REVIEW: Along for the Ride in Witchblood #2

The cover to Witchblood #2, showing Yonna, a teal-haired witch, surrounded by roses.

I’m a sucker for a good scene of death and destruction over a piece of music. I generally don’t mean evil-sounding or soupy instrumentals — I mean the juxtaposition of a violent scene with the “wrong” music: the “Don’t Stop Me Now” zombie slaughter in Shaun of the Dead, or the “Father Figure” scene in Atomic Blonde.

Witchblood #2

Jim Campbell (Letters), Gab Contreras (Colors), Matthew Erman (Writer), Lisa Sterle (Artist)
Vault Comics
April 28, 2021

The cover to Witchblood #2, featuring Yonna, a teal-haired young woman, sitting atop a motorcycle named "Ramblin' Rose." She holds a crow in one hand, and roses grow all around the motorcycle.

Witchblood #2 isn’t built on such a scene, but it does include one of the best ones in recent memory. I won’t spoil it, but the incongruity of the music choice—an excellent music choice, if you ask me—alongside the events happening in the background is a perfect example of what makes this comic so special. It’s loud and brash and high-energy, the kind of thing that makes readers yearn to see what will come next.

But before we get there, the issue opens with a new character, this time a woman living in a trailer with an abundance of plants, some of which talk. Thankfully, this issue’s wardrobe envy is somewhat diminished by the fact that her clothes already bear some resemblance to my own.

Two panels from Witchblood #2. In the first, a character prunes a mandrake-like plant, which makes incomprehensible noises while the pruner sighs. In the second, the pruner, a woman with red hair, says, "You're such a baby cucumber. You're going to be fine."

Yonna arrives, collapsing unceremoniously on her doorstep after addressing her as “Liana of the soul.” That’s all we get for a bit, as we then pay a visit to our favorite biker vampire gang, the Hounds of Love.

It’s here that the incredible scene of destruction I mentioned comes into play. The Hounds of Love, impeccably dressed as always, roll into a small bar like one you’d find anywhere. After proving that vampires can only drink blood in the most disgusting way possible, Paxton, the Hounds of Love’s leader, proclaims that it’s time for his speech, and his speech deserves the perfect background musing. The perfect music, it turns out, was such a delightful, nostalgic, and idiosyncratic choice that I literally clapped my hands over my face when I recognized it and immediately put it on so I could listen to it while the issue continued.

It’s this level of style that makes this series so much fun to read. There’s some plot development, but Witchblood isn’t interested in spoon-feeding the larger story to us; it drops tantalizing hints and bits of worldbuilding that draw us in further, accompanied by the perfect flair and bright, bombastic attitude. Instead of following Yonna from beginning to end, it feels more like we hitch a ride alongside her. This approach could be frustrating to some readers, but I find it exhilarating; Lisa Sterle’s artwork alongside Gab Contreras’ colors infuse the story with an energy that feels breathlessly cool.

If you asked me what Witchblood was about, I would say that it’s about a witch named Yonna on a journey to meet someone from her past. But that captures none of the thrills, none of the sheer joy of reading something so wild and indulgent. I don’t mean indulgent in the “guilty pleasure” sense—I mean it as a compliment, because Witchblood sweeps you off your feet with its style and panache, carrying you along on a whirlwind of excitement until you’re deposited on the last page with your hair windswept and fresh glitter on your cheeks.

Four panels from Witchblood #2. In the first, Paxton says, "Okay. Enough foolin." In the second and third, he taps his toe while counting "One" and "Two." In the third, he snaps his fingers and says, "Three. Let's dance!"

I’m content to not know exactly how each issue is related, nor where the story started or where it’s going to end, because the journey there is nonstop entertainment. I have faith in this team as storytellers—though the story in Long Lost was markedly different than the one told here, it also had a dreamy story somewhat removed from reality. This worked in its favor, as I expect the breakneck pace and candy-colored style will work for Witchblood, which feels more like an exquisitely themed thrill ride next to Long Lost‘s quiet, foggy small-town horror. I don’t need the story handed to me in explicit terms to enjoy it; I am content to simply enjoy the journey for where it’s going.

Witchblood #2 continues the first issue’s gripping, stylish thrills, teasing us with what’s to come while giving us just enough to keep us satisfied. It’s an absolute blast to read, and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.

Melissa Brinks

Melissa Brinks

Melissa Brinks is a freelance writer and co-creator of the Fake Geek Girls podcast. She has an affinity for cats, cooking, gardening, and investing copious hours of her life in fictional worlds of all kinds.
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