Witchblood by Vault Comics is a fantasy/horror series centered around Yonna, a witch, whose coven is being hunted by the Hound of Love, a bloodthirsty vampire biker gang looking for the source of all magic: Witchblood. The series features writer Matthew Erman, artist Lisa Sterle, colorist Gab Contreras, and designer Tim Daniel.
One of my favorite parts about Witchblood is the art style. I mentioned this series is technically horror and fantasy, but the color explosion on each page is so bright and inviting. Somehow it makes these characters even more wild than they already are as witches and vampires. Witchblood is also unique in how they pull the reader in. A couple pages into each issue, you will find a suggestion to put on a song while enjoying the rest of the issue. I feel like this suggestion makes the world that much more immersive, almost like you’re watching a movie as the pages flip by.
My other favorite piece of the Witchblood world is the dialogue, which tends to be very tongue in cheek. Even with the world at stake, you can always laugh a bit at these characters. They are never afraid to say what’s on their minds. Another important factor to consider is the lettering in the comic book. Looking back through the ten issues of Witchblood, I realized just how easy it was to follow the dialogue on each page. There is also overarching dialogue that isn’t spoken out loud, and all of these pieces fit seamlessly onto the pages of Witchblood. Jim Campbell did a great job allowing the reader to follow along with this colorful world.
Before we get into some spoilers, the question on everyone’s mind: would we recommend reading Witchblood? Yes, absolutely. I will say that the first few issues are a bit slower while they set up the world and each of the characters. The overall plot line isn’t as clear until you get to issues 4 and 5. Now that issues 1-10 are all available, being able to read through the entire volume will be a joy as the momentum really picks up in the second half of the series. I appreciate that they were able to wrap up the story but also leave it open for more.
Now, let’s get into some of the details of Witchblood. I mentioned that the first few issues were a lot of setting up the story. We had to meet all of the characters that we would take through to the end. Yonna is a witch who is battling the Hounds of Love, the vampire biker gang after Witchblood. Yonna is worried that the vampires will find Esme. Esme is revealed to be an alien, and all witches were mortal before encountering her. If the vampires get to her, there’s no telling what could happen.
Paxton is the leader of the Hounds of Love, and power is really the only motivator he has. His older brother Sampson wants to protect his brother at all costs. Monkberry was in the right place at the right time; Paxton decided to spare his life and turn him into a vampire rather than slaughtering him with the rest of the prison where he was. Hunger Child is the final piece of the Hounds of Love, a vampire who happened upon Paxton and crew and was luckily taken in. Everything starts to change when Paxton finds Jupiter. Jupiter is a witch who wants to lead Paxton to Esme.
Yonna teams up with some unlikely characters in her battle against Paxton and his crew. She meets Atlacoya and Texas Red, both human hex hunters, who aren’t her biggest fans. Paradisia Bath rounds out Yonna’s crew, and her entrance is even more spectacular than Red’s as she rides in on the back of a giant bat. In the first 5 issues, Yonna is butting heads with all of these characters, until they team up to stop Paxton. Paxton really becomes a problem in issue 6 when he finds his way to Esme. By now, we’ve learned that Esme is an alien, so when Paxton drinks her blood, it doesn’t affect him in the same way as Witchblood. Paxton realizes that he has drunk the blood of a god.
If power is what Paxton wanted, that’s exactly what he got. Now that Paxton is more powerful than they imagined, Yonna and the others run. They need time to regroup. Meanwhile, Paxton wants to feed all of his vampire brethren and turns water into blood. The world is now raining blood. Later, when Paxton confronts his brother about the world he has created, he realizes that the humans probably need water to survive. So Paxton’s solution is to turn all of the humans into vampires, so the blood rain will satiate them all. Sampson thinks his brother is a genius, but hopefully our unlikely heroes of sorts have a plan.
Yonna is ready to take down Paxton, but she needs to recruit the enemy: vampires. Monkberry and Hunger Child join the battle against Paxton. I love that they all have to work together to take down Paxton, and Atlacoya, the remaining human, is the one to kill Paxton in the end. Unfortunately, she sacrifices herself in the process, and surprisingly Yonna is the most upset. With this story wrapped up, is there more for Witchblood? Time will tell, but they did leave room to keep exploring this world. The tree that grew from the magnum opus is producing a fruit full of witchblood, which they can’t let fall into the wrong hands. Plus, Yonna isn’t happy about Atla sacrificing herself and may be bringing her back from the dead.
There’s so much nuance in this series that can’t all be summed up here. I highlighted some of the main points, but these ten issues are packed with backstory and struggles with all of our characters. I highly recommend diving into Witchblood. The characters are rich, and even though they are fantastical, each of them have their flaws. Their journey is not a perfect one, but they come together at the end for the common good of their world. I, for one, hope that we have not seen the last of Witchblood.