Overview

Witchblade #127

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Witchblade #127

Credits

  • Words: Ron Marz
  • Art: Stjepan Sejic
  • Story Title: War of the Witchblades, Part 3
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: May 20, 2009

Seeing superheroes turn evil has always made most fans either wince or roll their eyes. From Hal Jordan becoming Parallax to Wolverine becoming a feral creature to a whole host of spandex clad ‘heroes’ in the 90s, almost every comic character has turned from good to bad, or vice versa. And it’s usually greeted with the same amount of hostility and despair that found Hulk Hogan when he started wearing black and acting nasty.

The problem is that these changes can appear very inorganic. Whether it be editorial mandate, or jumping on the bandwagon, anytime a writer flips a switch to make a goodie a baddie is awkward and out of place. Saying all that, however, it’s obvious that Top Cow have thought long and hard about the current direction of Sara Pezzini. The New York detective has become a single mother and a wielder of only half of the powerful mystical gauntlet as of late. One more change isn’t going to make a huge difference. Or is it? Yes, actually, if this issue is anything to go by.

Writer Ron Marz and artist Stjepan Sejic have been on this series long enough to take bold command. Sara’s descent into darkness doesn’t seem like a sudden change of direction. It’s a meaningful build up of what the pair have been doing for the last few months and more. This is the third part of the appropriately titled War of the Witchblades story arc, in which Sara and Dani, wielding the light and dark halves of the ‘blade respectively, start to clash. However, the beauty of this series is that it’s simple. That may seem like a strange attribute to praise, but in today’s spandex soap operas, it’s a high selling point for comics newbies. I only read every third or fourth issue of this book and I never feel lost. This is due not only to Marz’s skill as a writer, avoiding thrusting exposition on us at every turn, but also the handy one page “previously in…” summary in every issue. This is a great idea, and I’m so glad to see Marvel dedicating a page in their issues to the concept too. Come on DC! You should be next.

This issue begins with two winged rebels from the Angelus force taunting a desperate man praying, before making their move on the vulnerable Sara, who is now separated from her devious mentor Tau’Ma. Dani arrives at Sara’s house to check on her, but finds only Sara’s child, Hope being looked over by Sara’s boyfriend, fellow detective Gleason. Sara has been missing all night, and can’t remember why and becomes increasingly hostile to Dani, despite her desire for calm. Sara goes nuts and a catfight is on.

The hostility and desperation between the female warriors reminded me of Obi-Wan and Anakin in Episode III. Former friends who have now become enemies. One is being corrupted by a force bigger than themselves, while the other struggles to keep a level head, while also maintaining some semblance of humanity towards their new opponent. Instead of lightsabres we get gauntlets. Actually, that’s a simplification, but it’s obvious that Sara is a pawn and not just a hotheaded loose cannon. As the two women finish their fight, those pesky Angelus rebels show up to turn the tide and two hidden onlookers have differing reactions.

The issue finishes with a one page epilogue which also helps to sum up the recent Witchblade events. This is a series with a purpose to not only please the existing fans, but to create new ones.  It is an accessible tale, beautifully rendered with great panache as always by Sjepic. With pitch perfect rendering, dynamic layouts and the lighting flair of a Hollywood cinematographer, Sjepic is an artist with great skill. More than page after page of fighting, he and Marz are creating a crescendo here that’s building to a surely powerful climax, and quite possibly only one Witchblade wielder will remain.

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