The Witcher Omnibus (Vol. 1) by Paul Tobin

details
Title: The Witcher Omnibus.
Volume: 1.
Writer(s): Paul Tobin, Borys Pugacz-Muraszkiewicz & Karolina Stachyra.
Artist(s): Joe Querio, Max Bertolini & Piotr Kowalski.
Colourist(s): Carlos Badilla & Brad Simpson.
Letterer(s): Nate Piekos of Blambot.
Publisher: Dark Horse Books.

Format
:
Paperback.
Release Date: December 3rd, 2019.
Pages: 440.
Genre(s): Comics, Fantasy, Horror.
ISBN13: 9781506713946.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.

thoughts

Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski probably didn’t see coming the Westernized treatment of his beloved Witcher saga over the past years. From movies, television series, video games, and comic books, the various adaptations remain tantalizing to voracious and hungry fantasy aficionados all around the world. With the recent Netflix television series adaptation that unleashes actor Henry Cavill as the witcher, there was no denying its timely and fitting arrival in the entertainment field for viewers around the world as it fills in the void left by HBO’s Game of Thrones. But how are the comics compared to the rest of these adaptations? In the hands of the multi-Eisner award-winning writer Paul Tobin, publisher Dark Horse continues their foray into adapting critically-acclaimed video games into comic book stories with the dreary and rugged adventures of the infamous witcher Geralt of Rivia.

What is The Witcher Omnibus (Vol. 1) about? Collecting all three volumes written by Paul Tobin (House of Glass, Fox Children, and Curse of Crows), a one-shot story titled Killing Monsters, and a sketchbook section featuring additional artwork, this omnibus is a diverting visual adaptation of the video game developed by CD Projekt Red, which has greatly grown in popularity since the release of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. While some are original stories (see House of Glass), others are adaptations of certain chapters of Season of Storms (see Fox Children), but all follow Geralt of Rivia on a myriad of adventures as he slays fiends, completes contracts, tries to enjoy baths, and teaches humans a couple of lessons on monsters.

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In this omnibus, The House of Glass story arc introduces readers to a variety of creatures within the Witcher universe while exploring the concept of true love. The Fox Children story arc continues down the same lane and presents other fascinating creatures while showcasing the witcher’s vast knowledge of monsters and his understanding of their customs to solve mysteries. The Curse of Crows story arc focuses on the lore behind strigas and finally includes Ciri and Yennefer into the narrative. The Killing Monsters one-shot story is a quick tale where humans are illustrated as monsters amidst the presence of an ugly creature roaming in the darkness of the forest.

These all contain plenty of neat ideas explored through different characters but every time you turn a corner thinking that you’re about to be impressed, the story skids into an underwhelming web of standstills and gimmicks. The pacing is a noteworthy issue that is inconsistent from one story to another, unable to find a rhythm that works well with the linear storylines. The action sequences are another problem as writer Paul Tobin struggles to make them interesting, resorting rather to hack-and-slash tactics or a simple Witcher spell (igni, aard, etc.) to solve the problem within a page, making it all rather underwhelming.

Artist Joe Querio’s does a fairly great job in utilizing a shadow-heavy and blurred visual style, especially for facial expressions, that captures the grim and depressive atmosphere within the different regions in the Witcher saga. While he allows the omnibus to maintain artistic consistency for the first two stories, the illustration duties are then handed over to Max Bertolini for the one-shot story and then Piotr Kowalski for the final story arc. The former accentuates shadows and prefers a rougher and less clean style that remains within the same veins as Joe Querio’s established vision for this comic book universe. The latter steers slightly away from the previous artworks and utilizes designs closer to the video games, giving the story a refreshing touch that works for the better.

The Witcher Omnibus (Vol. 1) is a solid collection of stories that further expands the lore, despite story-telling flaws, and paves the way to riveting adventures featuring Geralt of Rivia.


EXHIBITA

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Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!

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The video game adaptation of the classic fantasy series was released on May 15, 2015, and garnered incredible praise across all platforms to become one of the greatest video games ever released.

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23 comments

  • LOL, I just finished reading it a few days ago! 😉 My rating is similar to yours, though a bit lower (as you could have probably expected ;)) I’ll be putting the review on the blog in a week or so, so we can compare notes then! In short, though, I was underwhelmed, especially by the Curse of Crows which, while admittedly pleasant to the eye, was awfully derivative and very heavily and unoriginal, fully dependent on one of Sapkowski’s better known short stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What are the odds hahaha I actually finished this a month ago and just got around to publishing it. And honestly, I’d give a lower rating if I could but I just felt like it was a passable omnibus that newcomers can still enjoy, especially IF they didn’t read the books. My rating probably would be closer to a 2.6342 though. 😀

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  • After Ola and Pio’s review of the netflix tv series, and not being a gamer and not much a comic reader (any more), I don’t foresee myself getting into this franchise, except by accident some how 🙂

    Have you played the games at all?

    Liked by 1 person

    • What’s making you hesitant about checking out the books? The premise, the story, the characters or the world doesn’t appeal much to you?

      I have only played the 3rd one (the one in the trailer) and found that it must’ve been what sparked a desire to do a TV series with how much success it garnered hahah

      Liked by 1 person

      • My hesitancy comes from having so many books I already want to read that adding another series that spawned video games and a tv series is not high. I do admit, I’m a bit biased against video games so that probably plays a bigger part than anything…

        Liked by 1 person

  • I’d give it a try. I didn’t like the tv show that much. Admittedly I stopped watching after episode 3 or 4 and I am not a tv person, so that does not help.
    I would love to take a peek at the graphic novel 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think the TV series was the best adaptation they could’ve pulled off based on the books or the video games. There’s definitely stuff to appreciate from the graphic novels if you don’t plan on checking out the books though! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  • I’ve been really curious about The Witcher stories since I first heard of them, though I’ve yet to watch, read, or play any of them. I hear good things about the Netflix series, but I’m thinking I’ll likely start with the books first. Have you read any of them?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t read them yet and am sort of keeping them for last actually hahah I’ve watched the show and wouldn’t say that it’s the best thing out there; it has its flaws. But I think anyone who is thinking of seriously getting into this world should probably go for the books first.

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  • Loved ten words – shadow heavy and blurred visual style. Great words, gave me perfect imagery of how the expressions would be. Lovely review.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Great review Lashaan! I had no idea there were so many things based on The Witcher, maybe this means I have to read it or watch it or at least learn a bit more about it 😂 What would you recommend to start with? 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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