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On The Shelf: ‘Spell On Wheels’ by Kate Leth, Megan Levens, and Marissa Louise

Credit: Dark Horse Comics

‘Sup readers? Welcome back to On The Shelf, and this week, I have a question for you: how much do you love Charmed? What about Practical Magic? Do you wish you could relive the warm-and-fuzzies those gems brought you via a modern spin on the concept of witches? If that’s the case, then allow me to introduce you to Spell On Wheels, a 5-issue miniseries published by Dark Horse from Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat! writer Kate Leth, Madame Frankenstein artist Megan Levens, and Escape From New York colourist Marissa Louise.

Spell On Wheels follows a trio of witches who you’re going to want as your best friends immediately. Jolene is a technopath who can control emotions, Claire is a Canadian (represent!) psychic with a gift for reading tarot cards, and Andy, the youngest of the group, has a knack for spells, charms, and potions.When their house’s magical defences are breached by an old enemy and their magical possessions are stolen, the witches embark on a cross-country road trip to reclaim their stuff and face their darkest hour (so far) head on. Along the way, they deal with issues of pervy old men, angry spirits, Stepford housewives practicing dark magic, and a self-exiled satyr (two thumbs way way up to the people who found Beast more attractive before his transformation back into a prince).

Honestly, Spell On Wheels is the perfect blend of unmitigated sass, unbreakable friendships, awesome side-quests, and yes, magic. I don’t rightly know what to say about it except that it was exactly what I wanted when I pre-ordered it. Leth has weaved together a spellbinding story, one that is perfectly offset by Levens’ beautiful, simplistic art style. I must admit, I am a sucker for the work of colourists (like to the point where sometimes, I will continue an ongoing series because “Ooh, pretty colours…”  and no, that’s not an exaggeration), and Marissa Louise’s work is no exception. On their own, these creators are great, when put together, the end result is nothing short of phenomenal.

Also, if you’re looking for characters you can really connect with: this is the book for you. While I personally related most to Claire (eh?), all three protagonists are fleshed out (as much as a miniseries will allow, anyway), likeable and distinct. The dynamic between them is fresh and invigorating, with no weird secret hate/jealousy happening betwixt them (why is this a theme I’m seeing in literature lately? Why is it happening in literature targeted at adults? But that’s neither here nor there. Spell On Wheels is the exact opposite of that unfortunate trope, and it gave me life), just a genuine friendship. This is a tightly-written, heartfelt, humorous romp that you’ll want to read over and over again.

I can’t get super in-depth when talking about the book, specifically because every issue is essential to the plot. It’s one of the few series I’ve read that’s all relevance, no extra filling, because it stands on its own without the help of fluff or puff. One thing I can say with absolute confidence is that the ending, left open, is practically inviting Dark Horse to turn it into a full-fledged series (please, please, please turn it into an ongoing series. I have questions about issue 2, even after reading it over twice: I still have questions). No plot holes are left, per se, but there’s enough left dangling throughout the story (*cough!* issue 2) to set up future story threads. We can only hope that Dark Horse will make the decision to bring Leth back on board to continue wreaking magical mischief in the world of Spell On Wheels.

Wow. This may be the shortest review I’ve written up to date, but for real, Spell On Wheels is probably one of my favourite reads of the year. You should definitely buy it, because not only does it deserve a spot on your shelf so you can proudly read it, then show it off to your friends, if it does well enough as a one-off, Dark Horse might see its potential as an ongoing. If you love Charmed, comics, or need a little bit of a pick me up, you can buy Spell On Wheels here.

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