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Thursday, 27 April 2017

Witching Hour 85 - the Three Witches end

The Witching Hour comes to an end with issue 85 (Oct. 78). Like so many other comics, it was a victim of the DC Implosion.

By this time, the Three Witches had been reduced to having a single page introduction, which was largely played for comedy. Sometimes it was even funny. There were four stories in this final issue, and as is my pattern, I will cover each of those.

Mordred relates the first story, by George Kashdan and Fred Carillo, and deals with a scientist experimenting on improving the intelligence of rats, and a former professor fallen on hard times.

The story plays out in a fairly obvious manner. The scientist takes the guy in, and tends to him, but he gets very ill. The scientist has been extracting his brain matter and putting it into the rats. At the end, the rats escape and kill the scientist in vengeance, now sharing the man's feelings.

The second story, narrated by Mildred, is by Carl Wessler and Jerry Grandenetti, and is set in France, dealing with a dwarf who is also the executioner for Paris. He is in love with a woman, who has a passionate but heated relationship with a handsome and buff man.

The dwarf frames the man for the murder of a drunk in their boarding house, and brags to him that he is the real killer before guillotining off his head. He has his own head sewn onto the man's body, so that he can now win over the woman, only to find out the guy has a weak heart, and the former dwarf dies as well.

Wessler also scripts the third story in the issue, with art by Ken Landgraf and Danny Bulanadi. The Mordred narrated tale may not look the most impressive, but it's the only one where the ending genuinely surprised me. It deals with two killers who murder a man, but the guy's brother was a witness. The killers rush off to a plastic surgeon to get new faces, though the doctor suspects they will kill him afterwards. He decides to do something during the surgery to make sure the guys will go to jail. But what?

I thought perhaps he would just switch the killers' faces with each other, or something like that. Instead, the doctor gave the two killers the faces of the two brothers, the dead man and the witness. Clever.

Cynthia closes out the issue, telling a story by Kashdan, with art by Ernesto Patricio and Ernie Santiago. The tale deals with a shady couple who stick their nephew into an obviously supernatural boarding school to get rid of him, after the guy steals his brother's company and drives him to have a heart attack.

It's all fairly obvious, so when the kid returns for vengeance, with a murderous crow reminiscent of the one in the movie Damien: Omen 2, which had come out a few months before, there are no surprises.

The Three Witches return a couple of months down the road, when The Unexpected expands in size, and the Witching Hour becomes a rotating, and then permanent, feature there.

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