By Justin McCarty
Twenty-two years after the launch of Top Cow’s iconic series hit comic store shelves it has come back. The gauntlet has found a new host. I read the comic off and on for years in high school, following the dark and sexy drama of Sara Pezzini. Turner’s artwork is still so much fun to look at. The whole Witchblade mythos and universe was very cool. Unfortunately, the look was very much a product of its time. The Witchblade has found a new host and the series looks like it completely fits into the contemporary style and tone of comics. While solid, and while all we have is one issue to go on, it has some work to do to live up to the original. That means I am excited to see how this series shapes up.
Journalist Alex Underwood is the next host for the Witchblade, passed down through history to the world’s most worthy woman. Alex is struggling with PTSD and helping battered women bring the men who beat them to justice. Because of the story structure, this opening issue doesn’t have a straight narrative that we can sum up in a neat synopsis. Due to Alex’s PTSD, she has a hard time knowing what is real and what is a memory in a given moment. We’ll learn this is actually the Witchblade showing her visions and not hallucinations. As with any great hero's journey, Alex rejects the Witchblade (her calling), but the Witchblade chose her, and she must learn to wield it to fulfill her destiny.
Kittredge does a great job of keeping us off balance. We are never sure if what we are seeing is a memory, a dream, or a hallucination. A lot of details is left out of the book, instead focusing on just Alex’s struggle with her mental state and the Witchblade. Unfortunately, these two things together make it a little hard to get into the story. Because of the slightly circular structure, the story also feels a little short.
The art style is fantastic, it’s just the kind of style I like to see in comic books. It’s realistic, with just enough cartooning and exaggeration to keep it visually interesting. The original series, while having some of nineties comics best artists, was a bit male-centric in its depictions of women. Tastes and attitudes have changed, and this puts a woman front and center as a person, not an object.
Top Cow probably couldn’t have picked a better team for this book. It comes together very well. Witchblade volume two has an opportunity to surpass the original.
Witchblade v2 #1
Top Cow - Image