DC Vertigo’s Hex Wives has been playing a game of cat and mouse since its debut. The men of the book are blatantly taking advantage of their powerful wives. For their part, the women really do not seem to mind and even seem to revel in being obedient. With each issue however, the balance of power seems to be on the verge of shifting, as the women of the neighborhood start to learn they are more than just ordinary housewives.
In the last issue of Hex Wives, readers were given a glimpse of how advanced the plot to keep the witches of the neighborhood under control went. While it is still a mystery how the men are able to so easily control their powerful wives, it is clear that it is more than just sorcery. Hex Wives did a great job of incorporating modern technology into its narrative.
This continues in Hex Wives #4. Not only do the men have advanced technology on hand, they are also using magic and medicine to keep their wives from misbehaving. The issue lets the reader know that this is not just a small scheme among a few men. Keeping the coven of witches powerless is a far reaching conspiracy. In a story that was already filled with paranoia, this added insight introduces even more.
Along with increasing the sense of paranoia in the comic, writer Ben Blacker also does a great job of showing the power struggle between the sexes. What is great about issue #4 is that the subtle changes seen in previous issues are becoming more obvious. Before, readers would be yelling at Izzy to realize that something is wrong. Now, each scene is filled with added tension. Every encounter may be the one where someone finally confronts their husband.
There are also weaknesses being shown in the men of Hex Wives. Before, they would tell their eager wives what to do. It was disgusting to watch, especially since readers are aware of the women’s power. Now, the husbands are being too dismissive of their wives. They make crude comments about them and see them as little more than objects. This may have been the case before, but since the women are slowly coming around to the fact that something is wrong, it feels more dangerous for the wives to be underestimated.
Mirka Andolfo’s art is stunning in the issue. The issue requires a lot of detail since there are lots of emotions in the book. From the differing concerns of Izzy and Aaron to Mabel’s anger, Andolfo does a great job of letting readers know what the characters are going through. The book is also cinematic at times thanks to its great panel placement.
The highlight of the Hex Wives #4 comes as the wives seem to be discovering their true power. Andolfo draws these moments beautifully. Damina’s dress looks beautiful and is appropriate for the change she is going through. The closing scenes are excellently drawn with the last page of the issue possibly being the best drawn of the series so far.
The colors of Marissa Louise do a wonderful job of bringing Andolfo’s pages to life. As the book comes to its conclusion and some of the wives start to learn more, Louise brings more purple, pink, and black to the pages. It makes the book looks gorgeous and manages to change the tone of what is happening. Blacker, Andolfo, and Lousie do a great job of conveying the moments.
Hex Wives #4 is another excellent issue in the series. Blacker has taken readers on a great ride that not only engages, but involves. The art and color add to the great story. The tale has been perfectly paced and it will be great to see where Hex Wives goes next.