The story, as the name suggests, follows two young witches in training at a veterinary clinic for magical animals. The pair, the bumbling Clarion Wellspring and social outcast Annette Artifice, are left in charge of the clinic when the head doctor and her support staff are called away for an important surgery. The two girls, already overwhelmed and at odds, are forced to work together when a strange infection threatens to take over the clinic’s magical patients.
From the first panel, I was struck with the simplistic beauty of this comic. The style is playful and bubbly, using its simplicity of design not as a crutch but as a method to make everything pleasant to the eye. Out of everything there is to like in this comic - and there is plenty - the art is what I came away truly loving. It reminded me of such wonders as Steven Universe and Over the Garden Wall without feeling derivative or as if it was intentionally trying to evoke those pieces.
The writing, by comparison, didn't leave quite as large an impact. It isn't bad by any means; the narrative moves smoothly and there isn't a bit of fluff. The book does lose points a bit for one or two noticeable spelling errors that I would have expected to have been caught during the editing process, but that isn't enough to ruin things for me. It's clear that the story was written with a younger audience in mind, and, in that regard, I think everything meshes together extremely well.
My biggest complaint when it comes to art aimed at children is its tendency to disregard quality and meaningful storytelling, relying instead on tired morals and clichés. Hex Vet: Witches in Training rises above this to actually create something child friendly while still providing fresh ideas. I especially loved the small touch of including an art tutorial at the end of the book that explained how a comic book goes from sketches to finalization. That mixture of entertainment and education is what inspires future artists.
If you have little ones just starting to get into the wizards, witches, and magic fandom age, then Hex Vet: Witches in Training is a fantastic place to start. Readers without children can still enjoy the exceptional artwork and the swiftness of the book. (It took me only around 20 minutes to do my first read through of the book.) I hope that Hex Vet continues forward and refines the foundation it laid here to create even greater stories in the future.
Creative Team: Sam Davies (Writer/Artist), Mike Fiorentino (Letterer), Kara Leopard (Designer), Whitney Leopard (Editor)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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