with these characters who seem more and more like real people with each issue.
If you’re afraid that the story may be challenged by the focus on this father/daughter relationship, don’t worry. The first few pages deal directly with the shocking final panels of issue #4 and clues us in to the possibility that the wytches may be a force much greater than we originally anticipated. And in a way, this is why the series has managed to be so creepy. Rather than focus on the gore or the horror of creatures like the wytches, Snyder has been expertly teasing the full extent of their power and their hold on society.
Which is ultimately why it works so well. The wytches are not an evil force sweeping through town and killing people at whim. They can only attack people who have been pledged. And while we know that the wytches feast on people, if they can only eat people who have been pledged then how evil are they really? More importantly, what does that say about humanities role in everything that’s going on?
Jock’s art continues to be stellar and this issue gives him a wonderful opportunity to showcase some great spooky designs. What really seals this issue, however, is the sharp contrast between scenes in the present and the flashback scenes. As Charlie searches for Sailor, we get nothing but darkness, with backgrounds that shift between black, brown, and a deep dark red. When we flashback, the scenes are bright and almost cheery. It’s a great aesthetic choice that helps break up the scenes and keep them from feeling monotonous.
Wytches is a comic that somehow gets better and better with each issue and I expect the next few issues will be some of the best and perhaps finally give us a confrontation with the wytches themselves. In the meantime, I’m greatly enjoying the story that Snyder is crafting that seems to prove that horror is deeper than ghosts, ghouls, and beasts. Sometimes the horror sits a little closer to home, and that’s a much scarier thought than something lurking in the dark.