Theres a lot of misconception of what it means to be a Witcher. Most everyone assumes it’s all about traveling around, hunting monsters, sleeping with random people and dealing with civilians’ garbage. Actually, now that I mention it thats exactly what it’s like to be a Witcher. Although you can’t forget about taking baths, that is probably the number one Witcher activity according to The Witcher Omnibus Volume One.
While this comic may be about Geralt of Rivia sitting in a steaming hot tub, these moments are surrounded by some very fun action adventure. Most people who will be drawn to The Witcher in comic form are probably fans of the video game but I don’t think that should stop anyone from giving this a read. Yes, you more or less start in the middle of Geralt’s story but its not hard to pick up context amongst the 4 stories that span a little over 400 pages. Really it’s only the last of the stories involving his family life that requires any and writer Paul Tobin gives us enough to understand whats going on without the reader feeling lost. In fact, I myself have not played through The Witcher (dont worry, I’ll get to it eventually) and I didn’t feel out of the loop. What this does mean is we aren’t getting the nuances of who Geralt is or really furthering his story on any deeper level but it is a fun read regardless. This makes sense to an extent because Geralt comes off devoid of emotion and is really out for one thing and that’s coin. What this omnibus showcases is the average life of a Witcher. The types of people they meet in their travels, the countless number of monsters they encounter and the danger that comes with both of those things. All of these points are what makes this comic so accessible to anyone who picks it up.
Geralt may be the focal point but the variety of monsters is the bread and butter of the Witcher. We’re talking about zombies, ghosts, ghouls, shapeshifters, fiends, elves, hags, graviers, trolls and the list goes on. Remember, this is within four stories. This omnibus ends up being a great gateway to the video game because it made me wonder what other creatures are in store for the infamous hunter.
The presentation is on point for this compilation. While the art styles might vary slightly from story to story they don’t diverge so much that any one installment stands out. Each page is well detailed with dark tones and a lot of shadowing while each issue is separated by a full page image. Really only the front cover dares to do something drastically different artistically. The end includes a sketchbook with a lot of great artwork and a short interview with writer Paul Tobin.
If you’re looking for something with more character depth or story expansion you’ll probably come away a bit disappointed, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to enjoy. The Witcher Omnibus does a great job of conveying several “side quests” you might find right from the video game and might actually encourage you to play through just to get that extra detail. It’s easy to blast through the 400 pages because each story is compelling in its own right with a large variety of monsters and creatures. The best part is we’re getting this collection just before the release of the Netflix TV show to get us amped up.