Comics Are Trying to Break Your Heart #141: Last Witch Standing
Earlier this year, I took a look at a new series from Conor McCreery, V.V. Glass, Natalia Nesterenko, and Jim Campbell: The Last Witch. As the year has wound down, the series ended and the series has now been collected as a trade. But that’s not the whole story. Literally. Although this was solicited as a five-issue miniseries, the story is not yet quite over. And what makes this interesting is that this isn’t the first series I’ve looked at recently that has ended a miniseries on a cliff-hanger with the hopes for more to come later.
Since we had last talked about The Last Witch, Saoirse has discovered her latent witch abilities, is now on a quest with her brother, Brahm, and their Nan to defeat four powerful witch sisters and their leader to prevent them from opening a door to the fae realm and unleashing the world-eating Fairy King. More or less, from playing in the woods to preventing the end of days—the story has escalated its stakes quite a bit. And even by the end of this volume, three of the four witch sisters has been met and dealt with by Saoirse and her ever-increasing magical skill with the ley-lines pointing her where to go for the final sister. But there is also doubt. McCreery, Glass, Nesterenko, and Campbell have set up a background menace to the whole thing—even at the end of this story, we don’t quite know who we’re supposed to be rooting for.
And it is this ending that comes with an implicit promise of more story sometime in the future. Nothing yet, however, has been announced for the series continuation. This collected edition isn’t listed as a volume one or a book one or anything like that, though. But why? This has been the trend for a few other series in the past like Outer Darkness and Chainsaw Man, but it does leave readers unsure of the story’s future. It does make sense from a production standpoint—creators can get a break between these volumes instead of continually worrying about making monthly deadlines and having the story suffer as a result. A series like The Last Witch would benefit from this spacing out greatly as Glass’ artwork is a thing to behold on every page. But we’re all still wondering when we get to see their art and the rest of the story continue.
Comics are in a weird place at the moment. Many of the best-selling series are some of these larger volumes sold in bookstores and away from the direct-market comic shops. But then monthly issues are the lifeblood of every comic shop as that keeps people coming into the store every week. When a series is as good as The Last Witch, waiting doesn’t feel too bad if it was switching to volumes instead of monthly issues. But then I like receiving my stories in those small, quick little floppies every week. We don’t know if this kind of comic serialization is going to continue, so we’ll just have to see if more series stick with this kind of model or not.
Get excited. Get witchy.