First Born #1
Written by Ron Marz
Art by Stjepan Sejic
Cover by Marc Silvestri (A), Stjepan Sejic (B)
Letters by Troy Peteri
Top Cow Productions
Cover price: $2.99; On-sale date: July 25, 2007
The stunning artwork in Top Cows’ new mini-series First Born had me saying “Whoa!” more times than Keanu Reeves trying to ride a bucking bronco.
First Born is a 3-issue summer blockbuster mini-series from Top Cow Productions, the Marc Silvestri offspring of Image Comics. First Born not only explores the pregnancy of former Witchblade bearer Sara Pezzini, but also fills us in on all the major players in the Top Cow Universe. Ron Marz pens a tale that involves The Darkness, aka Jackie Estacado, Cyberforce, Celestine, and The Angelus in the mystery surrounding Sara’s unborn child. Stjepan Sejic, no stranger to The Darkness and Witchblade, brings alive all these characters in awesome digitally painted art.
Patrick Gleason is one of the first on the scene of the devastation caused by the un-hosted body of Angelus flying throughout New York City. She is looking for a strong enough vessel to hold her power. Cyberforce just barely saves one of their own from becoming inhabited while the rest of The Angelus confront a confused Jackie Escatado about causing this situation in the first place. Angelus finally finds the perfect host body in a major Top Cow villain, which will mean very bad things for all involved in the very near future.
Sara Pezzini does not have the Witchblade, she is on pregnancy leave from the police department, and Patrick Gleason seems to be the main man in Sara’s life. All appears to be well with Sara, but by the end of First Born #1, there is a stunning revelation that may change all that.
The issue is a must-read for anyone interested in the Top Cow universe, but is also a must-have for fans of digitally painted comic book pages. My jaw dropped many times witnessing many of Sejic’s amazing splash pages. And just as Alex Ross captures the classical feel for each character he paints, Sejic is also able to depict the signature feel and design of all the heavy hitters in the Top Cow universe. He portrays the beauty and creepiness of the Darkness, the blinding light of the ferocious Angelus warriors, and even adds a slight Angelina Jolie feel to the gorgeous Sara Pezzini. Some of the panels, however, do come across as a little flat, probably due the lack of traditional comic book inking.
Ron Marz keeps the plot simple for the set up of the series. A straight forward comic adventure that surprisingly has you, the reader, having to piece together what is going on. I’m sure most may be revealed by the end of issue three, but as of now you are joining Jackie Escatado, Patrick Gleason, and Sara Pezzini in trying to figure out what exactly that is. In his attempt to create dialogue that sounds authentic Marz uses a speaking shorthand that causes character banter to be a little choppy. It also bothered this New Yorker when he had Patrick Gleason, a New York City police officer, refer to an elevated train line as the “el”. We use line names to refer to our trains in the city and we have an “L” line already, thank you. The most disturbing line was when a male coworker of Gleason’s said to him “[Sara’s] got a sweeter ass than you do.” Not touching that, as Marz might say.
A solid read, incredible artwork, and the rich stable of Top Cow characters promising a universe-affecting adventure make First Born #1 a no-brainer for your pull list and well worth the trip to your nearest comic book store. Pick it up, sit back, strap yourself in, and prepare to kiss Kansas bye-bye.