THIS REVIEW OF ‘WITCH HAMMER’ OGN IS SPOILER-FREE.
by Sara Mitchell. AfterShock Comics debuts their new line of original graphic novels with Cullen Bunn’s Witch Hammer. The story will have you jumping from character to character, wondering who’s version of the story is “right.” You’ve got federal agents, young lost souls, a murderer with a vendetta, a televangelist, his wife, and a high priestess all grabbing for your attention. You are judged in this world based on who tells your story, and in Witch Hammer it’s a kill-or-be-killed situation.
Witch Hammer will have you believe at first that it is about a man with the head of a goat tracking and murdering witches. While this isn’t wrong, I’d be misleading you if I said that this was what the story was actually about. Because murderers aren’t solely defined by murder. The hunting, the destroying, the disguise, it all stems from something. Page after page in Witch Hammer we see people being let down by whatever deity or power they’ve chosen to follow. They’re all left desperate for the rewards of living a life devoted, and in their hours of need they are abandoned. Is it their own fault? Have they chosen the wrong path? Is it ever really anyone’s fault for being driven into desperation? Some separate themselves from their faith completely, some hold fast with patience, and others seek revenge. Wouldn’t you?
Bunn has stated that he anticipates readers to be challenged by the characters in his story, and he was right. It’s a game of perspective. Witch Hammer demands to be read multiple times. And you can challenge yourself — each time you enter, assume the perspective of another character. Choose who is good and who is evil based on each individual’s experience. Dare I say, play God. This is the fun of Witch Hammer. It’s an exercise in judgement.
As Bunn also stated in his introduction of the piece, “This is a bloody, violent, frightening thriller.” And yes, this is true. There’s dismemberment, disfigurement, mangled bodies, lots of blood and lots of nudity. This is where we nod to Dalibor Talajić along with colorist Sebastijan Camagajevac. Truly, despite the horrible car crash and four murders just within the first six pages of Witch Hammer, I felt completely safe and at ease. They layouts, the credits, the soothing tones of blue — they lulled me into a state of tranquility and well-being. Even as people were dying I thought to myself, well, this isn’t so bad. I felt myself thinking that multiple times throughout Witch Hammer as truly terrible things were unfolding. They’ve struck a beautiful balance of subject matter and style.
Readers of Witch Hammer will want more Witch Hammer. The story is the tip of an iceberg filled with questions about faith, about reality, about why we search for validation or revenge in this world, and especially, what happens next — in life, in death, and in Witch Hammer. It’s all up for you to decide. This story deserves more that the 60 pages it was given. I will give you my money, AfterShock, to give me more Witch Hammer.
Written by Cullen Bunn.
Art by Dalibor Talajić.
Colors by Sebastijan Camagajevac.
Letters by Marshall Dillon.
6.5 out of 10