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“Wytches #4” is all about tension. From the frantic, rapidly paced visuals from Jock, to the creepy dialogue from Scott Snyder, this issue is chocked full of horror and darkness. Great horror, from Lovecraft’s epics, to Matheson’s masterpieces and King’s chillers, has one thing in common; it’s all about demons. And that isn’t to say spooky supernatural business is needed, although that usually enhances things. Instead, what’s necessary is one wrestling with ones’ own inner demons. The monster inside us all that is given the right motivation or circumstance could find its way bubbling, roiling to the surface. Snyder and Jock successfully capture this essential essence of existential terror with a deeply personal tale about a father seeking redemption, a daughter finding herself and a battle between man and supernatural beast thrown in for good measure.
From the start of the series I’ll admit that I’ve been of two minds when it comes to Jock’s visual style choice for this title. Part of me really likes the fact that not only does it feature his unique touch, but the colours from Matt Hollingsworth seems to add a horror film vibe to the proceedings, which suits the story perfectly. However, part of me is also terribly frustrated that many panels turn out muddled beneath a particularly thick and distracting layer of watercolour. I imagine that everyone has a slightly different opinion on how this works for the series but I found this issue to be visually flawless except for a few instances of distorted images.
But therein lies the genius of the whole thing too. Because fear and terror make you blind or make you think you’re seeing things that aren’t there or create hyper-realistic scenarios within your mind. So while it can be frustrating to see Jock and Hollingsworth take this approach, it certainly fits with the world Snyder has helped them construct. The characters themselves are trapped between the knowledge that what’s happening to them is obviously occurring and yet can’t be real. Because there are no such things as monsters, right? This theme carries itself into the art where we also experience the story through a distorted lens that can make things difficult to see and understand.
The dialogue is handled with great care in this issue and we get to see an intense flashback to an important moment in the lives of Sailor and her father. These characters have become very engrossing and sympathetic in a short period of time, making our shared experience of their plight a harrowing journey with unclear ramifications.
The final page takes a pretty rad twist that left a smile on my face. It’s cliché to say “the plot thickens” but that’s exactly what I thought after closing the cover on “Wytches #4” and I immediately wanted to reach for the next issue. That’s the mark of a successfully executed comic book. The serialized nature of the medium means that you should always be left wanting more and Snyder and Jock leave you with just such a feeling.
“Wytches #4” brings all of the best elements of a classic horror story together into one lightning-paced package that’s impossible to put down. Snyder’s world is creepy and his characters empathetic and Jock’s skill at actualizing the world makes it impossible to see it through any other lens. There is a lot of potential to the ideas behind Wytches and they are coming to fruition with each successive issue. Expect a big payoff next time out and we’ll know for sure whether this is a hit that’s here to stay.
“Wytches #4” earns 8.4/10