Witcher: Of Flesh and Flame #1
Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Aleksandra Motyka
Artist: Marianna Strychowska
Dark Horse has published multiple books set within CD Projekt Red’s Witcher universe, and here we get the newest miniseries Of Flesh and Flame with an entirely new writer/artist team working on it than any of the prior series. I’m a big fan of the Witcher series, both the games (Witcher 3 is in my top 5 games of all time) and the novels by Andrzej Sapkowski the games are based off, but I hadn’t yet delved into the comic experience until this issue. And I have to say, after this #1 I’ve got high hopes for the miniseries.
Of Flesh and Flame is an original tale which follows everyone’s favorite white-haired mutant Geralt of Rivia traveling to the free city of Novigrad after completing a contract. After a brief conflict in the marketplace, he meets with an old acquaintance and receives a new job, thus setting up the plot of this new series.
The plot in this issue is pretty straightforward, and it’s mostly setup for events to come, but that’s not to say nothing happens in this #1. Even though there is minimal conflict aside from a few small skirmishes, what we get feels very much like scenes pulled straight from Witcher 3. But considering Aleksandra Motyka was a writer for Witcher 3 as well as its expansion Blood and Wine, that should be no surprise. All the dialogue is what you’d expect from each character, from Geralt’s sarcastic wit to the peasantry’s vernacular. And there’s a rather comedic scene involving a familiar face from the games that feels exactly like something you’d find in the games.
Of course, writing is only half of the experience, and Marianna Strychowska’s art perfectly complements this story. The characters are drawn expressive and lively, and even background characters are fairly detailed and always in motion, feeling like genuine characters and not simply props or backdrops. There’s a section that includes a bar fight taking place in the background while characters converse in the foreground, and when the background eventually crosses into the foreground it just adds to the lived-in feeling of the setting. Every character on the page, even the ones without speaking parts, feel like they are doing more than just standing around to fill space on the page.
Another great part of the art is the coloring. The shades aren’t too bright, but the colors really pop on the page, and I love the way they have Geralt’s medallion glow every time he’s nearby something magical. It’s a small touch, but a nice one nonetheless. If I had any complaints with the artwork, at times Geralt’s face is a bit too expressive considering he’s supposed to be an “emotionless” witcher, but on that same point we do get a lot of great faces from Geralt I don’t think we would have ever seen otherwise.
This is a good first edition to the miniseries. With only three more books to come in the run, we most likely won’t get an epic tale in the same vein as The Wild Hunt, but it’s already shaping up to be a fun story with Geralt and friends. Hopefully, the next few issues don’t disappoint.
Witcher: Of Flesh and Flame #1
A promising beginning to this new miniseries.