HEX WIVES #3 by Ben Blacker and Mirka Andolfo
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
Ben Blacker's storytelling continues to be absolute genius while the combined effort of artist Mirka Andolfo and colorist Marissa Louise, HEX WIVES #3 looks dark as ever. However, both creatives can turn up the art and color to make HEX WIVES darker, more grotesque and uncomfortable. However, overall, HEX WIVES #3 is a definite level up from HEX WIVES #2.
98 %
Greater Teaser

Just when we thought HEX WIVES couldn’t tease us more, HEX WIVES #3 pulls the punches. Ben Blacker teases the reader with Isadora seeing her mother, and the Architects cover almost blown. Plus, we finally see a little bit of what the Architects do when they’re away from their “wives.” Mirka Andolfo’s work proves to be a scary, grotesque, and gory at times in HEX WIVES #3 with color that brings the art to life by Marissa Louise.

What’s Going On in HEX WIVES #3?

HEX WIVES #3 picks up right where we left off in HEX WIVES #2. To recap, Isadora hears scratching noises, so she follows the noise to confront what it may be, which ends up being this grotesque old woman. In HEX WIVES #3 Isadora immediately starts freaking out because the woman claims to be her mother, whom Isadora believes is dead. If her mother is the woman in the chair, then we’ve got a wild ride coming.

HEX WIVES #3 doesn’t get very far in talking about Isadora’s mother and that Isadora’s a witch. Aaron storms in, trying to convince Isadora that she sees nothing. Isadora still claims to see her mother, so Aaron knocks her out. The rest of the story shows the Architects monitoring the coven on multiple screens. Lastly, Mabel’s husband Brad suffers a horrible burn which leads to her completely disregarding his needs as he recovers.

HEX WIVES #3
HEX WIVES #3 page 6. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Here Lies a Teased Reader With Questions and Two Suspicions

First off, HEX WIVES #3 proves this series just keeps getting better (especially in the fucking with your head department). Ben Blacker’s storytelling, again is genius. The reader thinks that he’s going to both have Isadora remember who she really is and blow the Architects cover. But no, we get painfully close, then BAM, Aaron prevents that from happening. Ugh, so close. With that scene established and life seemingly back to normal for Isadora, some details do raise a few questions.

For instance, has Aaron been keeping Isadora’s mother captive for some reason or did she just appear out of the dark abyss? If Aaron is keeping her captive, then why keep her so close to Isadora? Speaking of Aaron, there are some questions about the Architects. Like how in the world are they spying on their “wives” so easily? My suspicion is that the cul-de-sac they all live in surrounded by fire is completely man-made by the Architects. Think about it, the women can’t leave, the fire is a symbolic tool used against witches (burning at the stake).

Also, only the men cleared the fire for an ambulance to reach Brad. If that doesn’t make a reader suspicious, I don’t know what will. Now, I have one last suspicion. When Brad’s brought home and Mabel seems depressed about him being injured, she also has an angry tone about him. When Damina talks to Mabel about her “daddy” needing his shot, Mabel tells her in this hateful tone to go give him his shot. Mabel saying that makes this reader think that she might be suspicious of Brad and who he really is, therefore, she’s lost all care for him.

Ben Blacker Adds Even More Layers to Our Characters

Blacker knows how to keep developing his characters all while progressing the plot. Each encounter we saw in HEX WIVES #3 proves Blacker knows how to keep things interesting in his characters lives. For instance, Isadora completely forgetting what she saw, and what Aaron said before he knocks her out is totally crazy!

HEX WIVES #3
HEX WIVES #3 page 5. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

If Isadora hadn’t forgotten what happened, HEX WIVES #3 would have gone straight into a huge conflict, but no, Blacker still wants to keep secrets low-key. Blacker’s approach is admirable because he keeps teasing the reader, all while directing our attention and interest somewhere else. Meaning, he reveals bits and pieces of the story to the reader so we know what’s going on but continues to keep the coven in the dark about the Architects. Seeing Mabel at an all-time low shows character depth. Mabel might be the first indication of the coven rediscovering who they are. Think about it, the coven is all manipulated to being these happy, traditional, and loving wives. Mabel is the only one so far that shows strong signs of steering away from the loving and caring wife role, to being a cold individual.

This last point might be a long shot. At the end when Becky decapitates the white cat, she’s levitating off the ground. I’m curious if that’s her witch powers working subconsciously. I only say this because of the short preview for HEX WIVES #4. It features Becky thinking that the cul-de-sac, Desert Canyon isn’t what it seems. Maybe Becky’s also stepping towards her origin, but we’ll have to find out in the next issue of HEX WIVES.

The Art in HEX WIVES #3 Is Dark As Ever

Mirka Andolfo knows how to keep a series dark with her work. It was nice to see more details on Isadora’s mother, for example, her teeth are all sharp like a shark.  Isadora’s mother is one scary and grotesque woman. At the end of the comic, we see a little blood and gore due to Becky stabbing a white cat, decapitating it. While Andolfo’s style is easily admirable, it would be nice if there was true gore in HEX WIVES #3. Andolfo certainly has the capabilities to make HEX WIVES even darker, more grotesque, and uncomfortable.

Let’s see the art get turned up a notch or two. Marissa Louise’s colors are attractive and go hand in hand with Andolfo’s style. Andolfo draws with sharp lines, thus Louise’s bold use of color compliments the art in place. However, there is one tiny thing that could make this comic even better — the color of blood. Now, how light the blood is in HEX WIVES #3 (referring to the decapitated cat), could be a stylistic choice, which more power to Louise if so. But it would be nice if the blood was a dark red, making it more realistic.

What Could Come of HEX WIVES #4?

There are endless possibilities. Will the coven only continue to subconsciously attempt to rediscover their true nature, or will the full truth be revealed? What will come of Mabel’s situation with Brad? Will there be a fight over the death of a white cat? All this and more may soon be discovered in HEX WIVES #4.

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