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Witchblade Wednesday: A Preview/Review Double Feature

Posted by Luke Brown On September - 3 - 2008

This week we’ve got two, count ‘em, two Witchblade preview/reviews. Not only will you get a chance to see just what the Witchblade Vol. 5 trade has in store for you, but you’ll also be getting  a first look at this week’s Witchblade #120. Hit the jump to see what I thought of both of them.

As always, click on any picture to view it in Expand-O-Scope, brought to you by Gamervision.com.

Witchblade Volume 5 Trade Paperback
(W) Ron Marz, Ian Edginton         (A) Stjepan Sejic, Stephen Sadowski, Luke Ross, Rick Leonardi and Sami Basri         (Cov) Stjepan Sejic

This volume features last summer’s crossover hit, First Born, its tie-in issues, and several issues dealing with Dani Baptiste and Sara Pezzini’s lives after the universe-altering event.

Showcased in this volume are current Witchblade ongoing artist Stjepan Sejic, Stephen Sadowski (JSA, Project: Superpowers), Luke Ross (Indiana Jones), Rick Leonardi (Action Comics), and Sami Basri (JLA: Classified). Plus, this trade paperback features a brand-new painted cover by Sejic!

Collects Witchblade #110-115 and First Born #1-3.

Full Color      226 pages       $17.99      Trade Paperback

First things first, if you haven’t been reading the latest Top Cow event, Broken Trinity, because you were afraid you woulnd’t know what was going on, let me assure you that this is the book that will explain about 99% of it. Not that the nifty recap pages you find in behind the cover aren’t a good way to convey what occurred in previous issues, it’s just getting a chance to read the complete First Born, and the first half-dozen issues of Witchblade that followed, helps the reader make more connections to all the characters. Readers of the site know that we’ve been following the goings on of the Top Cow universe pretty closely since the start of Broken Trinity, and this was a great way for me to catch up on what had happened in the last year.

Ron Marz’s character work in this series has been up there with the best he’s ever done. This book is no exception to that either. His Sara Pezinni isn’t afraid to assert herself, but also isn’t afraid to show her vulnerability. The way Marz crafts interactions between all the major players never has the reader questioning motives, or what’s happening. Everything is laid out on the table before you, both intelligently and interestingly. It helps when you get to work with artists as talented as Stejpan Sejic and Luke Ross. And I’m not slighting the other guys who worked on the issues collected in this trade, it’s just that Ross and Sejic’s art really stood out in this collection. Now that I see some of Sejic’s early work, I can see why Top Cow was so intent on signing this guy up for the long haul. Is his work nice? Absolutely. Does it help he gets to paint a beautiful woman every other page or so? Definitely. But his work isn’t cheesecake. I don’t think Marz is too content to let the book slip back into that stereotype. The book is better than it has been in years, and this is a perfect collection to start with if you’re looking to start reading it.

Consider it this way: Everyone’s always talking about the new season of that show you missed last year. Instead of continuing to miss out, you go out and grab the DVDs so starting the next week, you can be all caught up with the rest of the happening people in your office. Why couldn’t you do the same for comics?

This week’s entry into the Witchblade universe begins a new tale, so while all manner of things are happening over in Broken Trinity, the regular monthly doesn’t miss a beat, nor does it force you into buying any tie-ins.

Witchblade #120
(W) Ron Marz        (A) Stjepan Sejic       (Cov) Stjepan Sejic, Matt Haley, Kevin Nowlan

Shaken by a failed and very nearly deadly romance, rookie Witchblade bearer Dani Baptiste confronts her feelings of betrayal and realizes this life, and the Witchblade, might not be for her. Dani seeks the advice of Sara Pezzini, who’s had her share of experience with both the Witchblade and with being betrayed by men like Ian Nottingham and Kenneth Irons. It’s time for some girl talk and some ass-kicking, with Dani’s future as a bearer hanging in the balance!

Cover A – Stjepan Sejic
Cover B – Matt Haley and Kevin Nowlan

Full Color      32 pages        $2.99       Ongoing Series

One of my favorite things about this book is the way Ron Marz keeps the story arcs short and sweet, but keeps all sorts of threads running from book to book. This issue is no exception. Not only just the start of a new storyline, this issue also manages to progress Dani’s character quite a bit. One thing that’s intrigued me since the powers that be decided to bring her in, was what would Top Cow do with two weilders of the Witchblade? I was skeptical of two characters fighting for page time, but if things keep going the way they have been month-to-month in this book, I won’t have to worry too much longer. Each issue I think I’ll see a decline in the writing of a particular character, but Marz gives both Sarah and Dani enough room to breathe. He’s handled multiple characters in one book before, so I don’t know why I thought he wouldn’t be able to do it here. Maybe I just keep waiting for the other shoe to drop on this book. The good thing is, I don’t think it will.

Sejic’s art, as always, grabs your eye. While at times you may notice details fading into the background, all that matters to me is how well he can layout a story and convey a character’s feelings and action. He’s pretty good at doing both. The layouts are never going to blow you away. They’d be average if his style wasn’t so magnetic. But he’ll grow and learn more as his career progresses. He’s come a long way in a short time already, so I’m confident we have yet to see the best this kid can offer. It’s a huge advantage being able to paint women as well as he does. Thankfully, they look just as good when hanging out as they do when they’re busy bashing heads in. I’d gladly pay for Sejic to tackle a team book one day, but I almost only want him to keep working on this book. That’s just me being selfish.

This week Witchblade once again finds a way to be buy-worthy. Though with this creative team, that’s not very surprising anymore. Consistently one of the best books Top Cow puts out, you’d be doing yourself a favor to start reading. Before long, you may miss out on all the chemistry between Marz and Sejic, and that would be a shame.


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