Overview

Witchblade Annual 2009

Review

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Witchblade Annual 2009

Credits

  • Words: Jay Faerber, Joshua Cozine & Joe Henderson
  • Art: Eric Basaldua, Sheldon Mitchell
  • Inks: Rick Basaldua
  • Colors: John Starr, Blond
  • Story Title: If Looks Could Kill, Ned
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: May 5, 2009

I’m as surprised as anyone that this series has really matured in the last few years, due mainly to the talents of writer Ron Marz and artist Stjepan Sejic, and Top Cow’s trust in them. Witchblade has risen above its simple roots to carve a well developed mythology, especially since the "First Born" storyline. Now, the series gets its first ever annual. Realising that it was not created by the aforementioned duo, I was initially disappointed. However, that didn’t last long. This annual, which is made up of two stories within 40 pages, is a great read.

Beginning, like any good horror film, with a half naked woman roaming the streets at night, the first tale is written by Jay Faerber (Dynamo 5) with pencils by Eric Basaldua. Suitably entitled "If Looks Could Kill," it follows a pretty young blonde who is covered in blood (and not much else) who attempts to kill herself before cop and Witchblade wielder Sara Pezzini saves her. One interrogation later proves to be unhelpful, as the blonde, Carrie, has no idea what she was doing and is quite confused by it all. Sara, her partner Detective Gleason and their fellow officers soon start discussing similar cases in which perty ladies hacked their significant others, while claiming amnesia. All of these forgetful killers are patients of the same man – Dr. Rosewood, a plastic surgeon. It turns out that he’s been helping the ladies for free and has the ability to do more than just give them an extreme makeover.

Visiting Rosewood’s wife, while Gleason uses the toilet and just happens to run into the issue’s main reveal is a bit of a stretch, but that’s soon forgiven with a hectic fight in the kitchen and the striking pages that flow throughout.

Basaldua’s art really is a knockout. At first glance it looks like a flashback to early Image, but upon further gazing I realised how detailed it is. Sure, everyone looks perfect, with great hair, great bodies and great faces, but that’s all part of the story. Details such as texture, lighting and architecture achieve maximum dramatic effect and he utilises skilful variety in page layouts to build tension and add impact in the fight scenes.

The second story, entitled "Ned," follows the titular criminal in his new prison, sharing a cell with classic Witchblade villain, Ian Nottingham. It’s written by Joshua Cozine and Joe Henderson, with pencils supplied by Sheldon Mitchell.  The other prisoners start tormenting Ned and taking bets on how long he’ll last, but it’s not long before Ned reveals his true power, and intentions. The art is a letdown after the heights of the previous story, but does share similarities, thanks to the same inker – Rick Basladua. I’m not up on my Witchblade history so I’m not too familiar with the long haired Nottingham or why he’s in prison. However, this is still an enjoyable prison tale, with some blood and swearing thrown in.

Loyal ‘blade readers may not get a lot out of this issue, but it’s certainly accessible to the new reader. There’s no mention of Dani Baptiste and Sara’s war with her, but seeing as that story is becoming increasingly hectic, this annual is a nice breather.

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