“And I’m ashamed of running away
From nothing real
I just can’t deal with this
But I’m still afraid to be there”
-”Hounds of Love” by Kate Bush
Witchblood has, in four issues, hooked me into their universe more than most Big Two comics can do in entire trades. I don’t know how this happened or where it came from but believe me when I say, you have no idea what to expect from this book. I went in thinking one thing, started reading, and still felt similarly, but with some added context. As the book went on I was still feeling relatively on the same track, with some slight variances.
Issue four came into my inbox and just completely turned every expectation or theory I had to dust. Much like the Major Arcana in tarot (of which there are plenty of visual references throughout this book’s run thus far), Yonna was a lone figure starting out on a wild and often arduous journey of growth and acceptance. To me, Yonna came off much like The Fool and while the comparison is obviously not 1:1, I genuinely thought this is how it would play out and boy was I ever wrong. I am sincerely at a loss for how exactly to discuss this issue because there’s just so much that happens. New characters, swift twists and turns to keep the reader guessing, and an absolutely massive reveal that will change the trajectory of this book entirely. I truly cannot wait to see where things go from here.
The first three issues of Witchblood have ramped up each month and, as any series does in the beginning, introduced us to Yonna and the world she lives in. One of the things I have found the strongest is the fact that Yonna’s world is not unlike our own. By grounding it to reality in small ways, I always found it much easier to warm to the story and characters. I also felt like it helped the readers gain easy footing and feel comfortable, but remain inquisitive. I’ll admit that the first issue or two felt a bit guarded in its lore reveals and world-building. Looking back on it now after having read issue four, that guardedness was very intentional. Without feeling a bit left out of the bigger picture, I don’t think this major plot twist would have worked nearly as well. It takes a lot to completely take me by surprise, but I can say with full transparency, I would not have been able to predict where this book headed, or even where it will be heading in the near future.
Coming off of issue three, I was truly excited to see where Witchblood went. Issue three was by far my favorite of the series so far and it looked like things were going to get real wild and weird in issue four. While I was correct on that part, I don’t think I ever could have braced myself for the rollercoaster ride we ended up receiving. We left off with, what is arguably one of the best intros of all time, Texas Red on her valiant steed Belenus.
Issue four picks up immediately after Red’s intro and things just escalate from there. There’s Hounds of Love, there’s fighting, there are reluctant partnerships, there’s…sky vampires? We are not only introduced to a new character, Paradisia Bath, but a whole new part of this world called the Limbo of Vanity. Paradisia literally swoops in on her adorable bat Olam Ha-Ba and immediately seems infatuated with Yonna and her recent display of previously unknown powers.
This power, unfortunately, levels all of San Sangre, but since Atlacoya and Texas Red were unconscious, Yonna elects to change the narrative to something a bit more palatable and blames the Hounds of Love. We’re left wondering if this is an entirely selfish motivation on Yonna’s part to ensure her new partnership with the two who were previously hunting her goes smoothly, or if she really does believe they’re better off not knowing the truth. With so much action already behind us, what could possibly happen next?
Well, to gain the trust of Texas Red and Atlacoya, Yonna reveals the biggest secret of the Witchblood world: Esme, the previously mentioned witch queen that the Hounds of Love have been hunting, is not a witch at all. Witches aren’t her children, either. Yonna reveals that Esme is, in fact, an alien. Witches like Yonna were once mere mortals before encountering Esme. “Well, what about the vampires”, you may ask. Turns out humans were envious of Esme’s power and the gifts she bestowed upon a select few that became witches. Then, the humans who took umbrage with this decided then to steal Esme’s blood and were then cursed to become vampires. The entire motivation for the vampires to hunt witches is now revealed and why there’s a very ominous sky castle and why witches are so secretive and guarded: they’re hiding.
All in all, Witchblood’s fourth issue is a doozy. I think this will be a great point that will turn a lot of readers who felt only partially invested in the first three issues into dedicated readers. Before this, I would say that the previous issue was my favorite and the strongest, but that has changed drastically. After this huge twist and all of these wild reveals, I absolutely cannot wait for what the Witchblood team has in store for us in the near future.