THE WITCHER: FADING MEMORIES #1/ Story by BARTOSZ SZTYBOR/ English Dialogue Adaptation by TRAVIS CURRIT/ Art by AMAD MIR /Colors by HAMIDREZA SHEYKH/ Letters by STEVE DUTRO/ Published by DARK HORSE COMICS
Times are tough for Geralt of Rivia. In truth times are always tough for a Witcher, as monster hunters are, at best, tolerated as a necessary evil by most folk. But Geralt’s coin purse is as light as his heart is heavy and reports of magical beasts in need of slaying are few and far between of late. He has dignity enough to refuse to pit himself against a local champion in a bar brawl for the promise of payment yet humbles himself to help a friendly fisherman with his catch. This leaves Geralt wondering what will become of the monster hunters should there one day be no monsters left to hunt?
It is a question Geralt quickly puts aside when his doldrums are broken by tales of trouble in the city of Towitz. It is said that Foglets have begun kidnapping the boys of the town. Something about the story seems off to Geralt, but he can scarcely afford to turn down an offer of employment, even as the simple life of a fisherman starts to seem more appealing to the world-weary Witcher.
I’ve yet to be exposed to the world of The Witcher beyond the Netflix television series. The books are on my list of Things I Shall Read When I Have More Time To Read and I bought the video games during a Steam sale but have yet to install them. I do like what I have seen of the setting, however, and was curious how well the adventures of Geralt would translate into a comic book format.
Fairly well, as it turns out.
The story by Bartosz Sztybor is suitably interesting and action-packed, perfectly capturing what I know of Geralt’s character and the world of The Witcher. I can’t vouch for the quality of the English translation by Travis Currit, but I can confirm that the story will be easily accessible to anyone who comes into this series completely ignorant of the Witcher mythology and that the basic idea is explained with a minimum of exposition. The focus here is strictly on Geralt’s character and we are shown things rather than being told them.
The artwork by Amad Mir captures the dire tone of the series well, presenting a world that is full of deep shadows and foreboding even on what is nominally a nice day with a blue sky and only white clouds on the horizon. The colors by Hamidreza Sheykh tend toward cool blues and greys, with warm colors being used to punctuate the action scenes and the few moments when Geralt feels at peace. The lettering by Steve Dutro shifts with the characters’ voices and subtly hints at the identity of the unseen narrator of this first chapter.
Fans of the Netflix series, the games and the original novels will find Fading Memories to be a worthy addition to the world of The Witcher. Those few comic readers unfamiliar with the franchise may be impressed enough to give it a try based on this first chapter. It will also appeal to those sword-and-sorcery fans looking for a change of pace from Conan and Red Sonja.
The Witcher: Fading Memories #1 releases on November 25, 2020.