A nontraditional witch story.
Tricks, treats, ghouls, and goblins are just a few of the things Halloween is known for. And what would the October celebration be without witches? Hex Wives from DC Vertigo is a non-traditional witch story that goes further than your normal tale about women riding broomsticks.
Hex Wives is the story of Isadora and her lover, Nadiya. Isadora is a powerful witch that leads a coven of other witches that are seem to be immortal. Over the centuries, the coven – especially Isadora – have been hunted by a group of witch hunters. The Gabriel family have long been members of the group and have constantly died at the hands of Isadora and her coven. The latest son in the line, Aaron, has a never-before-tried plan that may finally turn the tide.
Hex Wives is filled with witches, magic, and violence, yet the comic is never scary; at least not in the way most associate with witches. Instead, the book is filled with a sense of despair and creepiness. The first half of the book deals with the misadventures of Isadora and Nadiya over the course of many centuries. The two are seen violently dealing with the men who are after them.
What makes Hex Wives so disturbing and engaging is the reader never knows why the women are being chased. It may simply be due to the fact they are witches. Or it may be because of some evil deed the two have committed. The book never lets on. It is clear that the men are in the wrong and then the witches are seen almost gleefully murdering others. The reader is constantly kept off guard and it is very engaging.
Just when it seems like Isadora’s coven may easily handle any problems thrown their way, the story veers in a new direction. The coven is living a picture perfect life of domestic bliss. The caveat is they seem to have no knowledge of the previous lives or their true powers.
This half of the book is incredibly eerie since readers know the past between the coven and Gabriel and his group. The women are being held as willing prisoners and there are clues that Isadora knows that something is not completely right. However, since we know the situation is wrong, it adds to the overall uneasiness of the story. What happened and how?
Along with the general eeriness of Hex Wives, there is also a sense of sadness and a good sense of humor. The first half of the book is incredibly violent but through Gabriel’s narration there is still plenty of humor. It is funny to hear modern curse words describe witches in Salem.
Mirka Andolfo’s art is perfect for the story. From the opening panel to the frightening final page, Andolfo captures every emotion in the books This is incredibly difficult in any story filled with so many differing emotions but Andolfo does so easily. The art really stands out in the second half of the book. The Italian artist’s depiction of middle class suburban American is slightly askew and adds to the unnatural beauty of the book.
Hex Wives is an outstanding book. This is not just your typical scary witch story. Along with magic and action, the comic is filled with a sense of danger and sadness that is unexpected and welcoming. Hex Wives is another great addition to the Vertigo imprint.