REVIEW: ‘The Ward,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Ward #1 - But Why Tho

The Ward #1 is written by Cavan Scott, illustrated & colored by Andres Ponce, and lettered by Mauro Mantella. It’s published by Dark Horse Comics. At first glance, St. Lilith’s might face the same problems as any hospital, such as an influx of patients and the staff being stretched to its breaking limit. But some of those patients have wings and horns, and some of those staff members can walk through walls or split themselves into identical copies. St. Lilith’s is the only hospital on Earth that treats supernatural injuries. And it’s the place where Dr. Nat Reeves finds herself after her neighbor Wilfred discovers a wounded supernatural creature – despite a mysterious event that caused her to hang up her scrubs.

Many comic book creators often split their time between working on established characters and coming up with creator-owned comics, and Scott is no different. While readers might be more familiar with his work on Star Wars: The High Republic or Pacific Rim: Blackout, he manages to craft a story that’s part supernatural worldbuilding, part mystery, and part medical drama – all in the space of a single issue! Scott also deserves props for writing a story that keeps the reader hooked until the end of the issue, as more and more details about the world and its characters unfold – especially Nat, whose departure is still a sore spot for her and the rest of the St. Lilith’s crew. I look forward to seeing how future issues delve into that departure.

Scott is also joined by Ponce, who is clearly having a blast illustrating this series. Part of that is due to how he interprets various supernatural creatures, whether they’re patients or staff. An orc is a security guard; one of the doctors on staff can split herself into two identical copies, and the attending physician Dr. Kumasaka is a yurei – aka the Japanese version of a wandering spirit. A two-page spread even features supernatural creatures doing mundane things. The most surreal image? A skeletal deer-like being texting as if he doesn’t have a care in the world.

Ponce’s colors also give life to the world of The Ward, specifically in how the supernatural and mundane interact. In Nat’s apartment building, the scene is brightly lit. St. Lillith’s, on the other hand, has a dark cloudy palette. Even Mantella’s letters recieve a distinct color shceme based on the character speaking. Narrative captions peppered throughout the issue are a light blue color, which matches Nat’s clothing – as well as the light blue scrubs that the residents of St. Lilith’s wear. And a Minotaur’s speech bubbles are as jet-black as its fur, with ghostly white lettering matching the iron rings piercing its flesh.

The Ward #1 features a premise that mixes medical drama and supernatural elements, which is accompanied by vivid and haunting artwork. Dark Horse has been on a roll with creator-owned series this year – most notably another supernatural tale We Have Demons – and this is one I definitely recommend to readers new and old whether you’re a fan of Grey’s Anatomy or the Underworld films – or both!

The Ward #1 is available wherever comics are sold.


The Ward #1
4.5

TL;DR

The Ward #1 features a premise that mixes medical drama and supernatural elements, which is accompanied by vivid and haunting artwork. Dark Horse has been on a roll with creator-owned series this year – most notably another supernatural tale We Have Demons – and this is one I definitely recommend to readers new and old whether you’re a fan of Grey’s Anatomy or the Underworld films – or both!