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When horror series Wytches began with a creepy and promising issue, it raised up a number of questions, like all good horror stories should. In Wytches #2, we get a few answers but even more questions. This issue extends and develops the eerie vibe that writer Scott Snyder and artist Jock developed in the initial issue.
Wytches #1 ended with a cliffhanger when teenage girl Sailor Rooks believes she sees one of the “wytch” creatures in a tree outside her bedroom window. In a somewhat unusual move, Wytches #2 does not pick from that moment and doesn’t actually show much of what happened in the aftermath. Instead, we see Sailor with a bandage on her neck and hear from her father that they don’t know what attacked Sailor. Despite the underwhelming follow up to that particular moment, Wytches #2 does make the confrontation important.
One of the things that I found most interesting about Wytches #2 was how it developed each member of the Rooks family separately. Sailor is back in school, at swim practice, and has a hallucination that the scratch in her neck is actually an egg shape (on the cover it looks like an eyeball) that begins to grow. The body horror is so visceral in this issue it would make David Cronenberg proud. Jock really delivers during these moments, making Sailor’s problems terrifying yet oddly beautiful with its watercolor-style look (some of this may be credited to colorist Matt Hollingsworth).
Readers find out a lot more about Sailor’s mother, Lucy, in this issue as well. In the first issue, we saw that she was in a wheelchair and there were references to her accident. Now, we get some details as she initially refers to hitting a deer. Later we see flashbacks of the accident with something much scarier in the road — a thing that resembles the wytches that Sailor has witnessed. Since she is one of the three members of the family, and we assume a major character, I like that Lucy’s backstory is starting to get explained.
Snyder and Jock end the issue on a major twist – the idea that Sailor may not be Charlie and Lucy’s daughter. This would seem to be directly linked to the notion of being “claimed.” So far, the characters have some engaging elements about them, but I think they can be developed further. Charlie, in particular, seems to have layers that have only been touched.
Jock’s value to this series is especially apparent on Wytches #2. While “feel” is a huge part of effective horror, stories with supernatural/horror elements that are also visual (i.e. not novels) much have very strong visuals. Just think of all of the horror movies that were ruined by a ridiculous or clumsily-handled monsters. Jock really balances the bizarre supernatural elements of the issues with a stylized, realistic look. This is one of those series where the art is definitely as important as the writing.
Wytches #2 builds on the unsettling vibe of the first issue. While we don’t learn too much more about the wytches, we do learn more about the Rooks family, which is just as important. I think Snyder and Jock have to continue building the characterization of those three while also starting to establish what is really happening out in the woods.