Sleepy Hollow #1: A Blast from the Past Season

sleepy hollow coverIt’s no secret that I enjoyed the first season of Sleepy Hollow, and so this summer, when I saw that Boom Comics was doing a four-issue Sleepy Hollow miniseries, I subscribed to it immediately. Four issues comes to about sixteen dollars, I figured, so if it was bad, I wasn’t paying any more for it than a reasonably priced meal, and if it was good I would definitely be getting my money’s worth. The first issue finally came out last week, and while it definitely shows promise, I’m hoping it improves as the series goes on, or I’m gonna regret not buying that dinner instead.

Written by Marguerite Bennett (yay, female comics creators!) the issue follows Abbie and Ichabod as they deal with the aftermath of Season 1’s second episode, “Blood Moon”, in which they defeated Serilda of Abbadon, a resurrected evil witch, by blowing her up. The conflict of the comic is that the ash from the explosion got into the water supply, so anyone who comes in contact with any unfiltered water is at risk to become a vessel for one of Serilda’s followers. This wouldn’t be too much of a risk if the riverside Harvest Festival wasn’t happening that same night. They arrive at the riverfront too late to stop people entering the water, but are still able to save the possessed crowd by delivering a mild electric shock, which negates the witches’ spirits’ hold.

This comic has everything I’ve come to expect from Sleepy Hollow: Team Witness fighting evil, Ichabod at (not very high-stakes) odds with the future, a moderate amount of body horror, and a decent dose of feels. I think my biggest problem with the issue is that it is set very early in the first season. Now that we’re well into the second, I was confused at first regarding the timeframe. It looks like the rest of the miniseries will also be set during the first season, and while I can respect not wanting to mess around too much with the still-unfolding storyline of Season 2, or not wanting to create a situation where you have to be one hundred percent up to date on both the show and the comic to understand the series’ whole plot, I would have liked to know that going in.

Sleepy-Hollow-Comic-PreviewFurthermore, looking back, while we certainly enjoyed “Blood Moon” at the time of its airing, it wasn’t very relevant to the ongoing storyline except for the fact that it included Andy Brooks’s resurrection. In fact, I had to go back and reread our recap to figure out who exactly Serilda of Abbadon was, because the comic didn’t give much in the way of recap. It was also jarring to see the character development set back. Abbie and Ichabod’s comic dynamic is a little more banter-y and less comradely than it is nowadays, and it took me a bit to realize that the reason that Abbie was so actively grieving over Corbin was that this issue was set near the beginning of Season 1, and thus his loss was still very recent.

On the other hand, the art is definitely a strong point in this; I’ve expressed my love for Phil Noto’s work before and his cover is lovely as always. The interior art is done by Jorge Coelho, and has a more stylistic feel while still remaining engaging. Abbie and Ichabod are easily recognizable, and some of Tom Mison’s goofier expressions translate excellently onto the page. Coelho also does great work with the more body-horror-ish scenes—they’re clearly unnatural and unnerving without being too gory or too comical.

sleepy hollow elfMost delightfully, the issue ends with a short mini-comic done by Nimona and Lumberjanes creator Noelle Stevenson, in which Ichabod and Abbie argue about what movie to watch on movie night. (Ichabod wants to watch Elf for the millionth time, as he identifies with the titular character’s fish-out-of-water-experience.)

In the end, though, my problem doesn’t lie with the story or the writing; once I was refreshed on the beginning of Season 1, it was pretty enjoyable, actually. I was just thrown off on my first read-through because of the lack of context setting the timeframe. As a further bonus, the comic even has a little bit of queer representation in it (more than the show, at least), as it includes a pair of married women who run a bakery together. What I’d really like to see from this series is a little more character development or background from some of our supporting cast, since they can’t really change anything about Ichabod and Abbie. Maybe some fleshing-out for Katrina? That certainly couldn’t do any harm. I’m cautiously looking forward to the next one now that I’m up to speed on the setting; hopefully the next three issues will provide a little bang for my four bucks.

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