Thursday, November 7, 2013

Review: Will O’ the Wisp by Tom Hammock, Taylor & Hutchinson


When I was little my Mother had a lot of rituals. Spill some salt? she would put a few grains in her left hand and throw it over her shoulder. Break a mirror? It had to be covered immediately and gotten rid of. Every New Year’s Eve every piece of trash had to be outside the house, and every dish or pile of dirty clothes need to be washed, and for over twenty years my  Father and after their divorce, my Father’s best friend would come to our house New Years morning since having a male cross your threshold first was good luck.
I found a lot of these little actions a bit amusing but I never made fun of my mother because to her they weren't a joke. They were habits she had picked up from her mother and grandmother, and possibly from other generations of women. So when I started reading Aurora Grimeon’s story I was really able to connect with her journey to the deep southern swamps of Ossuary Isle. The residents of this Isle live hand in hand with the living and the dead, mainly through their connection to ritual and Hoodoo magic.
Aurora has come to live with her grandfather because of her parents death. From the initial contact with her Grandfather fearing for her safety (He sends  a cryptic note telling her to only travel on odd days), to the green Will O’ the Wisp energy that seems to be attracted to her from the moment she arrives, Aurora finds herself a large part of a legacy of evil that has awakened on the Isle.
Now locals are turning up  dead and the local Hoodoo shaman is fighting to keep the entire community safe. This story is an all ages read but I found myself a little creeped out by some of the scenes. Taylor and Hutchinson breath life into the island and its traditions. The art evokes a scary yet beautiful atmosphere. The body language the artists are able to  convey with Aurora is at the heart of why this story works. In her early days Aurora’s movements are unsure, almost coltish as she navigates the new world of Ossuary. As time passes her confidence and  proficiency in magical workings increases and she is the key to fighting the vengeful spirit that is attacking the Isle.

This is a stellar example of the quality  Graphic Novels Archaia produces. I cannot wait to get a hold of this book in its physical version.

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