I have enjoyed Witchblade for a long ass time. Say what you will about the series; sure it was mostly a male dominated fantasy, but it was actually an entertaining series for a time. Then it kind of kept going and doing soft reboots over and over until the point that I guess not even Witchblade fans cared. And frankly, after reading Switch I’m glad it ended. I’m glad that Top Cow had the guts to hand Stjepan Sejic the reins and say, “Do what you do.” Switch is the Witchblade series we deserved. In fact, this is the entire Top Cow superhero universe that we deserved. Not that other crap that I can’t even remember the name of, you know the series that brought the twelve artifacts together for Armageddon and then went ongoing because… comic books.
Here’s what makes this story work, Sejic already knows all about the Witchblade and the Top Cow universe so with Switch he’s able to cherry pick from the extensive history and put different elements in play at the same time. It’s new, but familiar. He’s not messing with the original timeline, instead he’s telling an Elseworlds style of reboot in which everything before is done and gone and this is new. This is the new bearer of the Witchblade, this is how it works and here’s the rest of the world growing right beside it.
This shit is awesome.
I can’t express that enough. If Sejic left Rat Queens for this series, then it was worth it. He’s too talented of a storyteller to just be limited to the role of artist. His writing oozes with personality. Our main character Mary isn’t completely fleshed out for us, but damn we have a solid idea of who she is. Mostly from the narration that comes from Mary. The narrative voice that Sejic uses reminded me of a Pixar movie. Its pacing was spot on and made the story pop at all the right moments.
The issue itself beings with an explanation of the Darkness and the Angelus and of course the birth of the Witchblade. We then meet the very first bearer Una, a cavewoman. Again, the narration is perfect here as Mary not so much cracks a joke about Una, but kinda. Eventually we meet Mary and her childhood friend Tony Estacado… that’s right. The Darkness is in the house! From that moment on Sejic populates the story with the beginnings of some of Top Cow’s biggest and best characters throughout its long history. I don’t want to spoil any more for you, but if you’ve read a lot of Top Cow, you’ll be impressed and pleased.
Again, the reason this works is that Sejic is telling a new story. He’s using familiar characters, but he’s changing all of them. It’s like when the big two do a parallel world and you discover a version of a character you like better, but this time it’s the entire world that you like better. To put it another way, Switch is the boldest reboot from the reboot era. Sure it’s not a huge corporate reboot or a soft relaunch, but it is one that plays off the old and makes something new that’s better. How many other reboots can say that?
Have you seen Sejic’s artwork on books like Death Vigil or Rat Queens? Hell, even his webcomics starring the Justice League? Well if you like any of that artwork then you’ll love Switch. He’s incredibly fast with his digital art, but it’s so good. The quality never drops and personally I think he gets more on the page than a lot of other talented artists. What always seals the deal is his facial expressions and body language. The characters feel real and have their own personalities because of the depth that Sejic’s artwork adds to them. His coloring continues to be some of the best in comics and also adds to the personality of the story.
There are a lot of new comics out there this week, but if you’re even remotely a fan of Witchblade you should check Switch out. Now the big question is, “what if you’re not a fan of Witchblade?” That’s easy, you should definitely check it out. Sure you won’t know all the characters from before, but it doesn’t matter. Like I said, Sejic is crafting something new and honestly something much better than what came before. Not to downplay what came before because without we wouldn’t have Switch, but because of it we have something new and old readers alike can enjoy.
Switch #1 Creator/Writer/Artist: Stjepan Sejic Publisher: Top Cow/Image Price: $3.99 Release Date: 10/14/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital