It’s really hard to do horror in any kind of medium, but I’d say it’s even harder to do it in comic books. Specially to a horror fan like me. There are no jump scares, no soundtrack, or voices from beyond. But what storytellers Scott Snyder and Jock managed to do with both issues of Wytches is create a different kind of fear, a fear that is not related only to monsters or hellish creatures, but to characters. Throughout issue #2, you will get scared for Sailor and her family, but rest assured, there are plenty of terrifying visuals too.
We pick up exactly where we left with the first issue, with Sailor Books being hunted and her family trying to cope with the many tragedies of their past. Once again, Snyder writes very compelling characters and thanks to a very natural, very human dialogue, gives the readers a window into what it’s like being one of those characters. Sailor’s dad is a struggling writer trying to keep his family alive, her mom was in a car accident that may be something bigger and scarier, and she is still wrestling with the fact that her demons are coming alive. It’s hard not to sympathize with them, because even though their fears are being cranked up to eleven thanks to the presence of wytches, it’s all rooted in very common things. The fear that you were betrayed, that you won’t make it, that society is always watching you, looking for a mistake to exploit.
So, essentially, you’re scared for the characters before being scared with them. There is no “Batman” on the title of this book, so you know Snyder can keep going and kill one or two characters down the line. Hell, in the world of Wytches, I’m sure there are fates worse than death. The brilliance of the book is that you like these characters, you want them to be well and seeing bad things happen to them will keep you from blinking. The fear still gets inside you, but from a different perspective. The characters are a window, an avenue to our hearts and minds, and once we open ourselves to them, the terror has a way in. It’s brilliant, really.
Outside of this psychological horror, there’s plenty of nightmares coming to life in the book thanks to Jock’s superb artwork. On a purely visual level, the artist is doing some of his greatest work here. I don’t want to spoil what happens, but I can tell you that there’s one moment in the book where the stakes get insanely high and there are a lot of moving parts, all en route to collide with the evil hiding in the woods. Jock rises with the occasion with layouts that kindly take your eye from one panel to the other, and a mixture of horror that is both terrifying as it is broken and out of place. His greatest gift to Wytches #2 is creating visuals that feel like they don’t belong, like they’re from a hidden hell right here on Earth, and it’s a pleasure to consume that.
My only wish was that Snyder were a little more careful with cliffhangers. I don’t mind them, and I know they’re a part of ongoing comic books, but both Wytches issues ended on what felt like a season finale kind of cliffhanger. It just stops. Sure, it’s a good hook to keep you coming back, but Wytches doesn’t need that, I guarantee you. While you are here, be sure to read We The Nerdy’s review. here