The Witching Hour #1

CoverOct 2013 | Vertigo

A collection of nine horror stories penned by various creators.

Since the book contained nine stories, I thought I’d do each of them individually rather than have some crazy long credits list and discombobulated babbles of my reactions.

Daniel

Story & Art: Steve Beach
Colour: John Kalisz
Letters: Taylor Esposito

After saving three sisters from a bully, Charles is asked to a seance held by the girls he saved.

This was an interesting tale, but the ending didn’t really jive with me. I don’t expect horror to have happy endings and in most cases I don’t like it when they do. There are some exceptions to this, and that’s usually when they break stereotypes and formulaic plots and give me characters I can actually give two cents about. It just-I dunno. I just didn’t feel it. I expected things to get worse since they brought his preference into play, but it just didn’t. The seance happened and we just mellowed out into an ending.

Birdie

Writing: Lauren Beukes
Art: Gerhard Human
Colour: Giulia Brusco
Letters: Steve Wands

Heksie, aka Birdie, is a strange girl with a gift. Seagulls scavenge items and bring them to her for her to pass on to people as if they were letters, but they are reminders for people, of past times and not all of them are pleasant.

Despite my not liking the previous story, this one really hit the mark and uplifted me giving me hope that I wouldn’t completely hate this book. It went where I wanted it to and did things I wanted it to and at the end it left me feeling warmth. I really enjoyed it. I liked how it ended.

First To Mars

Writing: Brett Lewis
Artist: Cliff Chiang
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher

A mars colony funded by reality television goes bust and the members must survive on their own and battle the monsters they brought with them.

Well, these stories are just getting better and better. This one is even better than the last. It had me thinking about that Colonize Mars project that was taking applications not too long ago. Truthfully, I seriously considered applying for the one-way trip, but something in my gut knew it would be a bad idea, especially if I were accepted. This story pretty much brings several of the worries I had to life which made it hit a little deeper. It is a story that will linger with me for awhile.

This Witch’s Work

Art & Writing: Annie Mok & Emilie Carroll
Letters: John Workman

And I hit another sinker. This one didn’t do much for me and not because of the content matter. It just left me confused. I wasn’t sure if the newsradio story about Thomas, a man who killed the school principal which abused him, were some kind of flashback for Rheina giving some reason behind him changing genders, or reasons for abuse which seemed to be from his mother in his dreams. Could it more have been just similar situation, abuse from a person of trust at a young age which zhe suffers in silence? I lean more towards it just being a similar story, but Rheina didn’t chose a violent outcome, it seems. That’s what the ending has me lean to. Bleh.

Legs

Writing: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art: Ming Doyle
Colour: Jordie Bellaire
Letters: Sal Cipriano

A girl once told she must cover her ears while she sleeps lest a spider lay eggs in her ear or burrow to her brain to spin web around it, grows up to study spiders and we see just what effect her mother’s story had on her.

Well, this was a nice surprise. I didn’t expect it to be what it turned out to be. It wasn’t terrible, but it also didn’t do much for me. Birdie and First to Mars still stand out as the shining gems of this book, but there’s still more stories to go. I wish I would have seen more, let the story play out a little bit longer before reaching the ending it did. It’s just missing a solid punch that I think a few more panels could have nailed it.

Fellow Travelers

Writing: Matthew Sturges
Art: Shawn McManus
Colour: Lee Loughridge
Letters: Carlos M. Mangual

The present world is magical one, but Norma Jean wishes things to be different. Being pursued in a car, Arthur writes the play that will change the world.

Weird. Mildly amusing. Mostly weird. I just don’t have anything more to say about this one besides that.

Little Witch

PPL: Ales Kot | Morgan Jeska | Sloane Leong | Travis Lanham | Gregory Lockard

A little girl born must masquerade as a boy in order to keep honour for her family.

Ah! A good story again! It had me feeling anxious mid-way through and I felt warm relief when i got to the end. I half-expected it to go weirded than what it had, but I’m glad it didn’t.

The Dead Boy Detectives in Run Ragged Part Three: Gone to the Dogs.

Writing: Toby Litt
Colours: Lee Loughridge
Layouts: Mark Buckingham
Finishes: Victor Santos
Letters: Todd Klein

The Dead Boy Detectives free a class of children from their abusive teacher and something about a cat.

The Dead Boy Detectives are a Neil Gaiman creation and his is part three of something I’ve not read previous parts of. Having not read the previous parts, I had no idea what exactly was going on and didn’t enjoy it much. In December it gets a book of its own. I think I’ll pass.

Rise

Writing: Mariah Huehner
Art: Tula Lotay
Colour: Tula Lotay
Letters: Dezi Sienty

A girl travels to the UK to do soemthign with her life and, well, certainly does.

We close this book with a great story with an amusing, though dark, ending and I would’ve liked to have seen more of our two girls and what happens next. Ah, well.

All in all, I’m left feeling pretty satisfied for picking this up. The stories I liked out of this outnumbered those which I hadn’t so it’s a good day. If this wasn’t a one-off, I’ll add it to my pull list. I’d like a book like this to read to offset the ongoings.

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