Review: Toil & Trouble #1

Toil & Trouble by Mairghead Scott, variant cover by Sonny Liew, Archaia, 2015

1460447_fulToil & Trouble #1

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 sistersCait, Riata, and Smertaeare “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.

Toil & Trouble by Mairghead Scott, variant cover by Kyla Vanderklugt, Archaia, 2015
Toil & Trouble #1 variant cover by Kyla Vanderklugt. See what I mean about cosplaying?

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.

For another look at Mairghread Scott’s work, check out our review of her excellent prequel to Dynamite’s Swords of Sorrow event and our Transformers: Windblade interview.

Ginnis Tonik

Ginnis Tonik

Smashing the patriarchy with glitter, pink lipstick, and cowboy boots. You can follow her on Instagram @ginnistonik

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