Published by: Dark Horse Comics - Writer: Paul Tobin - Art: Joe Querio - Colors: Carlos Badilla
Geralt has never been everyone’s cup of tea, but Jakob, a hunter he comes upon in the opening pages of Witcher #1, doesn’t even bat an eye. In fact, he goes so far as to offer him cheese and onions (which probably tastes as wonderful as it sounds) and even his hard caught fish. Pretty impressive, as some people will wince even if you ask them for directions, much less even think about sharing a small piece of their subway sandwich.
Jakob’s past is the center of this initial arc, and he fills the book with soul. Geralt’s style of character is at its best when playing off of others, and Jakob fills that supportive role quite well. For the record, there will be spoilers here, but I do recommend you give the issue a read for yourself. You can also scroll down to see the free preview.
MAJOR SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT ON
You see, Jakob used to have a wife, whose name was Marta. On an ill-advised journey into the black forest, Marta was taken, bitten, and subsequently turned by a group of vampires. This was not the end of his and Marta’s story however, as since that fateful day she has been watching him from afar, never approaching, but still within plain sight. The only acknowledgment of her coming is the humming of the songbirds, which comes into play later on in a nice callback. The haunting image of your dead wife still watching over you from afar is made even more poignant by the wonderful illustration and colors of artist Joe Querio and colorist Carlos Badilla, respectively.
Since her turning, Marta has had a habit of going all wakka flocka on other travelers who happen upon the area, something Jakob has been attempting to prevent for the past 9 years. After conveying this to Geralt, he asks if he would enjoy some company on his journey. It seems it's time for him to move on, so Geralt accepts. Paul Tobin captures the spirit of the games so well throughout the entire book, but especially after this point in the story. The sense of mystery and tension permeates the air as they travel through the black forest, and monster encounters succeed in furthering that erie feeling, as they rightfully should. There is room for some light, however, due to Geralt’s "it is what it is" mentality. It’s through his demeanor that Tobin succeeds in breaking up the suspense with some nice moments of levity. These conversations also give Jakob’s personality room to manifest itself, and while I’m not sure how high the chances are, I would be interested in seeing Jakob stick around for a little while.
I mentioned Querio’s pencils and Badilla’s colors before, and those also shine in the second half. The last 4 pages especially feature some beautiful artwork, and like everything else in the book, the art fits the tone of the Witcherverse just perfectly. I can’t wait to see more from this team.
The book ends on a suspenseful note, with Marta giving a helping hand to the duo whilst leading them to her (supposed) home. With a door creak, the issue ends. The book is off to a promising start, and I’m looking forward to spending much more time in the world of The Witcher.