Ron Marz (Writer) and Stjepan Sejic (Artist)
With Witchblade #118, the first arc of Ron Marz’s reboot comes full circle and I am happy to report that all signs are pointing to a successful run. While I have some complaints, I have no problem recommending this series for anyone looking for something outside of the superhero norm.
When I reviewed issue #117, which actually happened to be my writing debut with this website, I expressed concern that drawing on long passed continuity might alienate some readers who jumped on the series when a new direction was offered in Witchblade #116. Thankfully, this latest issue explains enough to keep the story rolling without forcing the reader to do any continuity research. What this issue has to offer is the introduction and history of a new threat to the Witchblade bearers, some nice action scenes, and closure to the mystery surrounding the religious murders being investigated by Sara Pezzini.
While a solid story overall, I couldn’t help but feel that things have been rushed. Everything works well enough, but I think I would have enjoyed this story more had it been allowed to build up through another issue or two. This issue packs a lot into a little over twenty pages and it suffers a bit as a result. We are introduced to a new threat, have a religious murder hanging over everything, a stolen Witchblade, and yet, surprisingly, all is seemingly resolved by the end of this issue. On top of all that, the last page shows the direction the next arc will take. I have no problem with resolving things quickly, but things wrapped up a little too neatly for my taste.
So I have some issues with the story, but, as a whole, the writing here is pretty tight. Marz does a nice job getting readers up to speed with the threat and his family ties, which could have easily come across as a convoluted mess of an explanation. Sara comes across as a suitably tough woman, though I wish the other Witchblade bearer, Dani, brought more than just self pity to the table. The villain represents a good use of continuity and he comes across as both threatening and ambitious. Special mention should be made of the dialogue as well, as it continues to be a strong point of this series. An exchange between the villain and the religious murderer in particular stands out as a good example of how to elevate a fight scene through the use of dialogue. This is good stuff for the most part, I just wish Marz would have given the story more room to breathe, building both tension and the epic conflict at hand.
As for the art, it is nearly perfect. I absolutely love what Stjepan Sejic is doing with this series as it gives Witchblade a very unique “feel”. Simply put, there is not another book out there that looks quite like this. If I have any complaint at all it’s that you can clearly tell which panels and scenes got the most time. The level of detail seems to vary throughout the book. While this inconsistency is most likely due to the need to hit a deadline, it is slightly distracting from time to time. One thing I must also note is the level of violence in this issue. There are some fairly disturbing images throughout, so I just wanted to give everyone a heads up. With that said, I’ll conclude my rundown of the artwork by saying that this is, a whole, an incredible looking book.
Witchblade #118 disappoints mainly because I expected more from this arc. The storyline seemed rich with opportunity for more depth and complexity, but instead, we get a fairly basic, far too tidy conclusion a bit too early. That said, solid writing and excellent, unique artwork still makes this a good read. On a side note, The teaser for the next arc has gotten me intrigued so I hope Marz gives it a bit more room to breathe. (Grade: C)
Filed under: Image Comics, Reviews, Top Cow | Tagged: Crusade, Dani Baptiste, David Worthy, Image, Image Comics, Kenneth Irons, Reviews, Ron Marz, Sara Pezzini, Stjepan Sejic, Top Cow, Witchblade, Witchblade #118 | Leave a comment »