Something wicked this way comes.
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 VI. Ragorlang Vol. #01
Here There Be Monsters!
Eric has started at a new school, but something seems off. The students are tired and listless, almost as if something is sapping their strength. Could this have anything to do with the folktale Hay Lin recently heard about, the monster that drains the energies of its victims?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
This volume of W.I.T.C.H. introduces a new enemy for the group to face in the volumes to come. It steals in through Hay Lin during a trip out of town to visit Eric and quickly becomes a problem that requires the entire team to solve.
The tricky nature of the foe this time leads to many of the chapters feeling disconnected from each other. The rescue of Hay Lin’s grandmother and the story of Irma’s stepmother don’t even involve the ragorlang. It lures the girls further into a false sense that their foe had truly been defeated as they see to other problems before the trouble returns in the final chapter of this volume.
While I appreciate the fact that this enemy appears to be taking a slower, more insidious approach, the same tactics tend to be employed by all the enemies in this series. The goal of Tecla is to use the ragorlang to suck the youth from the girls, but she sends others to manipulate and act as her go-betweens. This isn’t so different from the other enemies we’ve met before. At least this time we have a self-motivated villain with no prior grudge toward the guardians.
The strongest chapter of this volume is the one in which Irma learns about how her step-mother and father met and fell in love. Irma is the least tactful of the group and her smart mouth ends up hurting her step-mom when she accuses her of sneaking into their lives. It turns out she was very self-conscious of coming across that way. (Although I’m still weirded out by the similarities in looks of Irma and her biologically not related mother. Her dad certainly must have a type.) There’s a certain level of genuine feeling in that chapter.
The story about Hay Lin saving her grandmother from an alien threat we didn’t know existed is perhaps the weakest part of this volume. There simply wasn’t enough time to adequately establish the threat and generate a solution. I also don’t buy the idea that Yan Lin would have so readily agreed to stay with the aliens. The whole plot felt weird and rushed. Plus it’s yet another example of the girls’ minds being weakened and tricked. Almost none of the struggles the girls confront are ever physical. Their powers are barely ever used for real combat. For once I’d like to see them struggle against an overwhelming force and be forced to find a creative use for their powers.
The newest threat to face WITCH is a slippery foe to combat. While previous enemies have used plenty of psychological warfare to sow distrust and try to break up the team, this new foe’s attacks are much more grounded in the mind than the previous. When Tecla is beaten back and seemingly defeated she rises again to poke and prod at the girl’s weak points. There are still some pacing problems in these chapters, where the set up stretches on and the solution resolves too quickly. The best chapters still tend to be the ones that don’t involve magic or evil at all.
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: September 17, 2019
MSRP: $15.00 US / $19.50 CN