18 December 2013

Faster than a DC Bullet: The Houses of Mystery and Secrets, Part VIII: The Witching Hour

Comic hardcover, n.pag.
Published 2000 (contents: 1999-2000)
Borrowed from the library
Read November 2013
The Witching Hour

Storytellers: Chris Bachalo and Jeph Loeb
Inker: Art Thibert
Colorist: Grant Goleash
Letterer: Richard Starkings

With The Witching Hour, I jump from the classic DC horror titles of the 1970s to their modern revivals. Beyond the presence of the title and some witches, this bears no relation to the classic The Witching Hour!; Mildred, Mordred, and Cynthia do not put in an appearance. This is a different group of witches, with a different modus operandi, migrating through the world to both sate their own desires and help those in need of it.

It's a complex tale, with flashbacks nestled within flashbacks, out-of-order storytelling, and seemingly unconnected plots. In a way, it feels like what James Robinson's WitchCraft aspired to be and failed at-- a magical tale of mystery and revenge, of the immortal entering mortal affairs. The dialogue is great, full of obscurities and digressions, rarely on point, mysterious in the way that people both real and unreal often are.

What makes it all worth it is Chris Bachalo's amazing art; there's some gorgeous stuff here, and I'm not just talking about how he draws women. I don't know who's responsible for the use of dots in key scenes, but it really works. Add to that Grant Goleash's judicious use of color, and you have a visual feast. It would be easy to get lost in the world of The Witching Hour, but Bachalo keeps you anchored all the way through. In all honesty, this book has very little to do with the classic Witching Hour! and nothing to do with The Sandman, but my time spent decoding it was well spent indeed.

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