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Witchblade Annual #2

Posted by Luke Brown On December - 21 - 2010

In the latest Witchblade Annual, another chapter in the history of the Witchblade is written. Ron Marz takes the reader to the heart of Mother Russia during the second World War, and expands the artifact’s ever-growing mythology.

WITCHBLADE ANNUAL #2
Written by RON MARZ and MATTHEW DOW SMITH
Art by TONY SHASTEEN, MATTHEW DOW SMITH, and MATT HALEY

For a comic that’s been around as long as Witchblade has it sure does seem strange that there have only been two annual issues, doesn’t it? Anyway, in this completely stand-alone story, Sara is visited by a mysterious old Russian woman, who simply reaches out to touch the Witchblade, sending Sara (and us) on a journey down memory lane. Suddenly we find ourselves in the middle of a blizzard in Stalingrad during WWII. Russian soldiers are in the middle of shootout with Nazi troops, when a deadly silence falls over the city. Standing over the dead Nazis is Tatiana, current bearer of the Witchblade. The salvation she’s shown her comrades is short-lived when she learns the squad abandoned one of their own when he was captured. It’s a surprisingly quick story that provides a nice detour from the recent events in the main comic. I love getting glimpses into the expanded history of the Witchblade, and I can think of no better curator for the lineage than Ron Marz. His attention to what makes each bearer unique, and what the power and responsibility of a weapon like the Witchblade mean to that person, really do strengthen the mythology.

Tony Shasteen’s art on the first of three stories in the book is pretty good. There are elements of early JG Jones and Tony Harris, and his ability to render the period properly strengthen the story. The colors are a bit dark at points, which did make it a little hard to see the details, but they did suit the tone of the story quite well. The second story is a brief dream sequence showcasing Joan of Arc donning the mystical wristband, and though it’s quite interesting, is over way too fast. Not to take anything away from the main story of the Russian solider, but I would love to see a full on Witchblade-ing out of Joan of Arc’s story.

The final chapter in this trilogy of tales is a short story that follows a police investigation Sara is called to after she wakes from her dream. Matthew Dow Smith writes the narrative, which he also illustrates with small insert pictures. It’s interesting, but Smith can’t make up his mind whether or not it’s a p0lice procedural or a fantasy tale, and the overall fiction suffers a bit as a result. “The Devil’s Due” isn’t a bad story, and the characterizations are spot on, but I couldn’t help but feel as if the end result could have been stronger was the story more firmly rooted in one particular genre. As a huge fan of police procedural fiction and non-fiction, perhaps I’m criticizing a bit too harshly, but I should commend Smith for getting me interested in the chance that there might be more prose Witchblade stories in the future.

All in all, Witchblade Annual #2 is a solid book. The two main stories are worth the price of admission alone, and the third short will have you eagerly anticipating a follow-up in the future. I wish there was a large enough market for more “Tales of the Witchblade” (yes, there once was a Witchblade title that was reserved for stories like this), but unfortunately there isn’t. In the meantime, I’ll just have to be satisfied with smaller, yearly adventures like this one.


1 Response so far
  1. Lady Stardust Said,

    I’ll definitely be reading this! Ron Marz has sucked me in with his Witchblade writing, and I’ll be reading it as long as he’s writing.

    Posted on December 21st, 2010 at 3:07 PM

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