Witches #1-4 (2004): Satana returns, Andy Kale dies

Remember when Doctor Strange formed The Defenders?  That was a little odd.  Why would the sorcerer supreme form and lead an action hero team?  Well, Witches makes more sense—he brings together a coven to fight a supernatural threat.

We start with Andy Kale, who we haven’t seen in many years.  His sister, Jennifer Kale, is a competent spellcaster.  Andy’s pretty much always been a bystander.  Andy is working in the New York Public Library and finds a hidden cache of magical tomes.  Andy being Andy, he accidentally conjures a demon named Hellphyr.

Hellphyr binds itself to Andy Kale, and only a blood relative can break the bond.  The magic-based heroes of the world are all aware of something very, very wrong happening.

Those two pictures are great.  This story is off to a fun start.

Topaz, a former student of Stephen Strange, poofs into the Sanctum Sanctorum shortly after the demon’s awakening.

Then, Strange summons Jennifer Kale to serve as the blood relative to help exorcise Hellphyr.  For additional support, he raises Santana from the dead.

She’s a little crazy. I guess being dead will do that to you?

Lilith then gets involved.  She notices Strange seems weaker and sends a demon to test the three witches.

That’s Lilith, the daughter of Dracula, by the way.  I thought it was Lilith the Mother of Demons, but Doctor Strange explains later that she’s taken up magic in her spare time.

Jennifer gets tired of waiting and heads over to her brother’s house who, by this time, is fully possessed. By the way, I wasn’t aware that Jennifer Kale was gay, but here’s an exchange between her and Satana…

The other witches go to the apartment to help Jennifer.  They find that Satana’s father is there as well.  Yes, the Devil.  The witches fight him, and the possessed Andy Kale, and in the end, Jennifer is forced to kill her brother.

While that’s happening, Strange confronts Lilith and is able to send her packing just before she tries to bite him and turn him into a vampire.

With both Lilith and Hellphyr gone, Doctor Strange returns to the three witches.  They have successfully taken possession of the book that unleashed Hellphyr and started this all.  Strange demands that they give it to him to protect, but they decide to keep it, form a coven, and protect it themselves.

The ending is a little rushed, though.  It was apparently intended to be an ongoing series but was cancelled after four issues.  That’s a shame.  I really enjoyed reading this series.  These characters are tremendously underdeveloped, and it was fun to see them in action.  Apparently, it was created in 2001 but then put on hold and by the time they decided to publish issues #1-4, which were completed, Brian Walsh and Mike Deodato had moved on to do other work.  As a result, Will Conrad was hired to finish some of the initial art submitted by Deodato, and fill in areas that were incomplete.

Leave a Comment