A while ago at Broken Frontier I reviewed the first volume of Witchy, a tale set in a fantasy world where hair length and magical power go hand in hand. Now I’m taking a look at volume two of the printed version of Ariel Slamet Ries’ webcomic. The story starts with a little recap of all that has happened so far – giving a nice succinct summary if, like me, you’re forgetful, or if you didn’t manage to pick up the first volume.
As I mentioned in my previous review, the theme of trust is a central part of Witchy, and its importance continues in this volume. Protagonist Nyneve meets new and old friends and throughout you see these characters assessing each other to ascertain whether they are trustworthy or not. This mostly creates an atmosphere where characters dance around each other or have insightful conversation, fashioning some sense of depth within each interaction.
In this second volume we learn a little about other characters’ pasts and also what Nyneve’s school friends are doing now, as well as the introduction of new characters. Getting to widen our knowledge of this world raises even more unanswered questions, ensuring the reader is immersed in this world.
Nyneve meets with her old school friends and embarks on a journey to meet broom-maker Kaveh who becomes a teacher figure to her. I appreciate the complexity of characters and their outlooks within the story; everyone has some nuance, going beyond just readers’ initial impressions. There is a big focus on personal growth, and learning in a way that takes what others know but is also your own.
Ariel Slamet Ries’ character expressions remain as full of life as ever, bringing both humour and emotional resonance to each scene and each panel. Every character’s laugh exhibits unadulterated joy, whilst each worry and concern leaps out of the page. This allows the reader to connect with each emotional beat of the story.
The linework and colour within this volume have the same high standard of the previous volume. The use of backgrounds throughout Nyneve’s journey are particularly beautiful, giving a real sense of space and depth to each new location. The lighting in night scenes is gorgeous. Impact panels are also used within certain scenes making the action more visceral. The use of this to go along with atmospheric beats of the story makes for an enticing reading experience.
In conclusion, Witchy is an entirely unique fantasy story taking engaging storytelling and artistic choices to make something fresh within the genre. I’m excited to keep reading the story and uncovering more about that world and its characters, in such a beautiful way.
Ariel Slamet Ries (W/A) • Oni Press, $14.99
Review by Holly Raidl