Dark Horse Comics 2015
Written by Paul Tobin
Illustrated by Joe Querio
Coloured by Carlos Badilla
I am extremely impressed with how this arc ended. Geralt is such a complex and interesting man and seeing his vast knowledge put to the test has been wonderful to see. Along with seeing these legendary Vulpess and getting to know about them has been both incredible and slightly terrifying. That Paul has managed to make this creature so threatening and unleashing such inner human emotion and terror among the crew of the vessel is sublimely done.
The threat Geralt and the crew receive from the mother on board the ship is ominous but more importantly it’s more psychological than anything else. She has her child and leaves them but the guilt and fear of what they’ve been through will eat away at these men long before she would ever consider enacting her threat. The power of suggestion cannot be underestimated and as demonstrated here is much more powerful than any direct action she could have taken.
Again this kind of desperation and power of suggestion along with the Vulpess’ power of illusion comes to fruition sooner than the crew would expect. When men feel guilty they will seek out the quickest route to what they see as salvation and not see the forest for the trees and very quickly those that jump ship for the mirage of the city on the shore is shattered in the water as they are attacked. The river is full of dangers but those weren’t of any concern to the men who jumped, fear and guilt in them was too powerful to overcome with logic and reason.
Geralt and company manage to find their way back to civilization. Though Duran and Janessa part ways with Geralt and Addarrio I do hope this isn’t the last we see of them. I’d have enjoyed this foursome traveling together for another adventure or two before that happened but it’s nice to know there are other characters in this world Paul can revisit and expand upon the Witcher’s reputation.
I like how this issue ends with Geralt receiving a visit from the Vulpess fulfilling her promise. Their conversation is pretty intense and revealing and we get to learn more about these people than I was expecting to. Once a proud and prevalent people their powers have waned and their numbers dwindled becoming more Fox than Vulpess but still having plenty of skills up their sleeves. Her understanding of Geralt and his actions have led to this conversation and discovery of the child’s fate and for me it was surprise ending that was incredibly delightful.
The Witcher and the world he inhabits is so strange, full of life and the unexpected that it’s always a pleasant surprise to visit it. Paul has created this complete world for this man to explore and prove that humanity isn’t a curse but can be a blessing.
Joe and Carlos really go above and beyond on the interiors as well. Seeing the fox’s face on that human body seems strange, beautiful and frightening and that mixture of emotion you get keeps you glued to the page. They’ve also managed to showcase the balance between light and dark throughout and many times on the same page in the same panels a feat not easily accomplished and that kind of talent is rare indeed.
Dark Horse has a winning set of stories here by these folks and being told in the perfect way by continual mini-series with enough time in between to make us excited by its return. I look forward to the next installment and what Geralt and Addario get mixed up in next.