In a sense, most stories involving witches are about the eternal struggle between the sexes. After all, many of these tales are about powerful women threatening the patriarchal status quo. Hex Wives continues this theme of male versus female in a much more frightening and uncomfortable way.
Hex Wives #3 continues right where last issue’s cliffhanger left off. The issue’s main problem quickly comes up. The conflict is dealt with rather quickly in anticlimactic fashion. However, this does not kill off interest in the story. As a matter of fact, the opposite happens. As the issue continues, things get more interesting. It is an odd contradiction of a resolution that is lacking yet somehow does not impact the long term storytelling.
This happens a few more times in Hex Wives. For example, there is a big reveal as to what Aaron and his group are doing with the captive wives. On one hand, it initially takes away from the story. Since its debut, Hex Wives has been about the battle between witches and those that hunt them. The direction the plot seems to be going in almost seems to go against this centuries long struggle.
On the other hand, it makes complete sense. Over time, hunters have always used advancing technology and tools to capture their prey. The new direction also opens several interesting questions. How deep does this conspiracy run and who is funding it? There were already hints this was a huge operation with access to high level tools. It is interesting to see that it may be much grander than initially thought.
Hex Wives continues to do a great job of creating an unsettling tone. After the resolution to the previous issue’s revelation, things seem to be back to normal. The difference is Aaron really seems to have turned up the demeaning of Izzy. Whereas before, it was a simple comment here or small action, in issue #3 he straight insults his wife while making her clean up after him. This is especially sad to watch after seeing how quick he is to attack his wife.
Mirka Andolfo’s work this issue is her best so far in this young series. The opening page is a fantastic close up of Izzy’s face. In that one panel, readers see fear and confusion that sets the tone for the entire issue. Andolfo also does a great job of mirroring a scene from a previous issue in which a series of panels shows Izzy getting ready for the day. This page does a great job of showing the repetition on her life while also adding the uncomfortable feeling the series has.
Where Andolfo’s work really stands out is in the finer details. Aaron’s eyes always have an evil glint to them, no matter the look on the rest of his face. The rooms in the houses look like something out of a 1950s American sitcom. Even the mess made by Aaron is done in a way that obviously shows his ineptitude while also implying that it may have been intentional. Andolfo’s usual beautiful work is the highlight of the third issue of Hex Wives.
Hex Wives #3 is an odd issue. Artistically, it’s the best looking book in the series so far — Andolfo really seems to have a feel for the story and its characters. The story remains as interesting as ever, but there are some reveals that have to be used very carefully in order not to undermine the heart of the series.