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Comic Review: Witch Hunter 1st Issue Special
Ryan Midnight   |  

Witch HunterWitch Hunter #1
Writer: Vincent Verrante
Pencils: Scott
Inks and Colors: Victor Dominicis, Keith Seifert
Monarch Comics
Cover Price: $2.99; Available Now

Three hundred years ago, a young boy along with his mother are burned at the stake for practicing magic. But while his body burned, his soul was kept safe in an amulet. Now, in this modern time where magic has ceased to exist because the world has ceased to believe, this young boy is needed more than ever. His soul is released from the amulet, and his body brought back to life. Thus is born the Witch Hunter who adorns his swashbuckling garb with magical artifacts and weapons, and is cloaked in a purple robe, ready to take on evils in whatever dimension they raise their head. One of Witch Hunter’s first missions is to locate the daughter of a rich businessman. His journey takes him to a manor in a land deep underground, where monsters pay to “rent the services” of females of all shapes and races. With his trusty gun, sharp blade, and sharper wit, the Witch Hunter will have to cut through more than just a few unruly customers and staff to find the girl he has been paid to save.

The character of the Witch Hunter has existed in creator Vincent Ferrante‘s head since 1976 and first appeared in single page strips back in 1994 for the now discontinued Comic Culture magazine. The Witch Hunter finally made the full comic transition with his first issue for Monarch Comics, and is waiting in the wings to take the comic and entertainment world by storm. As the character was created at the tale end of the Silver Age of comic books, Ferrante’s writing style retains that time-period with each panel, without feeling like a forced retro throwback to a bygone era. In many ways, the Witch Hunter is a Silver Age character, and it has just taken thirty years for him to make it to the page.

At the core of the Witch Hunter is a symbolic and physical manifestation of our abilities to believe in magic. Taking the turbulent 1970s as a cue, where society was beginning to finally give up on wonder, the hippies were fighting an uphill struggle to retain their spirituality and connection with the universe, and the importance of material possession was just beginning to rear its ugly head, a character like the Witch Hunter was bound to be “born.” Now, in a present time where the world needs to be reintroduced to the very real magic that flows through our Earthly dimension and countless parallel dimensions more than ever, the Witch Hunter is there to show the way.

In his current reincarnation, the Witch Hunter resides at the Sanctuary Club, a safehouse where creatures of all shapes and sizes can safely communicate and transact business without having to mask their appearances. It is here that Witch Hunter makes his deals with those that seek his help. But in a twist on the value of currency, the Witch Hunter does not accept money for his services, but rather favors that he may ask of those that would hire him at a later time. The Witch Hunter’s primary goal is not to hunt witches, but to hunt the evil powers that operate in the shadows, and hunt the Hunters that prey on the weak and mundane of the world. While the Witch Hunter does not seem overtly anti-authoritarian, he is certainly against those that would use power to corrupt and to further their own personal gain at the expense of others.

To further the Silver Age sentiment of the character and the storytelling style, Ferrante has brought on a small core of artists that are able to compliment his script. Single-named Scott provides pencils that are not easily pidgeon-holed to any specific comic book era, and his wild variety of invented creatures, as well as the Witch Hunter himself, look like they’ve come from the imagination of a kid who has just spent a few hours pouring over a Dungeons & Dragons monster guide. Meanwhile, Victor Dominicis and Keith Seifert apply a full spectrum of flat rainbow colors that appear to be completely done by hand. The combined result is something that could easily have been found on a drugstore rack back when drugstores still sold comics, or something your mom would throw out with disgust if she found it under your bed.

Though Ferrante is a little pre-occupied with subtly injecting the story with the conflicting ideals and power struggles of the seventies, he is much more so concentrated on creating a purely fun and adventure-filled comic with plenty of witty dialogue, just-violent-enough action, and a seemingly endless array of supporting characters. And for that, he has done wonderfully.

This 48-page 1st Issue Special includes the 40-page main story, the Witch Watch Pin-up, a Witch Hunter bonus pin-up, a bonus 2-page comic strip by Keith Seifert, preview pages of Witch Hunter Issue 2 and more!

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