Written by Ron Marz
Art by Michael Broussard
Inked by Rob Hunter, Rick Basaldua
and Joe Weems
Colors by Larry Molinar
Letters by Troy Peteri
Top Cow Productions
Cover price: $3.99; On-sale date: July 2007
There’s something big going on in the Top Cow universe. So big, in fact, that the Marvel universe had to get involved. Unholy Union kicks off the big First Born summer event over at The Cow. The forces of light, The Angelus, and the forces of Dark, The Darkness, are headed for a showdown and both the previous and current Witchblade bearers seem to be caught in the middle of it all. Both series star not only all the big guns from Top Cow — The Witchblade, Cyberforce, The Darkness, and The Angelus — but some of the big ones from Marvel also — Ghost Rider, The Hulk, and the Sorcerer Supreme Doctor Strange.
Doctor Strange feels a disturbance. That disturbance is the unhosted body of The Angelus. What this portends, he’s not sure, but it frightens him enough to feel that he has to warn people about it.
Jackie Estacado seems to be having a good day. A certain red-haired, blind lawyer (whom we only see in a newspaper) defends him on a bogus charge and gets him off. While celebrating he runs into a very pregnant, former Witchblade bearer Sara Pezzini and the new Witchblade bearer, Dani Baptiste. His day takes a downturn when the Spirit of Vengeance himself, Ghost Rider, crashes the party along with The Hulk. And if there was any doubt he was having a bad day now, Doctor Strange comes by to confirm it. But that’s about it.
The appearance of the Marvel characters seem arbitrary at best and really don’t add anything to the issue. Doctor Strange’s visit carries the most weight and it would be interesting to see what part he might play in First Born, but he is not in the first issue of that series. The Witchblade assists Estacado, who, of course, has turned into his alter-ego, The Darkness, in confronting Ghost Rider and The Hulk. There is a quick, little, amusing scene where Estacado’s little imps turn into some other well-known Marvel characters. That’s when Doctor Strange shows up and erases the Marvel universe from the issue.
The art for Unholy Union starts off strong with a gorgeous cover by original Image member and Top Cow founder, Marc Silvestri. It takes a slight downturn with interior pages by Michael Broussard, whose artwork is very much old-school Image (Top Cow does produce this crossover, after all), but then ramps back up again with the introduction of the Marvel characters. Broussard really lays into it with splash pages of Ghost Rider and The Hulk and then The Darkness and The Witchblade.
We really get a tease of some really great artwork at the end of the 24-page issue with three pages of additional material on Sara Pezzini, The Witchblade, featuring a classic Marc Silvestri pinup shot, Patrick Gleason, Magdalena, The Darkness, and The Angelus. There is also a 4-page preview of First Born #1. It is only pinups of the main characters, but when the art is done by digital painter Stjepan Sejic, I don’t think you can say “only.” His phenomenal work alone is worthy of checking out the First Born series.
The Unholy Union one-shot is meant to be read right before First Born #1. It ends with a scene involving Cyberforce and the Angelus that is duplicated early on in the first issue of First Born. It is interesting to see the two different artists, Michael Broussard and Stjepan Sejic, take on the same scene. Unholy Union seems like a great jumping on point for anyone interested in getting on board the Top Cow Universe. It is a must-have for any fan of any of the Top Cow books, but should not really be a draw for any Doctor Strange, Hulk ,or Ghost Rider fans. You will only be left disappointed.
A war between the Light and the Dark? How and why is the Angelus searching for a host body? What or who is the Unholy Union? How is Sara Pezzini’s baby involved? There are many questions raised in Unholy Union. Hopefully we’ll find out all the answers starting in First Born # 1, but we could have done without the Marvel cameos to do it.