Zenescope Entertainment 2015
Written by Zach Calig
Illustrated by Diego Galindo
Coloured by Michael Bartolo
In modern day 2015, a group of unsuspecting women are attacked and killed in New England. The men responsible call themselves the New Crusaders and they are determined to find a young woman named Avril Williams, a descendant of one of the most powerful witches of all time. It’s a race against time as Baba Yaga returns in one of the most intense and exciting Grimm Universe titles of this year!
Well this is certainly something interesting I love a good story about witches and covens and those who are organized to hunt them. I have to say I’m a little more than surprised to see the squad hunting the witches seems to be more akin to something we’d find in the pages of G.I. Joe but then upon reflection it really does seem more militaristic and frightening this way. As if they’ve had plenty of time to get organized and their act together to become overconfident n their organization and themselves.
With how this issue opens I was a tad surprised while I fully understand that these are witches around a campfire they seem nothing more than a bunch of high school girls and their teacher out for the night. That they were so mercilessly taken out while looking for just one of them in particular. Sure witches grow up to become powerful but this wholesale genocide well I’ll reserve further judgement till I’ve seen where it’s heading.
Baba Yaga enters the story and she’s greeted by two members of the New Crusaders who offer her a deal, help deliver Liza of Cedar Swamp and the girl they took will be returned to her. Meanwhile at New Crusaders headquarters initiate Dartanian is made a full crusader of the Arcania Covenant charged with protecting the girl they’ve captured. So while all this is playing out the one Crusader who seems to be mired in death and something more than what we are seeing so far. His role in this as well as Dartanian’s seem to be large but as of yet unclear except that you can feel it in this story that’s going to happen.
Zach manages to get this first issue underway in ways that do wonders in showcasing the threat both sides possess without making it clear who the good guys or the bad guys are at this stage. While we are bound to see Baba Yaga, Liza and Avril to form one of the strongest covens ever seen this is more reactionary to the Crusaders actions who act with the zeal of religious fervor that makes them more scary than the witches they hunt. We’ve gotten just enough personality wise to be intrigued and not all roles have been defined adequately so there is that desire to come back and see just how this is going to play out. Also thinking about it these three seem to represent the witches three in popular lore.
I very like the interior artwork and except for Baba Yaga they all seem to be dressed rather appropriately. The attention to detail in the panels and for each character is rather impressive and the colouring can be both dark or vibrant depending on the scene making a much more impactful statement. Already it’s quite lovely work and with a little more seasoning I think it could rival some of the most interesting stuff on the market today.