Overview

Artifacts #1

Review

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Artifacts #1

Credits

  • Words: Ron Marz
  • Art: Michael Broussard
  • Inks: Rick Basaldua & Sal Regla
  • Colors: Sunny Gho of IFS
  • Publisher: Top Cow Productions/Image Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Jul 21, 2010

Separately, 13 Artifacts guide the fate of the universe. Together, 13 Artifacts will end the universe.”

Sounds pretty heavy, doesn’t it? Now, what if a casual reader, having never forayed into the religion themed Top Cow creations such as Witchblade, The Darkness, and Angelus, picked this up and took it for a spin? Would said reader be lost, scratching his or her head about how all this matches up? Would the reader enjoy this without carrying the seemingly necessary baggage for this story to hold any gravitas?

The simple answer is no. No homework needed.

I took that challenge, having never read any of the aforementioned titles and being wholly unfamiliar with the stories in the Top Cow universe. Artifacts is being touted as equal parts entry point and game changer for all these characters, and judging by the swift effectiveness of this first chapter, it’s approaching the oncoming story successfully. Top Cow even included an Origin of the Witchblade and various character bios as back matter. They really want new readers to be as invested as old.

Veteran writer, Ron Marz, weaves a narrative that drops you right in the middle of the action. He introduces most of these players mid-scene, which is a tricky endeavor. You could easily run the risk of making the audience feel like they missed something. When done right, the reader is compelled to learn more and becomes emotionally invested. Marz succeeds in the latter, giving us snapshots of these people as their fates start to align. Sure, some introductions are a little clichéd, but they serve a solid purpose in the overall narrative, which makes them work.

Michael Broussard’s art has a sketchy aesthetic, but maintains a control that doesn’t let the looser parts get away from him. The inking team keeps the lines relatively thin, keeping the artist’s details intact. In some panels, he has a kinetic style that’s almost reminiscent of Leinil Yu or even J. Scott Campbell in his monsters and handling of the Witchblade. Broussard is solid, staying true to the company’s Marc Silvestri origins, but making it his own.

The story that these two men create is one that I don’t completely understand, yet. But, the basic details of the plot are handed out in an entertaining and easy to follow fashion. Apparently, all of these characters established over the years are avatars or carriers for certain artifacts that are responsible for guiding the fate of the universe. They are never meant to be used in tandem, for doing so could bring about the end of existence. Well, you guessed it, some force, somewhere, is putting things in motion for just that to happen. Marz pulls this all together with a highly effective and emotional ending that surprised me in its brutality and emotional resonance. For an issue that’s just set up, it packs a pretty potent punch.

Could this series convert the average Marvel Zombie or rigidly devoted member of the DC Nation? Maybe. Thirteen issues is a lofty commitment for one event, but if Marz and company can maintain this pace of entertaining storytelling, then it could be a move in the right direction.

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