I was a fan of the original Witchblade comic, and have a box full of earlier issues. While I loved the mythology and the mystical elements of the saga, I confess that the sexualized representations of women were sometimes difficult for me. Which is why when my friend Darrin at the comic store showed me the new re-imagined Witchblade, written and illustrated by women, I was intrigued and bought the first issue.
This first issue faces the daunting task of starting a new story built upon a series that embodies 185 issues over its 20-year history. We are introduced to Alex Underwood, the new wielder of the gauntlet, who is unaware of what she has and the power the artifact contains. She grapples with doubts regarding her sanity as she begins the symbiotic merging of her consciousness and being with the mystical bracelet.
At the end of the issue is an interview with writer Caitlin Kittredge and artist Roberta Ingranata. When asked how the new artistic perspective differs from the original story, Roberta responds:
Fewer boobs [laughs]! I think the new WITCHBLADE will have a different reading key. We have a simpler protagonist, a common woman you could meet in the street. A woman who has to fight with personal demons as much as real ones.
The female point of view, in this kind of story, helps to depict a much stronger introspective and emotional side of the character.
Caitlin elaborates on the female perspective of the story:
Female creative teams are unfortunately in the minority right now in comics, and I’m really thrilled to be half of one on this book. I’m even more pleased to be a woman writing a female-lead comic drawn by a female artist. WITCHBLADE has always been a comic, in my opinion, that has tried to present a strong heroine but didn’t have much actual input from a woman. I am definitely interested in continuing to portray a heroine who is strong but human, and a fully fleshed person with both good and bad sides because I feel that’s the greatest service I can do as a writer—delve beneath “strong female character” into the actual person at the core of the new WITCHBLADE.
While it seems strange to read Witchblade without Sara Pezzini, I am curious to see where this new tale goes. So far, I am greatly encouraged and look forward to what this new chapter in the saga has to offer.
Feel free to share your thoughts below. Cheers!
I was recently in the local comic store picking up my cache of comics, and the owner told me he had added this one to my folder, knowing I followed the Witchblade saga. He told me that it was a one-off “crossover” issue that they published after the conclusion of the series. I looked at it and considered whether or not to buy it. I decided that since it is just a single issue story, I would buy it and give it a read.
Now I have to say that I immediately wanted to hate this. I felt annoyed that they had published the finale of Witchblade and then not long after released this. And then there was the cover. It looked like something from an adolescent lesbian fantasy. I was sure I would hate this comic.
After reading it, I can say that, overall, I did not like it; but I did not hate it nearly as much as I thought I would. My biggest complaint about this is the sexually objectified depictions of the women. There is one panel in particular where Sara looks like an inflatable love doll. It borders on the offensive. I guess some people like that, but for me it does nothing.
There are some redeeming qualities to this tale, though. The Indian city of Sitapur (which a quick Google search has confirmed is an actual city in India) is depicted as a blending of ancient and modern, symbolic of the merging of the mystical with the worldly. The goddess Devi is also presented in a similar manner, as a unification of the divine with the physical. This I found interesting and wished that it was more the focus instead of near-naked women in provocative poses. Also, there is some humor thrown in which I found entertaining and which offered some comic relief (yes, pun intended).
So, if you really loved Witchblade, then you might want to pick up a copy, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to do so. Personally, I hope they don’t release any more “crossover” issues. Lay the story to rest with some dignity.
It is with mixed emotions that I read the series finale of Witchblade. I have loved this series and it was one that I have followed for a while, through all its creative ups and downs. There is a spinoff, Switch, that is out, but I am disinclined to start following that. The way I feel it that all stories must end if they are to come around again in a new incarnation of the myth.
The issue is comprised of two chapters, each composed by different creative teams. They are different, but it shows how some stories transcend artistic differences. One of the chapters also includes some original artwork from early in the series, done by Michael Turner, which was a nice touch.
Rather than get too sappy, I figured I would just include some quotes from this issue, which I feel are appropriate. Thanks to all the people who worked on this inspiring graphic novel. It has definitely had an impact on me.
But you need to decide if this is over. Things end, Sara. Best-case scenario is when you get to make that choice.
