HEX WIVES #6 by Ben Blacker. Mirka Andolfo, and Marissa Louise
Ben Blacker is consistent with story flow, however he speeds up the plot tremendously in HEX WIVES #5. The combined work of Mirka Andolfo and Marissa Louise showcase their best yet by combining elements of modern and abstract art. The use of layout and composition is strong as well. Overall HEX WIVES #5 is strong and a must read for the month.
93 %
Art Shines

This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for, the coven is back with blood magic in HEX WIVES #5. Ben Blacker speeds up the plot in his storytelling to deliver an epic reveal of the coven finally realizing who they really are. Mirka Andolfo and Marissa Louise create an expansive composition and three-dimensional elements in order to illustrate the story in an efficient and creative way. Needless to say, HEX WIVES #5 is the reading of a lifetime.

Good Girls Gone Bad in HEX WIVES #5

Isadora realizes her powers and so do some of the other coven members. When Isadora and Nadiya start talking about magic, Aaron suddenly bursts into the scene. He exclaims that his boss, August Kelly, and the rest of the neighborhood is coming to the house for dinner. Aaron asks Isadora and Nadiya to help prepare. As they tend to their tasks, Isadora and Nadiya talk on the phone and decide they need to convene in person about having magic powers.

Once the guests arrive, Isadora and Nadiya, break away from the party. Isadora forcibly cuts Nadiya’s arm causing them to have a short fight. The fight leads to Nadiya cutting Isadora. This sparks a magical reaction between them. Eventually, the coven gathers together and Becky’s fire powers give away their secret to the Architects. Finally, all hell breaks loose.

Did the Audience Anticipation Effect Blacker’s Flow?

Blacker’s storytelling in HEX WIVES has all led to this. The plot of HEX WIVES #5 moves fast in order to give the audience what they’ve been waiting for — the coven’s full return. As much as I love HEX WIVES #5 and Blacker’s smooth plot, I must admit, this issue seems rushed. In past HEX WIVES issues, Blacker consistently uses an easy, yet rich way of storytelling at a moderate pace. I sensed Blacker picking up the pace in HEX WIVES #4, however, I didn’t expect HEX WIVES #5  to take such a speed jump. So far, Blacker’s kept up the anticipation by establishing the coven’s life and integrating their slow discoveries. We now have a coven at near full capacity, but was the reveal well paced? Maybe not. In HEX WIVES #5, Blacker shows the coven using their powers.

HEX WIVES #5 page 1. Image courtesy DC Comics.

With that said, there are gaps in the plot. In HEX WIVES #4, the coven just started feeling suspicious about themselves and their husbands. I feel like we didn’t have enough time between the previous issues to see the coven watch their husband’s actions. Granted, we have seen a few panels in HEX WIVES #4 illustrating the coven’s self-awareness. However, I still feel HEX WIVES #5 could have used a few panels to continue that idea. Another plot flaw is how Isadora’s now the driving force of the discussion on the coven’s powers. Isadora was skeptical in HEX WIVES #4 and we never saw her truly believe in her powers. The only indication we had in the previous issue was Isadora slicing her arm with a kitchen knife. Where’s her belief? I feel words would have filled this gap.

Despite the Speed and Gaps in Writing, the Plot Flows Perfectly

Though Blacker’s writing has changed a little, he doesn’t fail to deliver an easy flow for the reader to follow. With the combined strength of Andolfo and Louise, HEX WIVES #5 is the reading of a lifetime. The composition is expansive and the art style seems to be a fine line between modern and abstract. In some layouts, you have clean cut panels without any expanding elements. This is where modern art shines the most.

In the majority of HEX WIVES #5, we have our layouts highly expansive using long panels and three-dimensional effects in sometimes jagged shapes. This is creative and appealing to the reader. Plus, the idea of using long panels and three-dimensional shows more scene in each panel, providing the reader with a more fulfilled viewing experience.

HEX WIVES #5 page 4. Image courtesy of DC Comics.

A Beautiful Combination of Illustration and Color

After Isadora and Nadiya’s fight, we see some beautiful panels. These are the strongest in composition and color. When Isadora and Nadiya join hands, the entire page is filled with an abstract background that’s illustrated like a painting, hence the carefully planned brush strokes. Louise uses a rainbow ombre as well to perhaps signify that Isadora and Nadiya are lesbians. This is appropriate and subtly shows the inclusivity of the LGBTQIA+ community. I think the layout for this page is so sweet and a beautiful picture of love between two people.

Final Thoughts on HEX WIVES #5

Overall, HEX WIVES #5 left a great impression in all categories. But in future issues, Blacker needs to go back to his moderate pacing so the reader isn’t caught by surprise by how fast the story moves. I loved Andolfo and Louise’s creativity so much in HEX WIVES #5. I hope to see more work at this level or higher.

I’d love to see Andolfo and Louise use modern art combined with a different style along with the same composition used in this issue, just to see what they’re made of. Now that the coven has their powers, does this mean their memories return as well? This part isn’t quite clear enough. Hopefully, HEX WIVES #6 will show us more of the effects of the coven’s discoveries. What’s going to happen now that all hell’s broken loose? Will it be all-out war between the coven and the Architects? We just have to wait for the magic to happen.

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