Let’s just call this the way it is shall we, Ron Marz stole a page from Catwoman and her disappearing baby act. You may recall prior to the reboot at DC that Catwoman had a baby that she gave up for adoption and then had Zatanna erase her memories of ever having a child. Well apparently in Artifacts (a book I gave up on long ago), the Darkness does the same thing and erases the world that Ron Marz created and with his landmark run on the book. With that we’re able to rejuvenate the franchise that he basically wrote into the ground over the last year. The problem is, this un-needed reboot makes the series look older than it is and will probably alienate long time readers with doubts of its continuation. The issue begins with Sara in jail with the classic short dress and ripped look going on, very 90’s but in a good way. She kicks on the Witchblade and narrates to herself how easy it would be to escape from jail, but that she doesn’t want to be a fugitive. Apparently this isn’t a modern jail that’s fully equipped with cameras as she powers down the Witchblade before anyone arrives to see her. We flashback to Sara working a case as Private Eye and being harassed by the local law enforcement. Sara arrived to town and tried to help the police solve some “special cases” that she’d usually handle with the Witchblade. Now they all hate her because Chicago’s police are a little more hardcore than New York’s.
After her daily harassing Sara notices something wrong in the apartment she was watching. She uses the Witchblade to climb the wall of the building (totally fucking up the exterior) and finds her target dead inside. She steals some evidence and then anonymously calls in the murder, which I hope she did several block away and nowhere near her apartment or the scene of the murder since it would instantly put her on suspect list. She eye’s over the evidence which is a matchbook or something stupid like that and decides to put on a skimpy dress and head to the club its advertising.
There are several things that I actually enjoy about the story. I like the new city; frankly we can all agree that New York has been done to death so Chicago is a great choice to move her too. It still has a rich history to play with and plenty of fake crime to tackle. I also like Tim Seeley’s narration for Sara. Past issues were more third person omniscient, but this first person narrative has given deeper insight into Sara’s mind. I enjoyed the bit of her thinking about her age and how a man very interested in her walks away for a younger woman. It was good change of pace for the character and didn’t come off like a males view-point on the subject (at least not all the way). The pacing and overall storytelling is very good and really some of Seeley’s best work to date.
My grip with the story is the whole P.I. angle. I can’t believe that this top-level detective that’s solved so many cases would only have the option of becoming a P.I. rather than joining the F.B.I. That angle is way more interesting as she would have had to walk a different line with the Witchblade and work. Still the P.I. thing hasn’t been done in comics since Alias so this could turn out to be a good thing.
The art was good and frankly a return to true penciling was much-needed. Digital art is good at times, but on a monthly deadline things start to look flat and unrealistic. Backgrounds and settings are a key part of making the world look alive and that is usually the first thing to suffer with digital. New series artist Diego Bernard captures the adventure and sex appeal that Witchblade is known for and overall does an impressive job on the book. I’m personally looking forward to seeing how his art progresses and what tricks he has for the Witchblade.
I’ve collected Witchblade off and on since Marz took over on the series, but I could never get back into it the way I had before his start. With Seeley and Bernard though, I’m actually excited to read Witchblade again for the first time in years. This book is the top-notch quality it should be and though some long time readers may be turned off at first, I think the larger appeal for the series is there as long as the book ships on time.
Writer: Tim Seeley Artist: Diego Bernard Colorist: Fred Benes Publisher: Top Cow/Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 1/4/12