Witchblade Vol. 1: Witch Hunt
Written by Ron Marz
Pencils by Mike Choi
Inks by Sal Regla, Joe Weems, Matt “Batt” Banning
Colors by Brian Buccellato
Letters by Robin Spehar, DD’s Dennis Heisler, Troy Peteri
Covers by Greg Land, Jay Leisten, Justin Ponsor, Frank Cho, Laura Martin, Sonia Oback
Top Cow Productions
Cover price: $9.99; On-sale: Feb. 13, 2008
Witchblade. A comic I had heard rumblings about.
When Geeks offered me the opportunity to review this, I jumped at the chance to review this trade paperback, because it was Numero Uno. This meant I would have some semblance of a story to start with (it’s a new story, although it starts as #80; this TPB collections #80-85). It also gave me the prospect of looking into something from Top Cow.
Surprised? I am. My Top Cow intake is non-existent. That is not because I’m not a fan, oh no, I personally have stopped collecting comics is all. After I managed to secure all of the back issues to complete my collection of a certain Transmetropolitan, I thought it would be easier to get TPBs instead in the future. As many a comic-store owner has told me, TPB is an option, because the stuff I search for is usually few and far between. That and the fact that I’m always that little bit late coming onto a miniseries.
You must understand that British comic shops are somewhat of a backstreet shady affair; even my local comic merchant supplants his income not from comics but from back-of-the-store Adult Magazines. A shame really, but leaving the store with comics nestled in a brown paper bag leaves nothing to the imagination…
Which is the reason for my interest in this. Something new for me, something fresh. However, what I didn’t plan on was being thrown in the deep end! So I took to researching the back story (accounting for the overdue nature of this review!).
What do I know about Witchblade? Apart from the eye-catching artwork, and the fact that it is this artwork that captured the imagination of many a young man, by which you, reader, will know exactly what I’m on about…
With a cover gallery of artists (found at the back of the book) such as personal favourite Frank Cho (an inspired choice for a cover) as well as luminaries such as Greg Land, with such a style I associate closely with Michael Turner — famed for his recognizable style. Anyway, with a plethora of women on show, I’ll repeat…what do I know about Witchblade, and I write this with knowledge that many comic fans like me will be new to this.
Witchblade was created by Marc Silvestri and David Wohl (which makes sense given Silvestri’s artistic styling), with Brian Haberlin and Michael Turner, starring a character called Sara Pezzini. This lead character, in the possession of the Witchblade, a supernatural, sentient artifact with immense destructive and protective powers, an offspring of the Darkness (another Silvestri creation) that Pezzini as a NYPD detective used…
…which brings us to the start of this comic. We find Pezzini in hospital, reasons unknown (to me also), with the awareness that she attracts all kinds of strangeness. As with many comic characters, I’m assuming that as Witchblade she will do battle with all manner of mythical, magical, mortal, and demonic occurrences. But as a member of the general public and ultimately as a detective, trying to cover this fact would prove difficult when trying to maintain some relative normalcy. The Top Cow Universe.
But here we find her in a coma.
Detective Patrick Gleason is assigned to find out what the ‘hell’ happened to Pezzini, the coma, and what it has to do with her body being found in a church. Something suggests throughout the course of the story that something demonic had a part to play…but what I can’t reveal is what. All for the sake of the story.
And for that reason, I will not reveal anymore. I want you to search out this TPB (if you have not read it before) because I am engrossed in it. The plot thickens with the involvement of the Catholic Church, and some mysterious sect and a diminutive Chinese man who seems to know more than he is letting on, with a shop that looks like it came straight of the film Gremlins … I really wish I could tell more, and now considering this is on sale NOW! You should look it up, I sure as hell will.
But, I do want to talk about the art. Usually I am put off by the typically drawn square-jawed lotharios, with more muscle than the average man. Something like the period during the 1990s with Rob Liefeld and Erik Larsen (both Image comics founders) when heroes were seemingly drawn with musculature that reminded me of walnuts wrestling for room in a wetsuit. Many of the characters all seem to fit a certain style of perfectly chiseled jawed or perfectly toned, but as with any comic, so long as the writing captures your imagination then you are in it for the long haul, which is what this does.
But with the pencil duties by Mike Choi, the artwork stands out. This is due to the slight nuances and pencil strokes that add to the atmosphere of the series, it strikes me that the care and attention given to simple things like hair, something I would not have the patience to draw, makes it cool. Add to this the inks by Sal Regla, Joe Weems, and Matt Banning and the colours by Brian Buccellato and the whole piece is complete.
Simplicity such as the blurred background, the sheens and the black shadow blocks again add to the atmosphere, which would otherwise seem ordinary. Much like at the start of the comic, whereby a hospital room seems something else. Other little touches that appear are such like when Gleason runs out into the crowd and small kids are wearing clothes and costumes from other characters of Image.
I must rate the artwork as we progress through the TPB, and I can only hint at what is due later on in the story…wait and see.