[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
A coven of witches have been reincarnating across the centuries. They have always been hunted, killed, and separated, but they reawaken in a different body after a time. Isadora is the leader of the coven, and Nadiya is her lover. There are others, but the witch hunters are doing their best to wipe them from existence. In the modern age, they have come up with a new plan to stop the witches: marriage.
As many of you likely know, the symbol of the witch has been recontextualized as a symbol of empowerment for women. As such, Hex Wives #1 taking an immortal coven of witches and having their identities erased and powers removed by the power of marriage is so delightfully on-the-nose in terms of metaphor that I absolutely adore it.
I know, I ragged on Judge Dredd: Toxic #1 for being too direct with its allegory, but Hex Wives has a degree of separation from its story and the narrative in reality–there is actually a metaphor here.
Also, there is a bit of a wink and a smile to Hex Wives. The subject matter is serious, but the villains are cartoonishly misogynistic enough so that you get that Ben Blacker is messing with you a little. Plus, Blacker is known for comedy–though a mass audience may not know that part.
Plus, the witches are quite pretty great characters–well, up until they are mind-wiped.
Mirka Andolfo’s artwork looks damn good. Motion flows well, characters look moving and lively, and the changing costumes across time look good. There’s a shift to a 1950’s-look when the girls are restrained by the marriage, and that’s a pretty clever visual cue to the nuclear family. The color work of Marissa Louise is bright, well-contrasted, and energetic too, though blood looks almost purple in some panels–though this isn’t a problem in the above panel. Indeed, the color art looks great in the vast majority of the comic.
Hex Wives #1 is an entertaining feminist twist on the mythos of witchcraft and its clashing with the modern world and its restraints. The characters are interesting, the art is solid, and the ideas are pretty creative. This one earns a recommendation, so feel free to check it out.
Hex Wives #1 comes to us from writer Ben Blacker, artist Mirka Andolfo, color artist Marissa Louise, letterer Josh Reed, cover artist Joelle Jones with Jordie Bellaire, and variant cover artist Jenny Frisson with Molly Mahan.