Review – Wytches: Bad Egg Halloween Special (Image Comics)

Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Scott Snyder
Art: Jock
Colours: Matt Hollingsworth
Letters: Clem Robins
Release Date: 31st October 2018

Sebastian Clay and Jackson Isbelle appear to be two normal boys living in the small town of Motts Hollow, Ohio — but things aren’t always as they seem. Seb is a member of The Irons, an ancient group of Wytch hunters and Jackson is the son of High Born Wytches. These two friends must face unimaginable horrors together, but will their friendship survive their trials?

Bad Egg was originally published as part of the IMAGE+ magazine as a standalone story, but is now being promoted by Scott Snyder as prequel to WYTCHES Volume 2 which Snyder promises we’ll see in 2019. Assuming that nothing gets in the way of scheduling, this will be my most anticipated and most prayed for book next year.

Scott Snyder (American Vampire, Severed, Court of Owls) writes possibly the scariest witches (Wytches) I’ve ever come across. These aren’t the kind of witches that stand round a cauldron on a blasted heath selling fortunes and prophecies, these are ten foot tall monstrosities that live in deep burrows under the ground that are nothing better than charnel houses. You can barter with them, as do the Highborn, but the cost is always the same, it’s always red and screaming!

Bad Egg takes what we know from the first volume and expands on the concept of The Irons and brings it to us at a level that is so much more terrifying. What makes it particularly chilling is the fact that it’s set around two young kids whose lives have already been mapped out in horror and pain and bloodshed by the people whose only job is supposed to be protect them from harm. The way Seb’s mother treats and tries to mould him is no less traumatic than what Jackson’s parents have planned, the difference being Jackson doesn’t know what’s coming.

The artwork in Wytches: Bad Egg is staggeringly beautiful and horrific in the same breath and Jock (Judge Dredd, Hellblazer, The Losers) shows just what an incredible team he and Snyder continue to be. I have no idea how the conversation went when they were discussing the design of the wytches and their burrows but I like to think it went along the lines of “I’ve just been reading 30 Days of Night, can you drawn anything that messed up?” to which Jock replied “hold my beer…”

Seriously, in my wildest, fever-soaked dreams I couldn’t have come up with the Wytches that Jock has given us here. They’re the supernatural equivalent of H.R. Giger’s ALIEN. Ten feet tall, warped abominations with both eyes on one side of their face, incredibly difficult to kill, they can’t be reasoned with, they’ve no remorse or fear. If you are pledged to them they will hunt you down and they won’t stop. Where Giger went with biomechanical themes for the dwellings of the Alien, Jock has given us a claustrophobic world where flesh and bone and branch and root are twisted together in a blood red and pitch black tapestry straight out of hell.

The art is once again perfectly complemented by Matt Hollingsworth’s colours which are just incredible. He’s taken a style I think I first saw Ben Templesmith use in the aforementioned 30 Days of Night and perfected it. Alongside Snyder’s writing and Jock’s illustrations, Hollingsworth’s colouring pulls all the stitches together to make Bad Egg a tense, terrifying addition to the world of the Wytches and those who hunt them.

As a standalone story I couldn’t possibly have wished for better than what has been delivered here. If this is truly a prequel to the next volume then I cannot wait to see what Snyder, Jock & Hollingsworth have in store for us, but I know it’s going to be epic! I’m trying to work out if I can get away with adding this to my top horror comics of 2018 as it’s a strong contender for the top spot.

Rating: 5/5.


The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek ‏

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