Overview

Artifacts #14

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Artifacts #14

Credits

  • Words: Ron Marz
  • Art: Stjepan Sejic
  • Story Title: "New Creation" Part One
  • Publisher: Top Cow Comics/Image Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Feb 8, 2012

With the birth of the new Top Cow Universe, readers meet former friends in new roles.

A large-scale Top Cow Universe crossover was never in the cards years ago. Characters like The Darkness and Witchblade would interact, as natural, but taking the whole universe into one event was unheard of. Likewise, giving a soft-reboot to the universe (a staggeringly young universe, at least in comparison to DC's 25-year revamping thrice over and Marvel's near-50 years of superheroes) to set up an easier entry point to these antiheroes was surprising.

Given that most of them came from the extreme and gritty 1990s, yet are having trouble succeeding beyond the comic front (for every enjoyable The Darkness game, there's a Witchblade TV series that just doesn't succeed), these characters are far from the name recognition of a Superman or Spider-Man. Top Cow's made them more approachable than ever while not throwing out anything their audiences have come to expect; things have changed, but the characters might be the same.

Artifacts is, thankfully, easy enough to hop into. Much like many of The New 52, as a new reader you may have heard of the characters, but they're in new situations to you as much as they are to the established fan base. The series was recently changed to an ongoing one, and as Top Cow's crossover/event book, the book amost serves as a guideline for the rebuilt universe.

The art of Stjepan Sejic is simply amazing. Balancing between painted realism and comic book lightness and darkness, the fact that Stjepan covers all aspects of the art alone provides a unity that tends to be ignored and forgotten in a world where comic book pages are too-often passed from one hand to another to a tertiary in an effort to get the most books out on time. The photorealism nearly inherent to this style only serves to indicate how horrifying some of the aspects of this world are, and provide a stark contrast in theme, yet a nice evolution in style.

Marz's writing is equally nice, although it does fall prey a bit to a problem that other post-event books have: a haunting reference to the past, intended purely for the reader, but espoused by a character internally or expositorily takes the reader out of the book, reminding them that cosmic events happened. It's happened in The New 52, with references to how the Teen Titans could have been different, and it's as jarring here as it was there. It's purely for the fan, a nod and a wink that yes, we know what happened in the previous timeline, even if the characters themselves may or may not.

"New Creation" is the perfect jumping-on point not for Artifacts but the whole Top Cow Universe. If you've not paid much attention to their corner of your local comic book shop, this is a great chance to give them a shot.

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