cover image Witchblood: The Hounds of Love

Witchblood: The Hounds of Love

Matthew Erman and Lisa Sterle. Vault, $19.99 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-63849-084-5

Erman and Sterle (the Long Lost series) collaborate again on this heart-pounding, neon-drenched Wild West fantasy-adventure, where centuries-old conflicts between vampires, witches, and hex hunters come to a head in small-town Texas. Immortal alchemical witch Yonna and her reluctant allies must stop the vampire group The Hounds of Love from finding Esmerelda Spiritus Mundi, the origin of all magic, and drinking her blood. As the stakes rise higher and the sky turns a bloodstained red, Yonna and her friends attempt an ambitious feat: creating a philosopher’s stone. The bonds and banter between the characters and detailed worldbuilding add depth beyond the gimmick of western-styled supernaturals. The art has Kim & Kim vibes and breakneck pacing; colorist Gab Contreras’s saturated neon-sunset hues lend even more energy to an already vibrant script. Erman’s snappy dialogue (“I am not an afterthought so let me show you what I’ve got!”) is enhanced by clever lettering choices with cutesy labeled sound effects (the backdrops cartoonishly announce their “smolder” and “splish”). Though the fast and furious pitch can get overwhelming, it’s addictive reading. Agent: Peter Ryan, Stimola Literary Studio. (Apr.)