We’ve made no secret of our love for Ron Marz and his work going on in the Top Cow universe. I picked up Witchblade at the beginning, but, like a lot of fans, dropped off somewhere along the lines. I don’t think I had any good reason – looking through the catalog of Witchblade sometime after I dropped it, it looks like it kept a consistent quality, with artists like Francis Manapul and Tony Daniel, writers like Troy Hickman and David Wohl, and some pretty interesting storylines. Still…I didn’t come back into the fold until Witchblade #110, during the First Born storyline in which Sara Pezzini gave birth to her baby.
Since then, I’ve been hooked on the adventures of Sara, especially once the current dream team of Marz and artist Stjepan Sejic signed on to be the regular Witchblade team with issue #116 (with a run guaranteed to go through at least #150). At some point recently, I decided to check out the previous issues of Marz’s run (rather than trying to take on the daunting task of starting with issue #1 all over again), which began with a $5 trade, Witchblade, Vol. I: Witch Hunt.
Meant to be a good jumping on point (the first of quite a few in the Marz run), Witchblade Vol. I: Witch Hunt succeeds not only in getting you caught up on the world of Sara Pezzinni, it introduces you to many characters that have been integral to the run since, and does it all in style. Mike Choi is the artist on this run, and does a pretty bang up job on the run, keeping the action exciting and the lead sexy without faltering into cheesecake art.
Marz sets up right from the get go that we’re looking at the police side of Sara just as much as we’re going to into the side of her life that involves a magical gauntlet that allows her to fight supernatural forces. In the story, Sara and her partner Jake team up with NYPD detective Patrick Gleason to take on a group of cultists intent on opening up a portal to let an ancient evil come into our world. Definitely worth checking out and, for five bucks for six comics, how can you pass it up?
Volume 2 is where I decided that not only is Witchblade a comic I’d enjoy…my wife would dig it too. Sara is transferred to a new department, where she is partnered up with Patrick Gleason and the book starts gaining its format as a kind of X-Files with superheroics. Awakenings is particularly important because Sara finds out the origins of the Witchblade itself, all of which is important in what is currently going on in the current Artifacts crossover.
The highlight of the book, though, is “Heart of the City,” a really creepy story where Sara meets an ancient evil that’s eating souls, all under the amazing pencil of Chris Bachalo. Though this trade paperback is back up to normal pricing, and a bit more than five bucks, it’s well worth the price of admission. Hell, it’s worth it for the “Heart of the City” story alone. Easily one of my favorite issues of Marz’s entire run.
This volume further cemented that Witchblade is definitely a book that can be enjoyed by either sex. Great art, sexy male and female leads, great writing…have I said this book is great? Collecting issues #93-100, we get the death of a longtime Witchblade character (not going to ruin it here for you), as well as a burgeoning romance between Sara and a new character, and some pretty well done character moments between the two.
While I have to admit the very end of the book not completely agreeing with me (it all felt a little sudden to me), the rest of the book is pretty solid. We get the return of longtime character Ian Nottingham, and the introduction of an artifact that will come into play again later in the run. Not only that, there’s a pretty emotional storyline involving Sara and a child murderer that’s again, another highlight of the run.
This is a spoiler here for those unfamiliar with Witchblade at all, but Eternal is the book in which Sara (hell, it’s ruined on the cover) gives the Witchblade over to a new bearer and discovering something very important about herself. Her relationship begins to blossom even further with her love interest, and things are set up that play into First Born, which begins right after this book. You get the first adventure of the new Witchblade bearer (in New Orleans and drawn by Sejic, to boot) in a pretty creepy tale, a guest appearance by the Magdalena, and Celestine, who starts the road to bigger and better things.
If you’re looking for something a little different from the usual superhero fare, and a more adult storytelling that’s going to impress you, pick up these Witchblade trades. Dip your toe in with the five dollar trade, and trust me, you’re going to want to buy the rest. My only qualm with the trades? The binding wears out after a couple of readings. Kind of hope that issue is corrected in future printings.