10 February 2019
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The Sandman Presents: Thessaly: Witch for Hire
Written by: Bill Willingham
Illustrated by: Shawn McManus
Published by: Vertigo Comics, 2005
Since near the dawn of time the Thessalian witch Thessaly has kept her own council in regards to world affairs. Having once dated Morpheus of the Endless, and more recently, thwarted the machinations of a cadre of Death Gods intent on harvesting her life force, Thessaly has chosen to lie low and try to sink back into obscurity.
Not known for her charming, caring, or forgiving nature, Thessaly just wants to be left alone. Unfortunately, during her last adventure, the annoying spirit Fetch ended up taking a liking to Thessaly, and has started selling her talents to the highest bidder - without her knowledge. Now saddled with an impossible task, Thessaly has to destroy a Tharmic Null - an entity composed of nothingness, and impossible to kill, even for someone of Thessaly's caliber. On top of this, she has to deal with Fetch's romantic overtures and general annoyingness.
Willingham is back in his element in this Sandman spin-off, with a fan favorite character. This time around, Thessaly is a bit colder, wiser, and being challenged in ways she never thought possible. The story does feel a little disjointed, and the end felt a little rushed, but for Sandman fans, this is yet another story to add to the read list if you haven't done so yet.
McManus's artwork is always a treat, and this is no exception. The relationship between Thessaly and Fetch is more than just verbal, and the visual cues create a whole other level of tension between two powerful personalities. Being able to give a visual identity to the impossible is a talent, and it's very easy to see why McManus is an old pro in this aspect.