Monsters among us.
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. #02
The Ragorlangs are real! Attacked by one of the beasts and only surviving with the help of her friends, Hay Lin, along with the rest of W.I.T.C.H., has to find out where these creatures are coming from to protect Heatherfield!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Hay Lin thought she was done with the ragorlang after her encounter with it at the beginning of volume 17. Unfortunately, these beasties keep coming back for more.
The situation with Erin and her brother doesn’t play out exactly the way I was expecting. Kadar proves to be a distraction for Irma and Cornelia, who end up in an unspoken contest to win his affection (despite the fact they both have other love interests at that very moment, nice job writers.) The two siblings end up not being much of a help, even with Erin’s magic, and the guardians wisely send them on their way back to their people.
It was nice to see the girls being called on to do their jobs as magical girls in this volume. The oracle gives them a list of places they are supposed to visit in the multiverse as ambassadors from Kandrakar. Their jaunts through space-time have them meeting a wide variety of alien life which is funny and interesting to watch play out. I especially enjoyed the stone men and their strange rambling geometric language. The fact that the Kandrakar leaders are seemingly unconcerned with the problems with the ragorlang is a bit telling. Their leadership has always been in question.
There is one extremely strange occurrence in a chapter that boggles me. The nosy and ass-kissing sisters who run the school newspaper go missing for a chapter. It would be assumed that their disappearance has something to do with the problems at hand. I kept waiting for it to be revealed that Tecla or one of the ragorlang were somehow responsible for their disappearance and change in behavior. Neither of which turns out to be the case.
That red herring turns out to be a distraction from the girls’ research into the school’s new optometrist. Dr. Folkner looks like a child molester and acts like the most suspicious human being in existence. He keeps summoning the children to his office to check their eyes and seems to fixate on Hay Lin. The girls follow him back to his house and snoop around inside while invisible to discover he’s a collector of the weird and unusual. They think he is in cahoots with Tecla, but the truth ends up being more complicated. The man hunts monsters and the ragorlang is his white whale. The fact that Karl managed a better alibi than Folkner… well, the dude is certainly no John Constantine.
Hay Lin becomes Folkner’s target because she’s still latently infected with the Ragorlang. Watching her struggle with the growing fear that she can’t be rid of the monster and that she’s slowly becoming one herself would make for fantastic horror material in almost any medium. However, the comic doesn’t linger on the terror that such a situation would actually entail. It’s a missed opportunity in a series that loves to linger on the emotional payout of situations, but it doesn’t push far enough in this case.
Hay Lin’s first brush with the Ragorlang isn’t her last. The monster doesn’t want to let her go, and it haunts her even as the group is asked to become ambassadors to all the known worlds. Juggling a crisis at home, cosmic duty, and the usual school woes seem to be becoming easier for the girls to handle. Yet emotions still run high and they’re still easily manipulated by the forces of chaos and evil into arguments and strife that are obviously attacks by evil forces. The problems with a rotating writer’s room are more keenly felt than ever as crushes are forgotten for the next pretty face. For all of the progression the girls have made in their personal and magical lives, I would expect there to be a bit more trust in the group.
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: November 11, 2019
MSRP: $15.00 US / $19.50 CN