Review – The Witcher: Witch’s Lament #1
Writer: Bartosz Sztybor
Artist: Vanesa del Rey
Colourist: Jordie Bellaire
Cover Artist: Vanesa del Rey
Genre: Action/Adventure, Fantasy, Video Game
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Available: 26th May 2021
Flames rise as a witch is burned at the stake. As Geralt searches for his next job, disturbing images of the fatal persecution appear before him, bringing an ominous warning.
This mini series will take fans of the game and book series right back to this brilliant world based on Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels.
Bartosz Sztybor’s script for The Witcher: Witch’s Lament does a great job of setting the tone for the series in both the cover and the first few pages. The sombre tone is set with Geralt watching a witch he caught be burned at the stake, he keeps hearing a voice that no one else can hear. If you’ve played the Witcher games or read the book, you know Geralt is not a friend of witches or men, both of who betray him regularly. Sztybor nails Geralt’s mannerisms, from his monosyllabic hoarse voice to his reluctance to get involved.
The sex dream scene adds a distressing element to the story, with what looks like and the burnt witch carrying on as they both go up in flames, all very metaphorical.
The issue is a properly atmospheric and eerie looking comic, and those familiar with the CD Projekt artwork for the games will love the attention to recreate the dirty world and the monsters that inhabit it. Del Rey’s pencilwork is worth the cover price alone. No quarter is given as the witch burns in the first few pages and her pain and terror linger well after the page is turned.
The imagery of dirty and bland humans flips when Geralt engages with a supernatural threat, such as the bog hags (above), giving a good motif. The nudity and sex are handled without gratuitous over titillation and does, unfortunately, sit with the tone of the books and games.
The character voice and main plot thread here works well and the chilling imagery sets the mini-series up to a high standard I hope it keeps. The ending pages felt a little rushed and jarring but I hope that the next issue fixes that. For fans of The Witcher awaiting the next series from Netflix grab this issue before it sells out. Four-star for writing and five for artwork.
Our friends at Dark Horse Comics have provided BGCP with a free preview copy and allowed you a glimpse of the first few pages below.
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