‘The Witcher #1:’ Advance Comic Book Review

More than anything, I feel like The Witcher is a missed opportunity.

At least in the US, most people likely to pick up this series will be most familiar with The Witcher from the video games from CD Projekt Red; it is that take on the character which the comic uses, though, at least in the first issue, the tie-in is very loose.  In that regard, the look of the book fits; Geralt, his Witcher medallion, and his silver sword all look true to the source.  Joe Querio’s art, as a whole, works pretty well for the grimness of The Witcher’s setting, a dark, sword-and-sorcery world that owes more to Howard and Moorcock than Tolkien and Gygax.

The story feels like a fairly inconsequential episode in Geralt’s life, a side trip in which he is caught while headed somewhere else, presumably.  Witchers are monster hunters, but for some reason Geralt tends to avoid fighting monsters in this issue, despite encountering quite a few in a fashion that feels a little more like someone just wants to remind readers who played the games of some of the enemies they encountered.  Out of four or five creatures that ought to warrant being put down by a witcher’s blade, Geralt only bothers to even fight one of them, a drowner, which is basically the lowest-level enemy in the games.

Paul Tobin’s writing is fine, but it doesn’t do a lot for a story that isn’t, so far, that interesting or exciting.  Indeed, it is mostly Geralt and his accidental traveling companion, Jakob, drinking and sharing stories.  Jakob’s wife is a vampire, and he wants to be free of her.  There’s no good reason offered why Geralt doesn’t just kill her from the moment she appears. Jakob makes clear she’s violent and murderous and that he doesn’t really think of her as his wife any longer, but some creature that’s taken her place.  If you’ve never encountered The Witcher before, this seems like a bit of a plot hole, but maybe you could rationalize that vampires are too dangerous to engage; if you’ve played the games, though – and that seems to be the audience this book is most for – it just makes it feel like this book doesn’t get Geralt at all.  He looks like Geralt but doesn’t act like Geralt.

It’s a shaky start, and so it’s hard to recommend, even to diehard fans of The Witcher. In fact, it might be harder, since one of the big problems is the mischaracterization of the series’ protagonist.  As a huge fan of the game series, I was hoping for much more.


Two and a Half Monster Cameos out of Five

Last modified on Tuesday, 18 March 2014 18:02

Brandon Perdue, Fanbase Press Contributor
Favorite Comic: Top Ten by Alan Moore and Gene Ha
Favorite Tabletop RPG: Fireborn
Favorite Spacegoing Vessel: Constitution-class Refit
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