Review - Spell on Wheels #1 (@DarkHorseComics)

"You didn't put luck in that li'l horseshoe, did you?"

Witchcraft reflects a pretty dark time in our country's nascent lifetime. There was a lot of frustration and confusion about the supposed powers of witches in a purely Puritanical society. The concept of witches has definitely waned in the years since, but there's still some interest in them as evidenced by Spell on Wheels #1 from Dark Horse Comics. The issue is written by Kate Leth, illustrated by Megan Levens and colored by Marissa Louise.

Three young witches are robbed of their magical items, and they’ll have to hit the road to track down the mysterious thief before he does any damage to—or with—their possessions.

Leth does a fantastic job of setting up the characters and the universe they'll be playing in. Each of the three main witches have very distinct personalities and abilities that Leth leverages successfully in moving the plot forward. And while the issue proceeds in a way that plays out in something of a road trip/investigation, Leth also works in additional plot threads that promise something grander on the horizon. The dialogue exchanges are often pretty amusing and reflect a real dedication to the aforementioned personality of each witch. There are nice nods to the mythology of witchcraft by setting the first issue in Massachusetts and Leth makes it feel like a modern take on an old concept.

The artwork in Spell on Wheels #1 has a certain whimsy to it, courtesy of Levens' relaxed approach. Levens matches the personalities given to each witch by Leth with very distinct looks that really harness that key traits of that specific witch. Jolene appears be the "wild one" of the group, Claire is somewhat reserved and XXXXXXX is the levelheaded one. Her panel layouts largely stick to a grid, but Levens works in some inset and overlays throughout that mix things up a bit. The colors by Louise provide a hopeful and cheery look to the witches, eschewing the traditional darker hues associated with witches for something brighter and airier.

Spell on Wheels #1 is a fun first issue. Each of the three witches have a unique ability that allows them to mesh well with one another and their interactions will serve as the backbone for the plot. Leth has a well-thought out arc in mind for everyone and it will be pretty entertaining to watch the three witches interact with magic in other parts of the country. The illustrations by Levens are pretty cheerful for the subject matter, but they do that in a way that modernizes the concept. Spell on Wheels #1 is going to be a pretty entertaining book that adds a traveling sense of adventure to the concept of witches.

Spell on Wheels #1 hits stores October 19.