Wytches: Bad Egg Halloween Special // Review
Three years following publication of volume one’s final issue, Scott Snyder and Jock return to the world of their highly acclaimed horror series, Wytches. Bridging the gap between the first volume and the highly anticipated second, the Wytches: Bad Egg Halloween Special is an extended standalone that expands heavily on the world established in the first volume, and introduces a character who the creators promise will play a significant role in the second volume when it’s released next year.
Working as a semi-prequel to the first Volume, Bad Egg revolves around Clara, the hunter who encountered Charlie in the initial series, and her son, Sebastian (Seb), who is presented as the protagonist. Set years prior to the start of the Wytches series, Bad Egg shows a younger, healthier, and more capable Clara, teaching 12 year old Seb how to hunt and kill Wytches, the way their family has done for generations. Though instructed by his Mother not to make friends or become attached to anyone, Seb nonetheless grows close to his next-door neighbor, Jackson, who is being groomed by his parents to be “pledged” (i.e. sacrificed) to a baby Wytch they’ve built a burrow for nearby in the woods. Jackson’s parents are revealed to be Highhorns, humans who have strongly endeared themselves to Wytches, and who’ve pledged numerous people to the creatures over the years in exchange for “gifts” that keep them eternally youthful and prosperous. Clara and Sebastian’s presence in the town is predicated upon destroying the Highhorns’ burgeoning burrow, and, throughout Bad Egg, Seb struggles with his coming-of-age charge to kill the baby Wytch, the Highhorns, and, if needed, even his best friend.
Writer Scott Snyder expedites the exposition, and moves quickly into the world of Wytches, where his world-building is placed at the forefront. Having a family well-versed in this magical world allows Snyder to go into more detail about how Wytches and their community work. Unlike Wytches’ initial volume, which had a very cinematic structure and experience, including a deliberately gradual build-up, Bad Egg feels more like a special flashback episode of a series that focuses entirely on a character’s backstory. Quickly establishing an emotional connection between the protagonist and the audience, Snyder efficiently transitions to the crux of the conflict and beyond, though the narrative never feels rushed or cheapened.
Artist Jock’s unique trademark splatter-style overall accentuates the tale, alighting scenes of magic, blood, or strong emotion with evocative, psychotropic auras, continuing the unique look established in volume one of Wytches. However, Jock’s fiery accentuations at times prove overbearing, with the raw, wild, kaleidoscopic depictions in his panels occasionally moving past abstraction to the point of general indiscernibility. Nonetheless, Jock infuses power and sentiment into every panel, regulating the chaotic nature of his art to mirror the intensity of the scene.
The Wytches: Bad Egg Halloween Special works as a perfect reintroduction to the world of Wytches, and sets the stage for volume two. Bad Egg creates an emotional connection between the audience and the protagonist, easily engaging the reader, investing them into Seb’s journey; moreover, it succeeds in adding to the already established lore without having to retread the plot of the first volume. Whether one is a newcomer to Wytches or simply in need of a refresher, the Bad Egg Halloween Special is an immersive and intriguing excursion which whets the appetite for more.