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W.I.T.C.H. Vol. #14 Graphic Novel Review

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Magical books, scheming plots, and boy troubles. Just another day for W.I.T.C.H.
W.I.T.C.H. Vol. #14

Magical books, scheming plots, and boy troubles. Just another day for W.I.T.C.H.

Creative Staff
Series created by Elisabetta Gnone
Art Direction: Alessandro Barbucci, Barbara Canepa
Translation/Adaptation: Linda Ghio & Stephanie Dagg at Editing Zone
(Each chapter was originally published as a standalone comic book, and like most series each book has a rotating creator list consisting of artists, colorists, letterers, etc. The book credits everyone involved, but for brevity and my own sanity I’m only noting the leads.)

What They Say
W.I.T.C.H.: The Graphic Novel, Part V. The Book of Elements Vol. #02 Review
Running Heatherfield’s Ye Olde Book Shop isn’t the new life Cedric wanted for himself, but it may have given the perfect opportunity for revenge! With the Book of Elements and the secrets it contains, Cedric’s found the power he needs to finish the Guardians once and for all, but is that what he really wants…?

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
While the girls are distracted by the many trials and tribulations of teen life, the elements are preparing a trial of their own. The elements have been described before as a tool, neither good nor evil. As the girl’s powers level up they have a hard time controlling the increased power. It doesn’t behave the way they were anticipating, and accidents with telepathy and emotional magical responses keep happening. 

And emotions are what is driving this volume of W.I.T.C.H. Nearly every girl in the team has a crush or boyfriend they are dealing with. Will and Matt have finally sealed their relationship status, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect. The stupid dance they were going through was exhausting. That conflict has shifted to Taranee and Nigel. Nigel is showing signs of being the possessive/needy boyfriend who is jealous of Taranee’s new friends. Taranee finds herself growing distant from Nigel and you can see that relationship straining. The other girls are mostly free from problems with romance in this volume. Hay Lin is missing her distant boyfriend but is able to let that relationship take a back seat.

It feels the majority of this volume focuses on the romance stuff, at least until the final chapter where things start picking up. Cedric has been lurking and gnashing his teeth at anything and everything related to W.I.T.C.H. His discovery of the Book of Elements creates the opening he needed to cause chaos, but it’s hampered in part by the presence of Orube, who has been watching him like a hawk. Cedric is once again used by a more powerful force as a tool, and he lures Matt into a trap with the promise of power for his service. Yet even Cedric is starting to have doubts about the whole scheme.

Suddenly Matt has become the distressed dude, captured and in need of rescue. There’s a line in this volume which gave me pause and made me stop to realize something that makes this series terribly out-of-date. I’m not talking about ancient computers/cellphones either. It’s the fact that most of the guys the girls are dating are in high school, and they’re not. We aren’t given the ages for Matt and his friends but I’m guessing they’re at least three years older than the girls. At some point someone says “why are you worried, Matt’s an adult” and suddenly I realized that it always felt odd that Will’s mom never questioned her dating an older boy. This series is very much a fantasy, and it’s also Disney, but sex is never a factor. I guess in a fantasy world where everyone is on their best behavior it doesn’t matter, but yikes. YIKES. (Sailor Moon was clearly a huge inspiration for this series, and the relationships there were the same.)

The final chapter of this volume sees the girls formulating and making plans to rescue Matt and solve a riddle to tackling the monsters at the end of the book, literally. There are actual riddles which need solving and the usual nest of lies to cover for missing persons. In many ways, business as usual. Yet the pacing in this volume is far better than many of the previous volumes and story arcs, which is a nice change. The art holds up nicely over the course of the different chapters as well.

This volume’s extra is a look at Peter’s room.

In Summary
W.I.T.C.H. continue to grow as magical heroines. This volume is heavy on the troubles with romance and light on the troubles with extra-dimensional evil. It’s great to see Will and Matt finally reach a point in their relationship where both are comfortable with being in love. The jealousy and petty bickering that comes with it finally caves. The other girls are slowly realizing that their own love lives, or lack thereof, aren’t simple fairytale affairs. What is clear is that everyone underestimated Cedric, once again. There are only so many times you can let a villain free before you realize that the only option is to remove them from the picture. For once the pacing of this story feels like it’s hit a good stride, and if the momentum can retain this pace this is shaping up to be the best arc in the series thus far.

Content Grade: B +
Art Grade: B +
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: A

Age Rating: All Ages
Released By: JY (Yen Press), Disney Comics
Release Date: January 22, 2018
MSRP: $15.00 US / $19.50 CN

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