Wytches #5 arrived last week, giving readers their first extended look at the titular creatures haunting Charlie Rooks’ life. Scott Snyder and Jock are moving the series through this arc at breakneck speed, and this issue is no exception. It’s disturbing, but maybe not as engaging as it could have been.
Charlie Rooks has not had a good week. His daughter has gone missing, he’s been attacked by strangers, most of the town is working for the wytches, and he is now preparing to infiltrate their den to save his daughter from being eaten. Their magic is beginning to take hold of reality and his wife has already forgotten about their daughter ever existing. Needless to say, Charlie isn’t going to be getting much help. He manages to subdue one of the townsfolk and forces them to lead him to the den. Once inside, readers get their first long look at these malevolent forces of nature.
Snyder has created a mythos in this series that is both original and tremendously interesting. The ideas are genuinely disturbing and play at the baser levels of human selfishness. That is what is driving the series forward, almost more than the plot of Charlie and Sailor. It’s easy to empathize with Charlie. He’s failed to protect his daughter and he’s willing to do anything to get her back. However, there’s no reason to care about him aside from this surface level emotional connection. The series could have benefited from exploring his character a little bit more.
The writing on this series has generally been solid, but one consistent problem has been the pacing. The series moves fast and while this does work to build a certain amount of tension, it consistently diminishes the impact of the appearance of a wytch. The times that the pacing does slow down, it’s to show a flashback that hinders the flow of the story. The flashbacks are a great way to find out more about Charlie and his relationship with his family, but interspersing them through every issue hasn’t been ideal.
Jock’s art continues to be a strong point for the book. There’s something aggressive about his panels and his depiction of the creatures is more than a little unnerving. The book uses those talents to great effect, showcasing full splash pages of the dark imagery. One complaint I had about this issue is that some of the paneling gets a little confusing. This is exacerbated by the splotches of color thrown onto every page. This technique has worked beautifully in the past issues, but in this issue it only makes the panels more confusing.
Wytches has been a good, if uneven horror series so far. The story concludes next month and promises a full confrontation with the wytches in the burrow. If you’ve been reading along so far, there’s no reason to stop now. If you haven’t started the series yet, I suggest waiting for the trade.