Saturday, May 03, 2003

Season of the Witch #4 Review

This week saw the conclusion of Jai Nitz's four-issue mini-series, Season of the Witch, which was based upon the high concept of "what would happen if a fourteen year old girl became all powerful in a fairy tale world?" The concept certainly is interesting, and replacement artist (for Kevin Sharpe, who did an excellent job on #1 and #2's art) Nicola Scott looks like a name we will hear a lot of in the future, but, ultimately, I think the concept of the story was not supported enough by Nitz, as the book unravels a bit in this, the last issue, not delivering on the promises of the first three issues of an even-handed look at what would happen if a fourteen year old girl had magic powers and was in charge of everything.

The biggest problem I have is a lot of what I like to call "easy writing" (see here for the definition). Nitz has reached the conclusion of the story, and after a few issues of debate whether Jessica, the fourteen-year old who was transported to a fairy tale world and given extraordinary powers, all in the name of dehthroning the evil king of the world, was using her powers properly, or if she was becoming too savage. Up until this issue, Nitz played fair with the concept, I believe.

In #4, though, he has determined that Jessica cannot be a good Queen. So, well, she's not a good Queen. Her former master (the wizard who brought her here), Mazzul, thinks she is a bad Queen, and essentially, she cannot BE a good Queen. Where I think Nitz fails is when he has Mazzul spend the first part of the book bitching constantly about what a bad queen Jessica is. Fine, whatever. But then when he becomes her advisor, and she FOLLOWS HER INSTRUCTIONS, things STILL go wrong. So, instead of trying to help her FIX things, as we have specifically seen that she WILL listen to Mazzul, Mazzul just throws his arms in the air and says she's a lost cause.

It just didn't make sense.

In addition, on a lesser, but still annoying, note, one of the signs that Jessica is a terrible queen? She tries to get a McDonald's (called McDowell's here_ built in the kingdom. Mazzul's new apprentice (also from Earth) is shocked that Jessica would do this. "Mother of God, no," he says, "Where to begin. It's food, but it's unhealthy, it's wasteful, it's everything that's wrong with the world Jessica and I came from." Huh? I mean, don't get me wrong, I have no problem with people ripping on McDonald's. But a fairy tale village version of McDonald's? This is a sign she is nuts?

The biggest problem is that Jessica is making too much gold, thereby devaluing it. So, rather than suggesting that Jessica just make something ELSE, or use her FANTASTIC powers for something ELSE to help, Mazzul just writes her off!!

It just doesn't make sense.

So the noble sacrifice at the just doesn't work for me, as it should have been SOO unnecessary.

I do like the little cynical bit at the end, though, where we see that Jessica's parents are on trial for Jessica's murder back at home.

Neat cover by Mike Huddleston. I dig Huddleston.

So, while I would recommend #1-3, I do not recommend #4 of Season of the Witch, even though there was a lot to commend in it (some interesting ideas, and nice Nicola Scott art).

Read the Review


Blogger Edward Liu said...

I haven't read this issue yet (the major downside of saving money through on-line comic shops is that you're perennially behind on everything), but I'm a bit sad that the series seems to have ended so poorly. However, to be honest, I was getting leery of it from the #0 issue, since the whimsy and humor of the "fantasy warrior blowing bubbles" cover image was nowhere to be found inside the comic.

For that matter, the sense of exuberance and fun in the Darwyn Cooke cover to #2 doesn't seem to have made it into the comic anywhere, either. I think the series as a whole suffered by taking itself far too seriously.

5/04/2006 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

An excellent point, Edward.

What it really appears is as though Nitz committed himself early to the idea "A fourteen year old girl with absolute power would be a disaster," and then just molded the book in that direction.

I see where he's coming from, sort of a counter to the whole genre of fairy tales where young people get powers and they use them well, so Nitz thinks that, realistically, kids wouldn't be so responsible, which may be true, and I do not even really have a problem with him going that route - but you have to, in math terms, "show your work."

5/04/2006 05:19:00 PM  
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