Wytches by Snyder and Jock – A Book Review

The hype for this book may have set it up to disappoint.  After all, MTV News called it, “The most terrifying comic you’ve ever read” and USA Today said, “Dark and brutal, Wytches are like nothing horror fans have ever seen.”

I’m a Scott Snyder fan.  I enjoy his work on Batman, love American Vampire, and hold his short story collection, Voodoo Heart, in the highest regard (seriously – read it).  But, to be frank, the blurbs on the Wytches back cover exercised such hyperbole that it created impossible expectations.

Is this a good book?  Yeah, it’s okay.  To be honest, it’s not great, nor is it the scariest thing I’ve ever read.  Personally, I didn’t even find it all that original.  For me, the best part were Snyder’s notes at the end explaining the idea’s origination.

The idea is that Wytches are a primal force of nature, inexplicably advanced horrors that wear no clothes and incessantly click their teeth.  They live underground, eat people, and come out through trees.  People can sacrifice other people to gain power from these monsters, though it’s never remotely explained how or by what means this “advanced” technology unfolds.  In the end, this story is about a troubled teenager hunted by these creatures and her troubled father’s attempts to save her.

I generally love Jock’s artwork.  Though his angles and layouts are not groundbreaking, they are always pleasing to the eye, dynamic, and they progress the story well from panel to panel, page to page.

Matt Hollingsworth’s colors were a controversial aspect of the book for me.  On the one hand, I’ve never seen coloring like his.  At the core of each panel, you have traditional coloring.  However, each panel or complete page is overlaid with splotches of colors.  I can only describe it as sort of a “trippy” lens flare.  I love the concept, the daring, and the originality of this method, but I can’t say I love its practical application.  It proved really distracting from the overall tone and story.

I appreciate Image Comics because the publisher is willing to try out titles like Wytches, and I hope they continue to do so.  And, had I not read the overzealous blurbs before reading the book, I could have formulated a different opinion.  As it stands, though, Wytches is an entertaining read that, for me, did not live up to its hype.