ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Witchblood,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Witchblood #1 - But Why Tho?Witchblood #1 is written by Matthew Erman, illustrated by Lisa Sterle, colored by Gab Contreras, and lettered by Jim Campbell. It is published by Vault Comics. The series focuses on a motorcycle-riding witch named Yonna who travels the open roads of the Southwest with her raven familiar Bhu. Yonna soon runs into a band of vampiric bikers named the Hounds of Love, who covet her mystical blood.

Witchblood was initially described as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets American Gods” and that’s a fairly apt comparison. Much like Buffy, the series features a snarky supernatural being who fights vampires-although Yonna’s willingness to rob humans and her fiery temper would put her more in line with Buffy’s rival/ally Faith. This issue also reminded me of Sons of Anarchy, albeit with a supernatural bent given that the Hounds of Love are bloodsucking vampires and another traveler Yonna runs into turns out to be a witch hunter.

This book reunites the husband/wife team of Erman and Sterle, who previously worked on the Long Lost series. Their creative talents fit each other like a glove, with Erman’s snappy dialogue perfectly fitting Sterle’s character designs. Sterle’s design for Yonna is perfect: instead of the standard hat and robes you’d expect from a witch, she has biker goggles, a black leather jacket, and a motorcycle called the “Ramblin’ Rose” instead of a broom. The Hounds of Love also happen to dress like a typical biker gang, with only their pale white skin and blood-red eyes giving them away.

Erman’s script also perfectly mixes humor and horror, with the latter producing some timely comic beats. When Yonna is run off the road by a mysterious driver, she ends up having to go into town to get repairs. She then sees the car that ran her off and exclaims “Revenge is mine!” with flames literally dancing in her eyes, courtesy of Sterle. Her eventual confrontation with the witch hunter also produced some laughs. I don’t want to spoil the scene but it alone is more than worth giving this comic a read. I would also be remiss if I didn’t point out that Bhu is a great addition to the comic; even though he doesn’t speak, he stays by Yonna’s side and he apparently seems to love pizza—the hallmark of a great animal companion.

The book is an eye-catching read not only because of the sharp scripting and great artwork, but also Contreras’ colors. Night turns to day over the course of several pages, with the purplish-blue sky fading to a bright and vibrant blue. Yonna is often surrounded by sparking rainbows or thick violet smoke, depending on whether she’s giving a monologue or casting spells. And as mentioned before, the Hounds of Love are utterly terrifying with their pale complexion and razor-sharp fangs. This is one of the most vibrant and visually arresting comics I’ve seen in a while.

Rounding out the artistic team is Campell on letters. The letters are big bold and in your face. The “HONK” of a horn curls around the page and even actions such as a menacing glare or Bhu flying through the air are given corresponding action text. By far the best one is where Yonna chucks a bottle at someone and the word “BOTTLE” follows it.

Witchblood #1 is the perfect mix of witchcraft and hilarity, putting a modern spin on the supernatural with its irreverent story and wonderful art. Fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Mad Max should definitely give it a read, as there’s not a dull moment to be had.

Witchblood #1 will be available in comic shops on March 31.

Witchblood #1
5

TL;DR

Witchblood #1 is the perfect mix of witchcraft and hilarity, putting a modern spin on the supernatural with its irreverent story and wonderful art. Fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Mad Max should definitely give it a read, as there’s not a dull moment to be had.