Witchblade #179 (Comics Review)
Ron Marz and Laura Braga’s soft reboot of Witchblade last year made it one of my absolute must-read titles each month and the two creators continued along that path with their following issues, each of which did something different and ended up being really good for the most part. In recent weeks however, we have seen the beginning of something different as matters seem to ramp up for the protagonist Sara Pezzini, who is working hard at being the kind of Sheriff that the people of Saratoga County need her to be with all the strange goings-on.
At the end of the last issue, we saw that there was some new unforeseen complication for Sara in the form of a couple new characters. In this past week’s Witchblade #179, we see a glimpse of what these plans entail, given that Sara and Kate’s new case has them investigating some horrific cattle mutilations in the backwaters of Saratoga. This is mostly an action issue with little in the way of character development, but that’s fine since this is just the opening spell of a brand-new arc and Ron does take a while to get going. The art is good too, as I expected it to be since I’m not pretty used to Laura Braga’s unique style and the monster introduced is pretty cool as well.
The great thing about this new arc, as has been the case for all of Ron’s issues going back to the soft reboot last year with #169, is that you don’t need to be versed with Witchblade history to understand what’s going on. In fact, the most you need to have read, in the strictest sense, is from Witchblade #169 onwards. The summaries at the start of each issue do a good job of recapping recent events, and they help in introducing new readers to the book, especially at the start of a new arc.
Investigating the cattle mutilations, Kate and Sara run into something that they are not quite prepared for, as was the case with the previous arc as well. It seems that with the death of Jackie Estacado the imbalance in the universe is getting worse and worse and now there’s someone actively hunting for Sara in a bid for some strange plan we have yet to learn more about. All we know is that this someone has sent people to… evaluate Sara, and that is a dangerous thing indeed.
The action in this issue is built up nicely enough for the big showdown towards the end. Ron peppers the issue with lots of back and forth between Sara and Kate about what could be behind the cattle mutilations and whether or not it really is a supernatural affair or not. I really like the dynamic between these two women, which has been developing since Ron’s return to Witchblade last year and which has become one of the more attractive elements of the series ever since. They are perfectly comfortable with each other and they both understand where the other comes from, which makes it that much easier to accept Kate in the place of Sara’s partner/husband Patrick and Sara’s partner/friend from before she met Patrick. Its the same dynamic really and it is great to explore both Sara and the Witchblade as a reader through the eyes of Kate, who is still coming to terms with all of it.
And we do get to meet yet another new character, which leads to some excellent levity in the issue later on, especially between Sara and Kate, which I, frankly, found hilarious. Pretty typical Ron Marz humour there, I think.
With this issue, artists Laura Braga and Betsy Gonia show that they really are getting more and more comfortable with the characters than they were back when they started last year. The pencils and colours are much more confident and striking now, with the whole shadow effects on the characters’ faces being some of the best bits here. And the cattle mutilations do stand out as some really horrific work, which as Kate says looks as if was done by something that was pissed off. Not a bad assessment Kate! And the monster in question was suitably terrifying as well with lots of close-ups of the thing charging at Sara and just being monster-y in general.
Pretty good issue with the only downside being that Sara seemed a little too reluctant to use the Witchblade in her defense, which isn’t all that big a deal really when you come to think of it and consider the cliffhanger ending.
Posted on November 24, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged Angelus, Angelus Warrior, Artifact, Betsy Gonia, Comics, Comics Review, Crime, Darklings, Demons, Fantasy, Female Protagonists, Female Warriors, Female-Led Comics, Horror, Jackie Estacado, Jenny Romano, Kate Rooney, Laura Braga, Monsters, Religion, Review, Review Central, Ron Marz, Sara Pezzini, Supernatural, The Darkness, Thriller, Top Cow, Top Cow Productions, Top Cow Universe, Urban Fantasy, Warrior Women, Witchblade, Women in Comics, Women in Fantasy, Women in SFF, Women In Urban Fantasy. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.