Thursday, January 3, 2008

Witchblade #112

Sara Pezzini, the original bearer of the Witchblade gauntlet (or rather, the first such individual to star in a self-titled comic book), is now a proud momma. Her daughter, conceived with Darkness-bearer Jackie Estacado, symbolizes a truce between the forces of darkness and light, and has momentarily halted the age-old battle between the two sides. But some wounds, it would seem, run deeper than others. With Jackie already out of the picture, Sara must fend for herself as rogue agents of both the dark and the light aim to eliminate the child and replenish the battlefield.

Writer Ron Marz does a fair enough job of covering the basics in this issue, although I didn't find myself particularly motivated to continue reading the saga or catch-up with what I'd missed. He merely accomplishes what he sets out to, never taking that next step from understandable storytelling to compelling drama. Even when the two bearers of the Witchblade are fighting tooth and nail against the invading forces of both good and evil, it felt like it was strictly a ho-hum affair.

Sara's personal life is the real focus of this series, with the actions of Danielle (who shares the burden of the Witchblade) little more than an aside. That's fine by me, because from what I gathered Sara is far and away the more interesting character. Having said that, her conversations throughout the issue, especially those with Danielle, frequently border on Lifetime made-for-TV movie material. Sure, she just had a baby, so it's understandable that she's going to want to share her new feelings of motherhood with someone. She's also fighting to save the child from the constant threat of otherworldly creatures. I'm going to wager that most comic book readers would be more interested in elaboration on the latter than the former. Instead, the demons and angels are dealt with quickly and then left in the background, while Sara and her friends tell us all about how they'd totally die for this kid and being a mother isn't all that easy and hey, did you know that parenthood changes your life? Marz discards the elements of the story that are working so he can dwell upon those that aren't.

Rick Leonardi's artwork isn't what I expect from a Top Cow book. That's neither a good thing nor a bad thing — it's just not what I expected. Ever since Marc Silvestri founded the imprint back in the first days of Image Comics, it's maintained an artistic style that's very detailed and dynamic. Leonardi breaks that trend with an extremely light, crisp style — often rendering an entire character with just three or four precise, smooth lines. His characters have plenty of personality, they look comfortable in their surroundings, they're consistent. He's quite good at what he does, but again, it's not what I expected when I first looked past the cover. He's taken more of a Joe Quesada approach, while everyone else who I've ever seen work with the character has leaned much more toward the style made famous by Silvestri himself. For the most part, it's a nice change.

Ultimately, this issue is fairly passé. None of the storytelling seemed to carry any weight, not even when spears were being hurled and angels impaled. The artwork was largely successful, but never felt completely suited to the characters. It wasn't really bad enough to recommend you skip it, but it wasn't good enough to go out of your way to enjoy. Flip through it if you're curious about what the characters have been up to recently, I guess. Just don't expect all that much.

On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is poor and 10 is amazing...
Overall Score: 3.5

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