In volume one, Nyneve is just trying to get through school without exploding any buildings or attracting the military’s attention during the conscription trials. Unfortunately, both happen within the span of a few days. While the building is easily repaired with magic, the Witch Guard will not be dissuaded from conscripting Nyneve into service even though she had a poor showing in the trials. In a panic, Nyneve rushes home and cuts off all her ankle length hair, which she has been hiding under a shortening glamour. But cutting your hair is a punishable offense since it diminishes your magic power, so Nyneve finds herself on the run. Her mother stays behind to slow Nyneve’s pursuers and is captured and placed under house arrest. Nyneve travels into the wilds and finds herself rescued by a raven. Ravens are usually spies for the Witch Guard, but Banana can speak without the aid of magic and wants Nyneve to join the resistance.
In volume two, Banana and Nyneve meet new friends and allies as Nyneve continues to question her future and place. Briefly finding a place with a small section of the resistance, Nyneve feels out of place and decides to leave in the night, telling no one. After almost being caught in a city and being reunited with her school friends who were conscripted, Nyneve is willing to follow Banana’s suggestion that she visit a remote broom maker to craft her own transportation.
Full of Asian and Oceanic cultural references, Witchy is sure to bring more diversity to your graphic novel collection. The unique magic system power measured by hair length, is sure to delight readers looking for something different than the prominent magic school or wand wielding tropes. Since the themes of witch burning, on-page misgendering, and violence are included, this series is intended for teenagers and older teenagers.
The illustrations have a blended watercolor quality to them and the curvy lines do an excellent job at creating motion and capturing emotion. The care and attention to detail is clear on each page and the creator makes good use of close ups and landscapes to aid the storytelling. The second volume seems to have less action, especially in the second half of the book, but the pacing allows Nyneve to reflect and grow without being rushed in her decisions.
Witchy is a webcomic and can be found at witchycomic.com. According to the website more volumes past the first two are forthcoming but are currently on hiatus until a different project is finished.
Witchy, Vols. 1 & 2
By Ariel Slamet Ries
Oni Press, 2022
ISBN: vol 1 ISBN: 9781549304811
vol 2 ISBN: 9781637150184
Publisher Age Rating: 13-18
NFNT Age Recommendation: Older Teen (16-18), Teen (13-16)
Creator Representation: Australian