Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Witching Hour #1
Vertigo (DC Comics)
Beach, Beukes, Human, Lewis, Chiang, Mok, Carrol, DeConnick, Doyle, Sturges, McManus, Kot, Jeske, Litt, Buckingham, Santos, Huehner and Lotay
The Witch themed anthology of nine stories for eight dollars drops this week with the usual mixture of good, average and missing the mark-type stories. If you are into trying out new things and like getting a big collection of stories in one sitting then this is something to pick up. If you feel you need to get your money’s worth then experimenting on an eight dollar book probably isn’t the best use of your money. I found this comic to have two exceptional stories in it and maybe two that either missed with me or I just didn’t like and the rest very fairly decent. If you are looking for a horror themed book then look no further.
The first story written and drawn by Steve Beach is a good one as an old man is brought some peace from his past demons in the form of three little witches. The part of this story that doesn’t quite work is what exactly he’d done to rack himself with so much guilt. I liked the story but I simply didn’t connect with the level of stress the lead character seemed to feel in the story.
The second story by Beukes and Human carries a much darker story about a wandering witch. The story is creepy and provides the usual mysticism that you expect to find when dealing with a witch of this sort. The story has nice artwork as well to add to the thrilling nature of the story.
The third story is the best of the entire book and, oddly, seems to depart from the witch theme. The story by Lewis and Chiang is one set on Mars where a settlement is established as part of a reality TV show. The show runs out of money and the people are basically stranded there. The book takes the reader down the dark journey into horrible things humans can and will do to each other. I loved this story.
The fourth story by Mok and Carroll has some lovely art that appear to be of the painted or water colored variety. The story itself is borderline psychedelic as it takes the reader down the path into a young woman’s mind. It’s an interesting trip but it’s a story that seems to be too big for the eight pages allowed here.
The fifth story by DeConnick and Doyle is a terrific little one shot. The leading lady gives a good backstory and presents herself as one thing while the reader is waiting for the trick that surely is coming. The artwork is excellent as the book stays in two tones: shades of gray and bright red. It works well artistically and the story gives a good punch at the end after a nice setup.
The sixth story by Sturges and McManus is an ambitious story that ties some real life characters from the 1950s into a story involving some witchcraft. The story is a good one but kind of stops short of being great as the characters obviously have a limited stretch to them given that the reader knows their rightful place in history. This is one of the better reads but comes off more as a spoof.
The seventh story is one that went over my head. Kot and Jeske provide a story set during the war torn country of Afghanistan. I wasn’t too sure what to make of this story. It simply felt like it needed more space to complete what it wanted to say. The artwork was good and I felt like it fell into that new Vertigo house style very nicely.
The eighth story was about the Dead Boy Detectives, who are apparently getting an ongoing series later this year. The story by Litt and Buckingham is a good one but I had a hard time getting into it. Then at the end I see the credits list the story as “Part Three” which made me think I may have missed something. I liked the artwork has it had the Hardy Boys feel to it which seems very appropriate.
The final story is by Huehner and Lotay and is the kind of depressing story I had assumed this entire volume would be like. This story does a nice setup job and pulls the reader out of their comfort zone at the end. The artwork felt a little bit too trippy at times but it was good overall.
There you have it: nine, eight page stories for eight bucks. Some are great ones while most are average. The comic is a good read that will leave you satisfied but it probably isn’t the kind of comic book you will read over and over again. Check it out if you have a light list some week.
3 out of 5 Geek Goggles