I’ll be honest, if John Severin drew issues of “Witchfinder” every month, I’d be pleased as punch. His art is just gorgeous here, a reminder that we have a living legend who’s still active in the comics industry and turning out amazing comics. So for a minute, let’s put aside the contributions of Mike Mignola and John Arcudi, and let me just say that for Severin alone, you should read “Witchfinder: Lost and Gone Forever.”
From the opening panel, with a cloud of smoke billowing around a revolver being fired by the walking dead, we’ve got something special. There’s so much detail crackling in this image; the dead eyes, the startled horse pulling back in fear, the wisps of smoke coming out of the camp fire, even the scrub grass and bushes in the background. It’s the amount of work that people would put into a huge splash page, but it’s just the first panel of the comic. And from start to finish, Severin doesn’t quit. That amount of detail is throughout the entire book, from the opening fight, to the quieter moments like the priest waiting under the tree, with each fold of cloth and button on his cassock lovingly rendered.
Severin’s also great when it comes to action; Grey fighting the walking dead is an extremely physical scene, with punches thrown, leaps in the air, and a well-placed lasso toss. With each panel, you can see the movement from one moment to the next; Severin understands how to make his art feel lively, a trick that so many artists big into detail have never learned. Best of all? Severin understands how to make the most mundane look terrifying. Forget the monsters, it’s the ones who hide behind a human visage that will creep you out.
The story, itself, a little meandering, with lots of little events courtesy Mignola and Arcudi, but nothing to sink your teeth into. As a transition piece it’s all right, but it’s lacking a bit of drive. Still, they’re coming up with a lot of great things for Severin to draw, and it feels like it’s (slowly) moving somewhere.
“Witchfinder: Lost and Gone Forever” #3 is probably the weakest issue in the series to date, but if all weaker issues were only good rather than great comics, I’d be all right with that. And like I said before, at the end of the day it’s another comic with Severin art. That alone is worth your $3.50. Severin might be 89 years old, but he’s still got it and then some.