By Paul Tobin, Joe Querio & Carlos Badilla
First off, it should be noted that I have absolutely no previous knowledge of the Witcher franchise on which this miniseries is based. In fact, I had never even heard of Witcher before this book from Dark Horse was announced. With that being said, this was a great first issue that was very enjoyable in every respect. The folks behind Witcher apparently wanted this comic book to have a feel similar to something from the Mignolaverse (that’s Hellboy universe, noobs!). Whether or not this was the case, it seems like it has been accomplished very well while still having its own feel to it.
Paul Tobin has been writing up a storm lately on a wide variety of titles including Colder, a personal favorite. Witcher #1 jumped right into the story, and this was one of those first installments that didn’t necessarily feel like a first issue. A general sense of the story and the characters was masterfully dispensed along the way through conversation and action. This made the story much more intriguing while still providing more than enough information to easily follow. The strange monsters that appear sporadically throughout the book were very interesting, and there is some heavy mythos being developed in the background of issue #1. It will be great to see what else is in store for future installments!
There was also something very sincere and enjoyable about the characters, particularly when Geralt and Jakob sit down for a meal together and discuss the past. There were some very creepy moments too which were quite effective. Overall, the story feels like a perfect blend of horror and fantasy that really hit all the right notes. There were even a few humorous moments that were terrific. Witcher really does feel like it could’ve come from the world of Hellboy with its unique mix of mythologies and the supernatural. However, this story still retains a distinct sensibility that is both classic and refreshing.
The artwork is absolutely perfect for the tone and style of the story. Joe Querio’s illustrations are well-detailed and full of interesting designs. In particular, the strange creatures that crop up throughout the book look great, and the character faces are very expressive. The actual flow of the story really seems to be enhanced by the visuals, especially during the darker scenes within the Black Forest that really pull the reader into each panel. The colors by Carlos Badilla are also quite spectacular and well-suited to the tone of the story throughout Witcher #1. Suitably darker overall tones are employed for most of the book without feeling drab or lacking in any respect. Everything looks solid and subtly vibrant, and there were also a lot of terrific lighting effects used throughout the book.
This first installment of Witcher was a fantastic read, even for somebody who has no familiarity with the franchise, and especially if you’re also a fan of the Mignolaverse. The strange and unique mythology slowly introduced was very intriguing to say the least and the story was just a lot of fun. It can be difficult to properly balance dark and fun, but this is accomplished with great precision in issue #1. This was a great book in terms of both story and artwork that everybody should check out.