I’m a recent convert to this title, after the awesome Vol. 5 TPB and the even more awesome talents of artist Stjepan Sejic. Writer Ron Marz continues to build upon the mystical gauntlet’s mythos and shows once again that his deft hand is capable of fitting in to any genre.
Dancer Dani Baptiste (absent in this ish) is now, thanks to the recent events of the First Born arc, the wielder of half of the Witchblade, while long-time cop Sara Pezzini wields its twin. However, that doesn’t mean Sara has half of the trouble to deal with. Although in this issue, the first of the three part Crown Heights story arc, the only time Sara breaks out the blade is not in the midst of a frantic battle, but in the shower with her lover, fellow cop, Patrick Gleason.
The pair travel to Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community, specifically the Chabad-Lubavitch sect to investigate a rabbi’s gruesome murder, while tip-toeing around sensitive race issues at the same time. Meanwhile journalist Gretch tries to convince her editor of the existence of the Witchblade to run it on the front page, and hounds Sara until she gets some answers, which it looks like she just may get in following issues.
Although there is no fighting or hectic action to speak of, Marz still captivates with his swift pace and well crafted intrigue. Once again, the art is gorgeous. Sejic’s beautifully rendered figures add much realism. He also adds nice touches like soft focus backgrounds, reflections on windshields, and sunlight pouring into downtown streets. All this gives the book the grandeur of a Michael Bay film in comic book format. Top Cow are blessed to have an artist of Sejic’s talent on their roster.
The cover sums this issue up perfectly – Sara in full Witchblade get-up surrounded by staid priests. It’s like Witness, if Harrison Ford was a beautiful woman operating a powerful supernatural weapon. Future issues will certainly ramp up the action, as secrets are uncovered and the tight Jewish community reveals its true colours. For now, this first issue is a classy set-up.