01 October 2012

Faster than a DC Bullet: The Sandman Spin-Offs, Part XIX: Thessaly: Witch for Hire

Comic trade paperback, 95 pages
Published 2005 (contents: 2005)
Borrowed from the library
Read September 2012
The Sandman Presents: Thessaly: Witch for Hire

Written by Bill Willingham
Illustrated by Sean McManus
Colored by Pamela Rambo
Lettered by Nick J. Napolitano, Rob Leigh, Phil Balsman

Thessaly: Witch for Hire is a sequel to Willigham's own "The Thessaliad," a story in The Sandman Presents: Taller Tales. Looking back, I found that story okay: some great ideas but "the characterization was a little too straightforward" is what I wrote at the time. Well, Witch for Hire is a completely disappointing story. The plot is basically a straight line: Thessaly finds out she's going to die, Thessaly follows a number of fruitless lines to solve the problem, Thessaly wins anyway. Sure, Willigham makes an ironic joke about it by ending the third chapter with "NEXT: No More Talking Heads. It's All Monsters From Here On Out," but it's not the lack of monsters that's the problem, it's the lack of impactful incident. The last chapter is no better for having a giant flaming demon stomping through it.

Thessaly was cool in A Game of You because she seemed like a shy, withdrawn, plain girl, but she was actually a completely ruthless murderer (she pulls the skin off a guy's skull, hangs it on the wall with a nail, and reanimates it to get the information she needs!), and Willingham and McManus completely fail to get that. Their Thessaly is pushed around, unassertive, and spends all her time showing off her pouting lips, big butt, and midriff. Can you picture this woman having a relationship with Dream himself? I sure can't.

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