Witchblade #174 (Comics Review)

New creative teams on long-running titles can often have an uphill task. This has happened time and time again in the industry and will likely happen countless times again in the future. But for the moment, I must say that the creative team of Ron Marz, Laura Braga, Betsy Gonia and Troy Peteri have been doing wonders with Top Cow’s premier title, Witchblade. I’ve read some comics from the previous creative team and while they were decent enough, they weren’t as good as what the new creative team has turned out in the last six months. The Borne Again arc has been a ton of fun, and no mistake.

Witchblade #174 brings this new arc with the new creative team to a close. Having rid herself of the Witchblade, all Sara Pezzini wanted was to live a normal life as a Sheriff in some out-of-the-way county, but then her past caught up to her and she was right back where she left things off. In the new arc she’s gone up against a madman and a zealot both, and now she ends that threat pretty decisively. Ron Marz’s writing is as good as ever and while there a few more problems this week with the art, Braga and Gonia still deliver a beautiful looking issue nonetheless.

Witchblade 174The Angelus, the warrior of Light who is supposed to be the goodiest good guy in creation, has been gunning for the Witchblade for a while now and since Sara has recently come in possession of a fragment of the artifact, she is a target now. It has all been about plans within plans but now in the new issue Ron Marz pits the Angelus against the most infamous and fabled bearer of the Witchblade in an action sequence that goes from strength to strength in each panel and never lets up. The pacing is fast and relentless, just the way I wanted this concluding issue of the first arc to be. Sara and the Angelus go at each other as if they are both possessed and the action sequence really gives you a thrill as you watch it unfold. Quite possibly one of the best actions sequences I’ve seen in a comic to date.

More than that though, we begin to get some understanding of why the Angelus wants the Witchblade for herself. For you see, we learn who the current bearer of that artifact is, and that revelation is a gut-punch for Sara, given the history that the two of them have had together. It was something entirely unexpected and this issue has definitely made me want to catch up on The Darkness comics and especially the Progeny arc that ran through that series and this one. I’m missing a fair amount of context here, but that’s nothing that reading a few trades won’t cure! Thankfully assistant editor Ryan Cady at Top Cow has begun the Witching Hour in these comics which gives some of the necessary background and explains what happens in each issue. That definitely helped here!

At the end of the issue, things kind of go back to normal but there is also the sense that this is just the calm before the storm, so to speak. The Angelus’ quest for taking control of the Witchblade is going to have some dire repercussions I feel, especially given the identity of the bearer of the former. A recipe for classic disaster in such cases. All of which means that while Ron Marz and Co. have turned out a really good opening arc after taking the helm of the series, the best is yet to come, which is entirely fine with me!

The majority of the story in this issue is visual. Ron Marz’s dialogues are thin during the action sequence, which is great since Laura Braga and Betsy Gonia get to really stretch their artistic muscles. I still have a problem with how the female characters and drawn, and there’s the occasional bit where the faces lack proper definition, but putting that aside, the artwork is still pretty damn gorgeous, especially once we get the Witchblade and the Angelus going full-out at each other. The way that the artifacts interact visually deserves a special mention I feel.

I’m quite happy with how this arc has turned out and I’m hoping for more of the same, at the least!

Rating: 8.5/10

More Witchblade: #170, #171, #172, #173.


Posted on April 22, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

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