Scott Snyder and Jock close out their first arc of “Wytches” with lots of scary moments and more than a few surprises as Sailor, Charlie and Lucy Rooks must face the terrifying reality of the Wytches coming for them in the woods of Litchfield, New Hampshire. “Wytches” #6 is a dynamic and fatal end in some regards, but an end nonetheless.
Lifting a note from Charlie Rooks’ book “The Night Arcade,” Snyder announces “this is not an ending” in the first line of the issue. By the end, it is perfectly clear that there is more to the Rooks’ story yet to come. The cast of “Wytches” #6 feels real, as if they breathe the same air as the reader, threatening to snatch it out of their lungs. Snyder sneaks in a scare here, a game-changing reveal there and some consistently lurking evil, chitting through the shadows, just out of reach, but easily within grasping distance of the reader.
Jock nails this story to the page in the shadows. His work has moments where it appears deceptively simple but, in other spots, the subtle freckling of blood spatters, the stringy, dusty hair on the Wytches’ scalps and the spokes of Lucy’s wheelchair all commit the Rooks to memory and transcribe it for years to come. Over all of it, though, Jock bleeds black, shadowy depths. Good horror stories feed on suspense and exude mystery. The threat that lurks is always more terrifying, as the readers’ imagination locks onto it and transforms it, and that is exactly what Jock does here. He never pulls full figures out of the shadows, except for Sailor, and even then not for any longer than a panel. Visually smacking readers in the faces, Jock makes it clear through his pictures — his thousands of words — that this is Sailor’s story.
A true collaboration, from Snyder’s story to Robins’ letters and Jock’s art soaked in Hollingsworth’s rich, damp, organically-splashed color, “Wytches” #6 is exactly the high note a story should end on. All four of the collaborators bring their very best, and it shows on the pages. Robins’ “Chit” sound effects for the Wytches are wobbly and unnerving at times, and bold and unavoidable at others. It plays up and down, like a soundtrack to a horror movie but, when the chitting is gone, that’s when the fear truly rises.
Hollingsworth’s colors hover between water stains and rust, aged wear and tear and violent, undisciplined graffiti. He washes every single panel and person in Jock’s work but does so with gorgeous mastery, adding dampness to the night sky and heat to the flare Charlie brings with him as he searches for Sailor. Flashbacks to happier, easier times are brighter, tinged with sunshine, but faded by that same sunlight that never stands a chance to pierce the rest of the issue as horror descends upon the Rooks family, altering it forever.
Now that “Wytches” #6 has finished off the arc, all that waits for readers is what the creative team has planned next. Of course, there will be a collected edition at some point and readers will likely snatch that up, drag it back to their holes and devour the works of Snyder, Jock, Hollingsworth and Robins because “pledged is pledged.” These creators pledged the readership a gripping horror story and they delivered. Now they just need to keep delivering, because the readers, like the Wytches, will keep devouring, just like this terrifyingly, disturbingly gripping adventure.