Where the Witches Lurk is a terrific title for this odd, yet promising, premise from indie comic writer Joe Pezzula with art by Donny Gandakusuma, colors by Chris Mann, and with Ben Gilbert handling the lettering. Given the opportunity to review the first four issues in this ongoing series, it lands quite smartly into the supernatural genre.
Witches abide in the small town of Haslow Falls, where two sisters (Gina and Tina) and their father hunt down witches and kill them in very inventive (if sometimes gruesome) ways. The girls themselves are kind of a hoot dressed as Girl Scouts pretty much all the time, while their father has a more sinister quality about him. Dad apparently possesses some magical defensive skills, which we learn later is passed on to one of the daughters. Having little to no interaction with kids their own age, the girls have remarkably good social skills. Life becomes more dangerous for this family after a failed attempt to kill the “Dark Witch” results in a local kid becoming possessed, their father disappears, local police implode, and a mysterious woman takes the girls under her wing.
The first issue sets up the story and premise very well, introducing us to the world and the odd characters which inhabit it. The pacing was right on target, leaving us with the welcome thought that this trio had “The Right Stuff.” Unfortunately, I found issue two to be a bit disjointed, as it appears their father disappears the day after the battle with the “Dark Witch,” but then it seems he’s taken again during the battle. It’s a little confusing. Issue three has characters behaving more conveniently for the writer than how these types of characters would actually behave. (A mother would never forget what her child said on what could be her son’s deathbed.) I also bumped on the fact that the police constantly ignored commonly known police procedure, making the conflict between them seem forced; however, issue four is tight, clean, and focused. The story and character developed smoothly. Mr. Pezzula definitely found his groove by the fourth issue.
The art I found very appropriate for this dark and bizarre, little world, where everyone seems rather bland and ordinary but, in reality, are very much the opposite. The cover art pretty much rocks, but I was at odds with the coloring, as, sometimes, I found it so dark that I could barely make out what was going on, and in other pages/panels I thought it was amazing and set the tone perfectly. (I thought the fourth issue was a terrific example of excellent coloring.)
Now that it seems the team has shaken the bugs out of their system, I suspect we will have a lot to look forward to in upcoming issues.