Wytches has been a suspenseful journey into fears many people share. It’s been more of a psychological thriller than an outright gore-fest and that’s just fine as we get to know these characters intimately and share their anxiety and terror. As a parent there’s no greater fear than have a child missing especially one who has gone through such traumatic experiences as Sailor has. Everything that surrounds her disappearance just adds to the suspense. Scott Snyder is tightening the screws on his readers psyche and Jock and Matt Hollingsworth are expediting your journey through a psychedelic spiral of colors and doom. We wouldn't expect anything less from this talented group of creators.
After stealing a school bus and crashing in the woods, Sailor has gone missing and her mom and dad search furiously to find her. Charlie is especially fraught with anxiety after recovering from his attack earlier but is willing to go to any length to find his daughter. Snyder cleverly begins the issue with a flashback of happier times and demonstrates what kind of relationship he shares with his family . It makes his terror feel so much worse as we get to know Charlie as a person and as a father. Even as things begin to unravel as to what’s real or imagined there’s always an uneasy undertone throughout the book that raises the tension. It’s a slow burn but one necessary to set up the next reveal, the next confrontation and perhaps a climatic end to the first arc.
Jock has never done better work than in Wytches. It seems his line work and detail has grown exponentially. This is not an easy gig considering the interior work requires a lot of background especially in the forest where the danger lies the most. It has to be expansive in some shots and smaller in others where branches, grass and bushes permeate the panel. It’s a lot of work but Jock does it with seemingly little effort and the final product is first class.
Matt Hollingsworth is a colorist probably living out some fantasies in Wytches because color is used in ways you wouldn’t expect. Increasingly, Hollingsworth is using more and more splatters of varied matted hues throughout the series but Wytches #3 has let him run loose with the reckless abandon of a madman running with a paint brush. At first the splashes of color ingrained on the page were subtle giving it an aged filtered look but now the background has become a virtual LSD trip. That’s not to say it doesn’t work. It mostly succeeds in giving the book a unique look, an otherworldly aesthetic that compliments the themes in the book. It can be transformative but sometimes the action or detail of a panel gets lost amid the flurry of a rainbow.
There comes a time in every comic book arc that the story has to put up or shut up and issue four will be that time. But issue 3 is a good time for some set-up, emotional housekeeping and character development. There may not be a lot to sink your teeth into but the ending certainly sets up issue four very well. Wytches is a sophisticated suspense thriller that finds horror in simplicity while preparing to blow your mind.