Mairghread Scott (words), Kelly and Nichole Matthews (art), Warren Montgomery (letters)
Kyla Vanderklugt (main cover)
Sonny Liew (10 year Boom Anniversary cover)
Haemi Jang (variant cover)
September 9, 2015
Witches continue to trend in comics, what with Archie’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Cullen Bunn’s Harrow County, Scott Snyder’s Wytches, and now I can add Mairghread Scott’s Toil & Trouble to the ever-growing list.
Toil & Trouble acts as a prequel to Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The witches in this story are the weird (or “weyward”) sisters who prophesize that Macbeth will be the next King of Scotland, though whether they are real or figments of his imagination is always debatable.
In Toil & Trouble, the three sisters—Cait, Riata, and Smertae—are “real,” though seemingly invisible to the majority of mortals, and they are not the directors of fate (one of the etymologies of “weird”), so much as fate’s hands. Smertae had recently been exiled by her sisters and has returned, but she’s not too keen on their newest orders from elusive fate.
Scott’s words evoke Shakespeare in that the syntax is stiff to our Modern English mouths. She also throws in a few turns of phrase from the play such as “hurly-burly” which means “tumult.” Clearly, Scott has done her research. However, the Shakespearean influence results in a very wordy comic that at times competes with the stunning artwork. Considering the origins of the story’s premise, it makes sense to be heavy on words, but considering the medium, I would like to see a little more reliance on the art to tell the story.
Regardless, the premise is imaginative and appealing to any bookworm. The art is gorgeous, and the three witches are just begging to be cosplayed. Toil & Trouble has a six issue run which hopefully means this story will keep its focus. I recommend giving it a shot.