It’s been a long ass time since I checked in with Witchblade. In fact the last time was around the beginning of Tim Seeley’s run on the series and now he’s departed the title and handed the reins back over to Ron Marz. That being said there is obviously a lot I don’t know about what’s happened in the series lately, but that didn’t stop me from checking out this landmark issue. To start with, Sarah is no longer in Chicago which might not be a news flash to anyone reading the series monthly, but it was to me and it’s a real shame. Chicago’s a big city and was honestly a great fit for her rather than New York. Well she’s back in New York, but not the city. Instead she’s in a small town (do they still have those in New York?) and has taken on the role of Sherriff. The story opens with two of her officers eying a terrible murder which is the third such murder in recent days. The body has been attached to a big “X” and the head removed. In a bit of a cop-out we never actually see what’s done to the body, but the slight details give us the impression that it’s brutal.
After seeing the head we’re taken into a flashback/dream that Sarah’s having that involves the Darkness aka Jackie. She wakes up and tries to poor herself a stiff drink, but the bottle is dry. She heads to a bar where she’s hit on by some douche bag and things get really out of control.
There were things I liked and disliked about the story. I liked Sarah’s drinking problem and the fact that she’s basically living with guilt, but the scene in the bar was… strange. I mean if she’s the town’s sheriff then I can only guess that she was in another town. Or maybe I’m overstepping when I say she’s the town’s sheriff I don’t know. Her role and world was missing a lot of details. There was a lot of back and forth like this. I’d like part of a scene, but not the outcome or some aspect of it. The supporting characters were all pretty weak and hopefully we’ll see them develop more in the future. I never really got into Marz’s first run on this series so I’m hoping that he’ll win me over this time around.
Okay I have to talk about that X-Men homage cover. The entire cover is really awesome and reminds you how powerful those old covers could be. Honestly Marvel might want to go back to that style considering those were the days the X-Men were the top dogs of sales.
As for the interior art, I really liked it. It had a good mixture of sex appeal, but as overbearing as Witchblade has been in the past. I liked the visual storytelling, but I do wonder why certain things aren’t shown in the story and only mentioned. The dead body is one thing, but there’s another scene that’s completely different that does the same thing. It’s not as if I think “blood and guts” when I think Witchblade, but this felt like they were going for more of a teen audience rather than mature. Otherwise the art is very good and new series artist Laura Braga captures the world of Witchblade and is a welcomed addition to the long running series.
I wouldn’t say that this issue is a soft reboot like the start of Seeley’s run was, but it is a great spot for new readers to jump on. You really don’t need to know anything about the series previously and while I couldn’t tell you how Sarah got where she is, it didn’t distract or harm the story at all. If you’ve never checked out Witchblade, I can recommend this issue for sure. If you’ve never really had an interest in the world or character then I doubt you’re going to be won over here.
Writer: Ron Marz Artist: Laura Braga Publisher: Image and Top Cow Price: $2.99 Release Date: 10/30/13