Advance Review: Settling Into A Storytelling Groove In `The Ward’ #2

by Tom Smithyman


After only two issues, The Ward is starting to slip into a bit of a narrative rut with stories that feel like they’ve been ripped from hospital dramas on TV. Fortunately some fantastic artwork from Andres Ponce is making this series a worth addition to monthly pull lists.


A giant pregnant troll who is afraid of needles. A sasquatch hit by an SUV. A banshee that overdoses on illegal drugs. Just another day at St. Lilith’s Hospital for the Preternatural.

After two issues, this promising series seems to be content in telling largely self-contained stories in each installment, which just a bit of character intrigue to connect the pieces each month. Natalie Reeves is a doctor in The Ward who recently returned to her duties treating nymphs, pixies, and fairies. We were led to believe she originally left for a better work-life balance, though by the end of this chapter, we’re led to believe the reason for her leave of absence was something more nefarious. Think Nurse Jackie.

Writer Cavan Scott’s story reads like an episode of ER, albeit with a menagerie of creatures as the hospital staff and their patients. Doctor loses patient after a mistake. Doctor beats himself up. Doctor finds consolation after heroically saving a different patient. Then doctor reveals a dark secret. It’s not a bad formula, but it does feel like we’ve been here before.

Despite a familiar story, artist Andres Ponce has lots to work with – and he makes the most of it. His cover alone is equal parts intriguing and hilarious, and practically enough by itself to make you pick up the book. His other creations, including a gelatinous cube that swallowed a woman whole, are inspired and make up for a well-trodden script.

A formulaic story can be a good thing. The monster of the week or the patient’s odd disease can feel like slipping into an old pair of shoes – familiar and comfortable. That may be where the creators want to take this series, and if so, it will be fine. To be great, though, will require something more in the issues ahead.

The Ward #2 will be available for purchase on July 6, 2022.

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