A Beautiful Gory Display- Kickstart's WITCH
The Summer of Kickstart continues this week with the release of Witch. That’s right, our good friends at Kickstart Comics have another original graphic novel, available at your local comic store, at Walmart, and on Amazon. They were kind enough to send us a review copy, and it should not come as a surprise that these people put out a fine comic.
In the interests of full disclosure, I should say that I almost never like stories about magic. Sorcerers, wizards, and magicians generally just irritate me. (Except in real life, when even the simplest of tricks blows my mind.) Essentially, I just don’t care about anybody in comics with magic powers, with the exception of Zatanna. So even though I’ve really liked the rest of Kickstart’s output, I wasn’t excited about Witch. But man, this book is actually awesome.
Teenage Kylie Woods thinks she’s crazy – everybody else does, too. There’s a voice in her head, a voice that wants to hurt people. In a moment of panic, she releases the voice only to learn that she’s a witch and what she heard was the voice of her familiar, Ridley. In this case, her familiar is an eight-foot tall demonic cat-being. Kyle comes from a long line of witches, and her life is in danger. When she meets Aaron, a male witch, she learns about her true nature and the perils that come with being a witch.
First off, Tony Shasteen’s art is absolutely gorgeous. The designs of the various familiars are absolutely fantastic – Ridley has a very cool design that feels immediately iconic. Aaron’s familiar, Lucy, is similarly well-designed. They just pop off the page. It’s not just the monsters – there’s a great flow to the pages, and the emotion in his faces is impressive. It’s quite lovely.
I’m not familiar with co-writers Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett, except for the fact that “Terry Matalas” was a character on a later season of 24. It certainly doesn’t read like a first script, though. The dialogue is witty, with more than a few genuine laughs. And there are some great surprise reveals. There are at least three big “No way!” moments, including the last-page hook that would seem to leave room for a sequel.
While I’m not a magic guy, I love a good action scene, and Witch delivers. I especially love the way Ridley and Lucy lurk in the background, sometimes making hilarious threats or failing to understand human behavior. And then when there’s danger, they become these terrifying avatars of violence. They go from being come relief to just absolutely wrecking dudes without warning, and I love it.
There are good emotional turns in Witch – it’s not all monsters tearing witch hunters apart. The cast is well-realized and engaging. It’s a great piece of work, especially when a character who seems to be a joke turns out to be important. I really liked it, even with my aversion to magic.
The people at Kickstart do a fine job – this is their twelfth book, and they’ve all been really good. As ever, we thank Samantha Shear and the whole Kickstart crew, and we’re eagerly awaiting their next releases.