Review: The Witcher #1 – House of Glass
Now that the Witcher 3 has been painfully delayed until next year, it’s good to see Dark Horse Comics is still giving us a fix of our favorite Witcher, Geralt of Rivia. (Protip: Stay away from the Black Forest.)
If you’re unfamiliar with the series, it follows the journey of Geralt of Rivia, the Witcher. What’s a Witcher? Short version: Witchers at a young age undergo severe physical and magical training, consume potions that make them immune to poisons and STDs, who then fight monsters for profit. They are faster, stronger, and heal more quickly than your average human. They also have yellow eyes and pasty white skin. In other words, Witchers are kinda like Jedi monster hunters who have a ton of sex.
“House of Glass” has Geralt come across windowed hunter Jakob, who is literally being haunted by his past. The Witcher #1 is essentially your wandering hero story who happens to always be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Despite living in a world where everything is out to kill to you, it’s good to see Geralt and Jakob bond over how incredibly bizarre both their lives are over a campfire.
Despite some brief monster encounters, this issue is more about Jakob’s guilt over his sorta dead wife. It’s a story about a man who needs to move on and the Witcher is there to help him through the process. We also catch a glimpse on how Geralt can go from polite campfire storyteller to ruthless silver sword swinging warrior at the drop of a hat. Geralt of Rivia is a man who’s been around and seen it all, and it’s evident with how swiftly he disposes of the Drowner early on.
Geralt has always had a one-note personality, the Lawful Neutral role that he plays is generally super boring, but it’s good that he tends to surround himself with compelling and complex companions. I’m hoping that Jakob sticks around for the remainder of the five issue arc for “House of Glass.” I did enjoy the wealth of knowledge Geralt possess on all the foul creatures that try to kill them. In the Witcher games, you’re always pulled away in some grand conspiracy to the point that you almost forget Geralt is an expert monster hunter.
Writer Paul Tobin shows us what the world is like for people like Jakob who not only live in fear of being devoured by the unknown but also the guilt of their past decisions. Tobin manages to capture Geralt’s need to help those around him. One issue in and you can tell that the Witcher will do everything in his power to keep his new buddy safe.
Joe Querio’s art design is generally creepy and all the monsters have an ancient look to them as if they have been stalking travelers outside of the Black Forest for ages. I also liked the close ups of Jakob and Marta that clearly portray the sadness of their existences. Carlos Badilla’s colors showcase a bleak and depressingly old world that looks like a dark fairy tale. All the dark and blues purple gives the Black Forest a dreamlike vibe to it.
The Witcher #1 has something special for fans of dark fantasy who enjoy a moody atmosphere. Unfortunately, Witcher fans looking to learn more about the mysterious Geralt will be slightly let down. The buddy adventure through the Black Forest and the mystery of the House of Glass should keep you around for a bit.