Trade Secrets: The Witcher – House of Glass

Welcome to another issue of Trade Secrets with your friendly, neighborhood RUL Staff! In this installment, I’ll be reviewing The Witcher: House of Glass from Dark Horse Comics.

Much like the last review, we’ll touch on the story, the art, and overall impressions.

If you haven’t read the miniseries, there will be spoilers abound. You’ve been warned.

On another note, this volume does contain some adult situations and brief nudity. Warned twice.

The Basics:24218

  • Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
  • Writer(s): Paul Tobin
  • Art: Joe Querio
  • Cover(s): Joe Querio (#2-5) Mike Mignola (Volume) Dan Panosian & Dave Johnson (#1)
The Story:

I’m going to preface this with an admission: I haven’t played a moment of either of the games in the Witcher series. I’ve always wanted to, but have yet to get around to it. That said, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

The miniseries follows Geralt, the eponymous Witcher, on his travels through the countryside. At the story’s start, Geralt encounters Jakob, a lonely hunter with a sad story and a dead wife that watches him from a hill. After some time and some wine, Jakob decides to leave his dead wife and venture off with the Witcher, for better or ill.

Wow, THAT'S awkward.
Wow, THAT’S awkward.

Through the woods they find oddities, creatures, and down right nasty things that cause them to take refuge in a spooky house that even a grave hag warns them to stay away from. Jakob, despite wanting to escape his dead wife Marta, swears she lead them there and doesn’t hesitate to enter the house in search of his lost love.

Things get stranger still as hours pass. They split up, meet up, find a succubus, fight off zombies and reveal more about themselves. Dark secrets come to light, faces get set on fire, zombies get messed up. In the end, Jakob finds what he needs and the Witcher wanders on to continue his tale.

The Art:
Hm. So ugly she broke the glass. Dang.
Hm. So ugly she broke the glass. Dang.

Right away, I was judging this book by its cover. Anything with cover art by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola is enough to catch my attention. The interiors, as well as most of the covers for the actual issues, are done by Joe Querio, whose art style takes a lot of cues from Mignola. Fitting given the dark setting and the fact that he’s worked on both B.P.R.D. and Lobster Johnson, both of which are offshoots of Hellboy.

Carlos Badilla’s colors give life to every panel, bringing warmth only when it’s needed and giving everything else a cold, dreary light. Perfect for this book.

The action is easy to follow during fights and chases, and the scenery is wonderfully spooky.

Final Thoughts:
RAAA TURN DOWN FOR WHAT?!
RAAA TURN DOWN FOR WHAT?!

The story is good, with a decent blend of mystery and action. Some of the creatures feel shoved in for the sake of convenience though, especially the Leshen.

They manage to explain some aspects that are trivial to fans of the series, like the Witcher’s powers and sword, without beating you over the head with it. This, combined with the fact that it appears to be a side story with no real consequences to┬áthe games, makes it an excellent point for people who aren’t acquainted with the series to jump in.

I also enjoyed having each “chapter” in the trade broken up with cover art from the single issues, making for excellent pacing and a set of good points to put the book down if need be. This is something Halo: Escalation lacked, opting for the covers in the back of the trade. That’s just a personal preference, though.

Overall, the book is well-written, nice to look at, and easy to read. Fans and newcomers alike should enjoy the volume.

Until next time, readers. Excelsior!


 

All images courtesy of Dark Horse Comics and www.darkhorse.com