Tarot, Witch of the Black Rose #137: Raven Hex’s Merry Hexmas!

Written and drawn by Jim Balent, along with letterer and editor Holly Golightly, 137 is this series’ annual Christmas issue. And like most of the series’ recent Christmas issues, it features the return of the dreaded Krampus.

The story opens on the night of December 5th for some reason, and Raven is sleeping soundly (while snoring loudly) in her bed, when The Krampus suddenly appears, grabs her out of bed, and instantly teleports them both to a small village in Austria, where a mysterious force has frozen or slaughtered the entire inhabitants. Since the people are all “commoners”, Rex couldn’t care less and just want to go back home, but Krampus is upset because with everyone dead that prevents him from punishing the humans on his naughty list, which is what he does. Thus he brought Raven in hopes that she can use her magic to help him figure out who is behind the mayhem and then eliminate them. Just then they get attacked by a rampaging reindeer skeleton and a large fanged bloodthirsty snowman.

And then shit gets weird.

Raven and Krampus do encounter the being behind the madness, he’s an evil villainous version of Jack Frost. And he’s got a book of spells which he plans to use to unleash his attack on the rest of the world. Can Raven and Krampus find a a way to defeat him before it’s too late?

Well, of course they do, but I’m not going to spoil how, you’ll have to read the story to find out for yourself.

Oh yeah, did I mention that Raven is naked in this entire issue? Because she is. She was sleeping naked when Krampus grabbed her. When they get to Austria he gives her a magic belt with two cowbells attached which he ties around her breasts, which protects her from the cold. Because giving her regular clothes would be too sensible, and Jim Balent knows what his audience wants from this book. Although Balent draws this issue in a different style than his usual art, it’s hard for me to explain what I mean, but some of the pages come off a bit more like sketches than completed art. I presume that’s on purpose but I don’t understand why.

Storywise, the only complaint I’d have is it’s never explained by Krampus grabbed Raven instead of Tarot who is, after all, the actual star of the book. Not that it’s unusual to have Raven as the lead occasionally, but there’s usual a reason for that. At one point Krampus even says “I should have picked the read haired witch,” yeah, so why didn’t her? The story would have worked just as well with Tarot and Krampus fighting Frost, with the only different being that Tarot would have felt more concerned when she saw what happened to the villagers. But I guess that’s nitpicking, Balent must have just wanted to feature Raven and it’s his book, so be it.

The issue also features a pin-up of this month’s Broadsword Girl, Markee De Saw. This is another solid issue from this long-running independent comic-book series. Chacebook rating: FOUR STARS

Available in print from and digitally from Amazon

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