Cojacaru The Skinner #2 Review

by Nick Devonald on May 18, 2021

Writers: Mike Mignola & Christopher Golden
Artist: Peter Bergting
Colours: Michelle Madsen
Letters: Clem Robins

Despite being titled Cojacaru the Skinner this two-part comic feels more like a glimpse at one of many smaller battles being raged across Europe in this reimagined Mignola take on World War Two rather than a story centered around Cojacaru. Focusing on a small unit led by Lieutenant Gareau transporting valuable intel on a spy network, this small unit of regular soldiers finds itself pursued by the Hexenkorps, witches allied with the Nazis. Then factor in a rich mythology of magic, the Wyrding way, Noon Witches, Ur-Witches, and it feels like we’re barely getting a glimpse at this larger Outerverse which is rapidly expanding and proving to be an exciting time for Mike Mignola fans. Mignola is joined here by frequent collaborator Christopher Golden in their shared universe. Baltimore initially felt like it told a complete tale, but it’s clear that only serves as the entry point to this alternate 20th Century. Big events remain mostly unchanged, but this is a world suffused with evil and the supernatural, with only a handful of champions who can stand and face them.

Of course the titular Cojacaru has a heavy presence in this second, concluding issue, but she never overshadows the other characters. This two-part series is a fantastic (re)introduction to the character who is sure to be one of the main players going forward in this wave of stories set during World War II. Where Baltimore felt focused, there was always a target, initially the vampire Haigus, then later the Red King, an enemy that had to be defeated, these new tales set in the Outerverse don’t seem to have one enemy at the end. Rather evil is creeping out of every crack and crevice, the supernatural at every turn, and it feels unsurmountable but for a handful of champions to face it down. By choosing to give us a handful of unrelated tales, the only thing in common being their setting, it really ups the scale of the universe and feels grander than previous entries have. It really opens this new shared universe up and the possibilities currently feel endless.

Peter Bergting is a natural choice as artist, he’s already experienced in drawing within this universe, so it’s a natural inclusion to have him as artist here. He manages to give each the various different types of witches a very unique look and feel, at no stage is there any confusion around which type of witch we can see, and they all look fantastic. The noon witches look inhuman and terrifying, the Hexenkorps are what you would expect from a nazi witch, whereas the Wyrding witches look much more like normal people. Cojacaru cuts a powerful presence, her magical sword and armour instantly bring to mind that she is one of this worlds new champions. And the way that some of the magic manifests itself looks incredible, tree’s rising out of the ground, spilled witches blood taking on forms of its own, each panel is infused with the supernatural and looks brilliant.

In the same way that Dave Stewart is synonymous with colours in the Mignolaverse, Michelle Madsen is fast becoming the main name for colours in the Outerverse. Having one talented colourist on many of the titles in a shared universe helps to give each of the disparate comics a similar vibe. Her colours are an excellent fit for this universe too, they look great and there is always a particular cast in the sky which carries a dark vibe and sets the tone for this universe being besieged by evil.

This two-parter is one of a number of smaller tales laying the groundwork for what is still to come in Mignola and Goldens shared Outerverse. It gives readers a taste of the battles that lay ahead, whilst introducing some of the champions who will be fighting for humanity. By telling such small scale tales it really gives the universe a feeling of being vast and filled with possibility. Cojacaru is a shining beacon of light in a world overrun by darkness, different witches lie at every turn, and this is an exciting time to be a Mignola fan.

Our Score:


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