Witches, Vampires, and Motorbikes, Oh My! (Witchblood #1 Review)
Witchblood #1 Comic Review
Writer: Matthew Erman
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Artist: Lisa Sterle
Colorist: Gab Contreras
Cover: Sterle & Contreras
Variant Cover Artists: Yoshi Yoshitani, Bob Larkin,
“You’ll Have to Go Sideways”
Witches, Vampires, motorcycles, and the great wild west; not usually all found together but intricately woven to bring a new ride from Vault Comics in the form of “Witchblood”. “Witchblood” follows Yonna, an immortal witch, and her crow Bhu as she travels the American West. The story opens with Yonna and Bhu sharing a meal next o Yonna’s bike with Yonna commenting on how bad their meal is. Yonna decides to take a trip into a local town (Carlos, Texas) to gather food and funds for her trip.
On her way to the town, Yonna is driven off the road by an individual shouting Spanish at her and she wrecks, causing damage to her bike. After vowing revenge on the driver, Yonna picks up her bike and continues on her way to the town. After striking up a deal with the local mechanic, Yonna sees the car that ran her off the road at a nearby diner and goes in to settle the score. After entering the diner, Yonna gives a speech and a fight breaks out. The reader gets a first-hand look at Yonna’s magic in action before things go very south for Yonna and Carlos, Texas when the vampires arrive.
“You’ll Have to Go Sideways” is an interesting take on multiple older genres. Vampire Cowboys and Witches on motorcycles has just enough intrigue to pull even the most cautious of readers. “Witchblood” opens rather casually for what its summary discloses, though the opening gives us an insight into the main protagonist, Yonna. Yonna’s cool demeanor with flashes of hot-headedness is apparent in the first few pages, going from feeding her crow food to singing Mannequin Pussy’s “Patience” to swearing revenge in just a few panels. Yonna’s wit and commentary make her an exceptional and entertaining character to read.
The story itself is pretty straightforward and while it does not stray from the path one would expect from the type of story the summary promises, there are enough sudden turns and tumultuous moments even in the first issue for readers to get hooked into. By the end of the issue, we meet our antagonists and realize even our protagonist is not fully guilt-free. The main issue I have with this story is that there’s nothing incredibly original and unique to this series so far besides how well it integrates these previously used elements. The characters and art are interesting enough to keep me coming back to see if it picks up in the next issue, but I can see how some may not feel that pull to return.
Erman’s writing stands out most in his character interactions. The monologues and thoughts expressed by characters to themselves help build on the setting and anticipation but the writing shines the most when Yonna interacts with other characters. Her personality and style clashing with those around her are some of the more entertaining aspects of the story as well as compellingly driving the narrative. Erman’s writing gives each character life through their dialogue and expression.
Lisa Sterle follows up this dialogue with an eye-catching, neon world within the panels of “Witchblood”. With color popping off the pages even in the issue’s darkest moments, the art makes this issue an even more fun read. The paneling is crisp and the visuals of the story progress at such a solid pace, the reader doesn’t feel rushed and feels invited to enjoy the scenery much like one would on a road trip. Sterle’s character design breathes life into the already expressive characters of “Witchblood” and individuality seems key. Even the vampires in the motorcycle gang all seem to have their personalities reflected by their clothing options. Yonna herself appears to be a combination of multiple influences to the point that she is a unique trend.
Summary Witchblood #1 is a high-energy, vibrant-colored ride through the wild west. The issue is a fun read mostly in part to the vibrant characters and visuals. While there are some missing hooks for readers, the series has the tools to improve. Between Erman’s writing and Sterle’s art, readers who wish to enjoy a road trip with vampires and witches are in for a treat. Entertaining with room to improve would accurately describe this first issue, and I can’t wait to see more of Yonna.