Overview

Witchblade #82

Review

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Witchblade #82

Credits

  • Words: Ron Marz
  • Art: Mark Choi
  • Inks: Sal Regla
  • Colors: Brian Buccellato
  • Story Title: Witch Hunt - Part 3 (of 6)
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jan 26, 2005

Witchblade’s solid new creative team continues to restore the book to its former glory. If that isn’t reason enough to check it out, the Magdelena’s back, too!

For a while now, I’ve had to endure a certain look from the guy who rings me up at my neighborhood comic shop. He never says anything, but he gives me this look when he gets to the Witchblade in my stack. Clearly, he seems to be thinking, I’m only buying it to ogle Sara Pezzini’s goodies.

Well, he can wipe that funky look off his face any day he likes now, because the people at Top Cow have put a killer creative team in charge of their flagship title, and the improvement is astounding.

Writer Ron Marz began the "Witch Hunt" arc with a novel approach. Sara remained in a coma for all of issue #80 while a new character, a detective named Gleason, tried to familiarize himself with her history. This is a nifty way to bring the newcomers and the prodigals up to speed, while at the same time set plot devices in motion for the rest of the arc. #81 brought back some of the mystery elements to the series. Sara is also a detective after all, though the temptation has been to forget that when the main character possesses a mystical weapon that conveniently requires her to wear a metal bikini. As Sara struggles to put her memory back together, unseen forces and deadly monsters are moving behind the scenes about to strike. And we, like Gleason, still don’t have all the answers.

It’s guarded optimism, but it feels to me like everything that was once great about this comic book is back again. #82 is the halfway point for "Witch Hunt," and it delivers some exciting action early on and reveals just enough intrigue to hook a reader and keep them hungry for more answers. Marz is doing an excellent job of pacing the book, blazing new trails for the character while incorporating a lot of the old canon along the way. To up the ante, the story is poised for Sara and the Magdalena to rumble in the very near future. And that, friends? That’s going to be sweet.

But on to Mark Choi, a relative newcomer to the comics scene. If you didn’t know better, you would swear Michael Turner was back on Witchblade. Seriously, this guy has mad skills. Sara and the blade have not looked this good since the early days. The detail, the monsters, the action; these are all signs of many, many good things to come from Mr. Choi. He’s a keeper, no question about it. Check out even the first few pages of this issue to see what I mean.

Witchblade has desperately needed some focus as of late. For a while it muddled around in some monster-of-the-week stuff and a couple of splashy "event" pieces that were okay, but didn’t do much to advance the narrative of the book. Marz and Choi have wisely given Sara some new priorities, and their treatment of the character is respectful but not exploitative. Gone is the pointless stripping down to the bikini at the first sign of trouble. Through her whole fight with the monstrous demons in this issue, the metal armor of the fully engaged Witchblade wraps itself logically over Sara’s t-shirt as opposed to somehow removing it entirely. And you know what? She still looks hot. But she’s got a little more depth than that.

Sara’s a gorgeous-looking woman, there’s no denying it, but she also happens to be a detective. In addition, she happens to be the wielder of a powerful weapon of a vaguely malevolent nature, something Sara has never fully come to terms with. This is what matters to the new creative team, and the quality of the book really reflects that in this issue. After a recap and intro in #80, Marz has wasted no time in reviving the action, the character drama and the internal conflict that made this a compelling read in its heyday. Choi has, for his part, beautifully brought Marz’s new direction to life. He does a pretty mean Magdalena, to boot.

If you’ve been thinking about giving Witchblade a shot, now’s your chance. If you’ve been hoping for a reason to come back, this is it. If you’re the guy who gives me that look while he rings me up… Dude. She happens to have a hot bod, but it’s a good comic. So get off my case.

-Jesse Vigil

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