By Ron Marz (Writer) and Stjepan Sejic (Artist)

Some Thoughts Before The Review: I’m honestly a bit worried about the latest issue of Witchblade. I’ve really enjoyed the supernatural murder mystery arc that’s been going on the last few issues, but I can’t shake the sinking feeling that the conclusion might end up being less than satisfying. And why is that? Because the big “January War ” (or will it be “March War” because of the delays?) storyline¬† that Top Cow has been hyping up is on the horizon. And it leaves me thinking that some of Witchblade #123‘s story might feel a bit rushed through just to make room for any set up that might be needed for the next arc. I hope I’m wrong, but I’ve definitely talked about Ron Marz rushing to conclusions before…

The Story: Sara Pezzini goes head to head with an entity known as Marinette, a strange and powerful voodoo spirit known as a “loa.” The battle reveals that there are forces at work possibly more powerful than the Witchblade and more sinister than the loa. Meanwhile, the journalist Gretch mulls over what to do with her photos of the Witchblade in action, considering that Sara saved her life. Also in the issue, Dani decides to confront the person responsible for the stress plaguing one of her students.

What’s Good: As it turns out, the latest Witchblade is about as far from a conclusion as you can possibly get, even if it does bring about a few satisfying plot resolutions. And that readers, is a good thing. I’ll tell you why. The storyline (and battle) involving the voodoo spirit is surprisingly engaging since it seems to only scratch the surface of the bigger plot being developed. In addition, the developments in Dani’s portion of the issue are somewhat surprising, given how she is usually relegated to second fiddle status. Couple that with some great visuals, courtesy of the always impressive Stjepan Sejic, and you have one heck of an entertaining issue of Witchblade that works well in service to both the present and future of the series.

What’s Not So Good: A few things bother me in Witchblade #123. The first thing is that Dani’s reaction at the end of the book seems a bit uncharacteristic, seeing as how she is usually written. While I wouldn’t be surprised to find that something else is going on in that plot thread, it feels somewhat odd for the time being. The second thing that bothers me is that Ron Marz seemed to push the engaging murder investigation by the wayside in order to make way for more action. Now don’t get me wrong, I always like seeing Sejic given time to shine, it just left me feeling as though things progressed at a pace that felt far too fast, considering how the story has been something of a slow burn up until this latest chapter.

Conclusion: I consider Witchblade #123 to be a very pleasant surprise. It managed to exceed my expectations while successfully sowing the seeds for the future in a very interesting way. I look forward to seeing what happens next. As such, consider Witchblade #123 to be well worth picking up.

Grade: B

-Kyle Posluszny