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COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Witchblade #185

 
Witchblade 185 cover
Witchblade 185 cover
Witchblade 185 cover

 
Overview
 

Story by: Ron Marz & Matt Hawkins
 
Art by: Abhishek Malsuni, Zsolt H. Garisam, Michael Turner, Stjepan Sejic , Linda Sejic , Isaac Goodhart , Phillip Sevy , Nelson Blake II , Randy Green & D-Tron
 
Publisher:
 
FG RATING
 
 
 
 
 
3/ 5


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To sum it all up..

HASTA LA VISTA, SARA! For twenty years, 1995-2015, Witchblade created an impact of sorts in our comic book consciousness. That comic series is one of Top Cows Productions’ greatest creations and also provided opportunities for upstart illustrators to shine and eventually, transcend their respective crafts, like Michael Turner, Francis Manapul, Stjepan Sejic, and its founder […]

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Posted November 30, 2015 by

 
FULL REVIEW
 
 

Witchblade 185 coverHASTA LA VISTA, SARA!

For twenty years, 1995-2015, Witchblade created an impact of sorts in our comic book consciousness. That comic series is one of Top Cows Productions’ greatest creations and also provided opportunities for upstart illustrators to shine and eventually, transcend their respective crafts, like Michael Turner, Francis Manapul, Stjepan Sejic, and its founder and co-creator, Marc Silvestri. Now, the supernatural-science-fantasy-noir has to end in Witchblade #185. It is considered a passing-of-torch for that is the premise of this finale — Sarah Pezzini wants to give up her Witchblade after twenty years wearing it. The biggest problem is this, who is the worthy replacement of this powerful ancient and supernatural artifact? This send-off chapter is indeed a “double-sized” ender, and divided into two chapters, one is written by the series’ longest served comic scribe, Ron Marz, and the end part is done by another familiar series writer, Matt Hawkins. And as expected, some of the book’s past and present illustrators come back to give this one a decent farewell to one of the most recognizable pop culture femme fatale comic figures ever. And, as often seen in many farewell issues around, there are a couple of afterword by Marz, and co-creators Brian Haberlin and Silvestre.

Aptly named as an “End of the era”, Ron Marz starts off by having Sara returned to her roots, New York City, where all the mess started. Talking about a memory lane, the following pages are basically a re-interpretation of some of the rehashed origin stories Sara-Witchblade churned in over and over. The only twist occurred in that darkly illustrated abandoned theater (why that structure is still around despite being decrepit, virtually useless and irrelevant is beyond yours truly) was the appearance of the weapon’s personification and the agreement between Sara and the essence itself. Then Matt takes over the writing chores and chronicles how Sara talked with three potential replacements as she tried to move on with her life, especially with her newfound purpose of becoming a “normal” woman once and for all. Unsurprisingly, it took a long time before the ancient supernatural weapon chose its so-called worthy successor, thus ending the long and dragging story. To spice up who is that replacement, the final pages are focused on the preview of the upcoming series, SWITCH where it feels like a typical superhero mainstream comics nowadays, Top Cow is searching for new younger demographics but the essence of Witchblade is still there nonetheless.

I have no misgivings on Marz’s overall quality in his supposedly ultimate Withchblade issue. As a matter of fact, he actually made this series as his own and even once revitalized it. But as I said then, the returning to the source of all sources storytelling approach is often applied and done, with less surprises or even resulting to even predictable scenarios that fail to transcend many readers’ intelligence. Or maybe, this chapter is targeted also with newcomers around since this one also littered with many past illustrations of the series’ co-creators, Michael Turner. In that regards, I find this neither boring nor exciting; it is just so pretty predictable at all since I had read some of the past Witchblade and other company-wide events, like the Artifacts-Top Cow cross-over, that witnessed Sara’s intentions of finding, replacing, and leaving the Witchblade itself over and over. As for Hawkins’ narrative style, his writing is basically saying the same point over and over, or to put it bluntly, verbosity. Great writers could have explained why and/or what exactly made the Witchblade rejected Sara’s list of qualified replacements. If the sole reason is its “supernatural” nature then that actually destroys the rationality of enjoying this finale. This makes me looked back on the earlier issues where the weapon itself literally destroyed the unworthy bearers, most particularly male counterparts. Personally, if this “new girl on the block” fails to impress readers around, Sara will sooner than later be back. Such is the “circle of life”.

The illustrations in the interiors are indeed very decent to say to least. But, this ultimate chapter is more of a tribute to the everlasting artistic legacies of the late Michael Turner, whose art may be off-put to modern comic book readers, yet his highly kinetic and pulsating paneling sequences, good artistic illustrations of women (like Sara naturally), and his true love for the craft were the biggest reasons why Witchblade survived its initial but critical runs (to put this in perspective, the late 1990s saw the spiral down of the comic book industry both in quality and financially, which both Marvel and Image took the biggest setbacks, until both of them put substance over stylish on their titles in the 2000s). That one is definitely nostalgic for both long-time readers and Turner-believers alike. Aside from that tribute, I personally judge the respective artists’ artwork quality as passable, for they do not seem to give their great, if not best, illustrations on the series that actually gave them employment or the trajectory launch pad in the comic industry. Some drawings are seemed rushed. Yes, Sejic is there, but I miss his digitally enhanced illustrations since his epic Artifact-run. But Abhishek Malsuni’s drawings on Sara are actually good, even the paneling and the long angular perspectives.

In conclusion, Witchblade #185 “officially” finishes the twenty-year run of Sara Pezzini as the reluctant wielder of the titular independent supernatural-noir, female-driven superpower-series. It can be served paradoxically as a starting point for new readers around for it retells what transpired for the past twenty years though the storytelling and illustrations departments barely make out on the levelness of great overall executions, plus some of the former artists and scribes are reasonably absent that might can flavor or add dynamism on Sara’s last days as the supernatural wielder. Though it features the new series of the supernatural ancient artifact’s replacement, SWITCH #1, those pages alone fell already this newcomer would become the Witchblade the LESS. Again, we’ll most probably see Sara again, sooner or later….

 

 


Paul Ramos

 


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