Review: Hammer of the Witches
Written, illustrated and lettered by Hugh Madden.
Hammer of the Witches follows the events of one dark night when a mysterious coach stops at an inn. A masked noblewoman and her strange looking “coachmen” have their hopes of rest when they are met by Fra Inquisitor upon entering the inn, Fra Inquisitor is there to arrest the noblewoman for heresy and witchcraft. Naturally the occupant of the coach has other ideas of how the scene will play out.
Hammer of the Witches has the feel of an old folk tale. The entire story takes place within the inn, There’s some enjoyable twists, as well as some good fleshing out of the character/ history of Fra Inquisitor. And while the story is self-contained, there’s plenty in it that could work as part of a larger story. Fra Inquisitor is an interesting character and I’m interested in the organisation that he is acting on behalf of in this tale.
I did like the the character design of the “coachmen” and Fra Inquisitor. There also are some nice storytelling touches in the art. The four panels immediately after the coach is examined by the stable-hand were enjoyable. I liked how the two rows read in unison left to right. It works better than it would have if a ‘Z’ sequence had been used. I’m fond of the art style for a flashback sequence that gave it the look of something that would appear in a tapestry. The choice of opening and closing pages of the comic gave a nice symmetry to the story.
The lettering, which looks to be hand-lettered, is easy to read with good placement throughout the comic. There is a lack of consistency at times regarding the speech balloons, even when you put the non-English to one side. With regard to the non-English text, it’s going to be a ‘love it or hate it’ scenario for readers. The unique alphabet really helps build up the world of ‘Hammer of the Witches’. But it does mean that any reader that wants to understand the non-English dialogue is going to spend some of the reading referring back to the translation table inside the front cover. I did like what it added to the comic but it did mean that it broke the flow of story at times.
Overall, Hammer of the Witches is an enjoyable tale with some solid world-building that leaves the door open t more tales featuring Fra Inquisitor. It also doesn’t hurt that the comic has an art style that is distinct from a lot of other comics.
You can get a digital copy over on Gumroad (it’s ‘Pay What You Want’, so you can get it free if you choose. But if the funds allow, do try and throw some Euros for a copy. Support Indie creators! )
(On a related note, Madden have been posting his interpretation of Treasure Island. For more information, see yesterday’s post about the comic.)
Comic-loving bookworm. Scribbler of words and images.
Can be found on Twitter @Stephen_C_Ward.