Current Reviews


Black Enchantress #1

Posted: Saturday, January 8, 2005
By: Ray Tate

"Birth of the Black Enchantress"
"Secrets of the Black Enchantress"
"Witch of the Bayou"

Writers: Wilson Hill
Artists: J.Adam Walters, Rob Lansley, Keith Chancey and Tom Luth(c)
Publisher: Heroic

Black Enchantress reminds one a lot of seventies Marvel horror magazines and comics--especially those featuring Satanna and Gabriel, that Jason Blood type excommunicated priest/demonslayer. The title character is as she states in the second story "a villain," and because of this she does some things that many would no doubt term evil. Though I have to say in the first story, the creative team make it perfectly clear that she is trying to survive with the odds definitely against her. Regardless she racks up an impressive body count in the bayou.

Black Enchantress in the second story also states that her goal is nothing more than world domination--a goal fostered by every powerful villain worth his or her salt. This also means that sometimes to achieve her goal, her ends turn out to be good. In this first story for instance, Black Enchantress cleanses the gene pool of dumb hicks who claim their lives have been cursed but in reality, similar to the zombie hunting posse in Night of the Living Dead, are just looking for excuses to shoot people. Rational folk would not take up guns and begin The World's Most Dangerous Game just because of some cattle problems and inclement weather. They haven't even seen if the Enchantress weighs as much as a duck. "Ni!"

The inks in the first story by Rob Lansley and the colors by Keith Chancey over J. Adam Walters' pencils I'm sorry to say give the entirety a poor-man's Steve Leihola look. Chancey does though provide excellent colors for the cover, and the change does not get in the way of the narrative which features a neat little twist involving time travel. The entire appearance does however create some sharp drops in quality that can easily be seen in the second and third stories where Walters' provides inks for his own pencils and where colorist Tom Luth does not blur the shades. Here the artwork rises to a decent level, and the unbusy details enhance the setting and characters.

The second story is a nice way to introduce the Black Enchantress to new readers and tells you all you need to know about her. The artist exhibits a stronger command of body language than a helluva lot of so-called uber-professionals who delight in adding extra ribs to better mannequin the female characters over at DC. This attention to expression and the fun dialogue all keep what is essentially exposition interesting.

The third story bears all the strengths of the first two stories. It maintains the "perverse" streak of the Marvel magazines with a glimpse of nudity and implied debauchery. Nothing however approaching the anal-sex levels of Marvel Max or the rape strata of Identity Crisis or the Gwen Stacy/Norman Osborn sweaty corpse boogie for so-called all-ages titles like Amazing Spider-Man, or hey how about the power drill torture of--oh, let's just say Black Enchantress in comparison looks positively chaste.

The third story features the strong artwork displayed in the second story as well as the overall flow of both tales. The final story also maintains and reinforces the Black Enchantress' characterization that of a villain who sometimes does good for her own interests.

Black Enchantress casts three good stories with two having better artwork than the third. The character is an interesting throwback to a more innocent time of Marvel grue and a little tease, but be warned, the final tale continues next issue. So don't be surprised to be enticed to pick up the second issue of The Black Enchantress.

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