REVIEW: ‘Cojacaru the Skinner,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Cojacaru the Skinner #1

Horror writers Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden return to add a new tale to their comic universe, The Outerverse. After Baltimore and Joe Golem: Occult Detective, this is the first series to fall under “Tales of the Outerverse” officially. The first issue in a two-part miniseries, Cojacaru the Skinner #1, is published by Dark Horse Comics, written by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden with art by Peter Bergting, colors by Michelle Madsen.

In an alternative history, a French town in the bloody throes of WWII is beset by the Hexenkorps, an army of witches allied with the Nazis. A band of resistance soldiers are trying to deliver a list of Nazi collaborators to Paris but are cornered by the witches. However, with the aid of some white witches, they summon a long-dead witch-hunter, Cojacaru the Skinner.

The Hexenkorps is a group of witches that are cutthroat and remorseless. They’re so murderous that even the innocent civilians are fair game. Mignola and Golden characterize the many different types of witches in the Hexenkorp well, making for some good, scary antagonists. And while witches are a typical evil element in supernatural stories, it’s good to see a mix of both bad and good witches to subvert this expectation.

The dark content is expected from this pair of authors. Beyond the supernatural elements, there is plenty of horror and gore, with people being killed left and right. And while the gore isn’t overly detailed, it nevertheless gets the point across—these witches are remorseless.

The downside to this murder is just how fast-paced it all is. The people killed aren’t named; we learn very little about even the story’s main movers. There’s rarely any time to fall in love with any of the characters or even to hate any of them before we’re moving onto the next scene. The one exception to this, of course, is the titular Cojacaru. We see the beginnings of Cojacaru’s backstory near the end of the issue, and the writers paint this character as a powerful woman.

But while we learn about Cojacaru eventually, there isn’t much backdrop to the rest of the story. While we understand the motives of both the resistance fighters and the Hexenkorps in the here and now, we know little about this alternative history—why the white witches are helping the resistance, who all these different types of witches are, and what certain elements of Cojacaru’s backstory mean. I have a feeling that there may be more context to come. Still, this miniseries is likely one best read along with others in The Outerverse.

The art supports the story well; the gore is striking, and the characters are emotive. The Hexenkorp are just as ugly on the outside as they are on the inside. While the palette is rather boring, with the predominant use of greens, browns, and grays, they nevertheless reflect the story’s dire tone. The lettering provides an easy read with the use of different speech bubbles to clarify who is talking.

Cojacaru the Skinner #1 provides an interesting alt-history with plenty of gore and supernatural elements to entertain fans. While it’s a bit of a monotonous slaughter-fest initially, the story picks up interest with the introduction of its titular character. A few elements in the story and Cojacaru’s background are a tad confusing, which either suggests issue two will reveal more or that this is best read along with the rest of the series in The Outerverse.

Cojacaru the Skinner #1 is available April 21st wherever comics are sold.

Cojacaru the Skinner #1
3.5

TL;DR

Cojacaru the Skinner #1 provides an interesting alt-history with plenty of gore and supernatural elements to entertain fans. While it’s a bit of a monotonous slaughter-fest initially, the story picks up interest with the introduction of its titular character. A few elements in the story and Cojacaru’s background are a tad confusing, which either suggests issue two will reveal more or that this is best read along with the rest of the series in The Outerverse.