Comic Review: Spell On Wheels #1
Just in time for Halloween, a trio of comics superstars aka writer Kate Leth (Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat), artist Megan Levens (Buffy Season Ten), and colorist Marissa Louise (Merry Men) team up to tell a fun road trip yarn in Spell on Wheels #1. The story features a lively trio of witches named Jolene, Claire, and Andy, who hit the backroads of Massachusetts when Claire’s fuckboy ex steals some magical items from their apartment in order to gain magical powers himself. Not everyone can conjure up a magic sports car or make a tattoo lucky, but we’ve all had an ex, who has taken stuff that is near and dear to us. (If you’re reading this, please kindly return my signed run of Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s Wonder Woman.) Basically, what makes Spell on Wheels a fun read is Leth and Levens’ ability to mix the every day with the fantastic.
Spell on Wheels #1 focuses on setting up the premise of the miniseries and giving us a sense of our golden trio’s abilities and personalities while having a slightly creepy/charming cliffhanger for the next issue. Leth and Levens take some time to painstakingly show Claire, Jolene, and Andy looking for their magical items revealing how much being a witch means to them. (It’s also a chance for Levens to show off their gorgeous apartment and her skills at creating a rich sense of setting.) But it’s not all gloom, doom, and melodrama because Leth fills Spell on Wheels with her usual funny one liners as the friends realize that they have run out of candles for the first time in their witchly existence, and that Jolene’s road trip pick me up definitely is not coffee. This is a group of characters you won’t mind spending time with because they deeply care for each other and their craft as witches, but don’t take themselves too seriously.
Marissa Louise’s colors are integral in bridging the supernatural with the every day in Spell on Wheels #1. She uses a blue/black palette when the group is casting spells to locate their thief (who has some borrowed magic that places him just a step ahead of them so far), or when Claire is cuddling with Andy because her ex-boyfriend invaded her privacy and she doesn’t want to be alone. During the day time, Louise uses mainly greens and light browns basking in the natural world and freedom of the open road even though this trip is being taken for less than fun reasons. To go along with the spot on color choices, Megan Levens give her three leads three distinct body shapes and fashion tastes. Kate Leth gives Claire, Andy, and Jolene distinct personalities and approaches to magic. Jolene is very high energy as evidenced by the rockin’ ride she gets for their trip, and her bubbly personality even in the morning. Claire is more pensive and careful as she thinks about going to her parents and maybe even the police for help retrieving their items. Andy has the best one-liners and is super supportive of Claire; her personality isn’t as fleshed out as the other two, but there’s plenty of time for us to get to know her.
Spell on Wheels #1’s execution lives up to its intriguing premise as Kate Leth, Megan Levens, and Marissa Louise aptly balance friendship and magic when Claire, Andy, and Jolene team up to retrieve the magical items from the evil ex. That sentence makes the comic sound like a fetch quest, but the personality quirks, Levens’beautiful blend of cartooning and realism, and the promise of danger to come make this series worth picking up.
Rating: 6 out of 7