At times, it’s hard for me to accept what I’ve seen and experienced as real. There’s a world of supernatural wonders and horrors we aren’t meant to see… and most should be grateful for their ignorance.
Some things are meant to be beyond human understanding. I was raised Catholic. I still believe in God although my experience with angels and demons is that they don’t quite line up with what’s written in the Bible. Concepts of good and evil are more fluid than I wanted to believe.
Several weeks ago, when I went to the comic store to pick up my latest issues, the woman working there told me that they had gotten this graphic novel as part of a collection they purchased. Since they know I am a Witchblade fan, they set it aside for me in case I was interested. The price was right, so I figured I would purchase it. It took me a while to get around to it, but this morning I finally got around to reading it and it was pretty good.
The graphic novel is a stand-alone story and was published in 2000. The basic premise is that Kenneth Irons has enlisted the help of Lex Luthor in acquiring the Witchblade. Sara is injured and taken the the Justice League headquarters for treatment. While she is there, the Witchblade determines that Wonder Woman is the more powerful female, hence more suitable bearer, and the artifact detaches itself from Sara and “chooses” Wonder Woman. The result is that Wonder Woman becomes corrupted by the weapon’s darker power and turns on the other members of the Justice League. At the climax, there is a confrontation between Sara Pezzini and Wonder Woman.
I found this tale to be entertaining and fun. There is nothing deep or thought-provoking, just a basic retelling of the classic “power corrupts” motif. There was some irony here that did not escape my attention, though. The women characters were definitely depicted as sexually idealized, which is annoying. But the irony is that at one part of the novel, Wonder Woman is addressing the United Nations, scantily clad and looking like a teen poster pinup, and talking about the importance of women opposing patriarchy and assuming leadership roles in the world.
… As you are all well aware, our mother planet faces grave economic, environmental and social problems; in order to solve them—I call upon women across the globe to rise up and throw off the yoke of patriarchal tyranny!
I was glad to see that there was at least an attempt to promote gender equality here, but as is evident, there is still a long way to go.
While I have been consistently reading the Witchblade saga, I have not posted on it in a while (my last one was for issue #176). The reason being that the recent issues were just not blog-worthy. I enjoyed them, but they lacked the depth of content that made for an interesting blog post. This issue, though, inspired me to write.
The story takes off immediately with Sara, clad in a Ramones tee-shirt, battling a six-headed Hindu god. My interest was instantly piqued. She defeats the god and is approached by two men who said this was a test. They escort her to meet their “employer,” a woman named Amaryllis who appears as an archetype of a warrior goddess. She tells Sara she is in need of an agent who “trafficks with the supernatural. Someone who walks in the world behind our world.”
I require someone with power, and experience in wielding it. Everything I’ve done, everything I’ve gathered here, is so I can keep the world safe from the evil at its edges. I need a knight to serve me, Sara. I need you.
I am one who believes in parallel dimensions, so the idea of someone being able to pass through the veil and visit hidden worlds is something I find fascinating. In the past, the writers of Witchblade have drawn on mythology and the supernatural, and I closed this issue with the distinct impression that the creative team is returning to this formula, which I am very happy about. I’m trying not to raise my expectations too high, but I have a good feeling about the direction the story is taking. I suppose more will be revealed next month. I’ll be sure to let you know my thoughts–good, bad, or indifferent.
This is a creepy issue. Sara and Rooney search a carnival junk yard for two missing boys. They discover that they were abducted by a psycho-clown from another dimension. There is a definite nod to Stephen King’s It. In fact, after Sara saves the boys and vanquishes the clown, she tells the boys, “You’re safe… and I don’t think we’ll be seeing him… It… again.”
At the end of the tale, Rooney asks Sara if she can explain to her what happened. Sara is unable to, since when she went to retrieve the lost boys, she crossed into another dimension where time and space are different. She realizes that she cannot express what happens in another realm of consciousness or existence in a way that makes sense in our reality.
I could tell you what happened, but I’m not sure I could explain it. What was on the other side was… a different place. A different reality. There it felt like a week, but here…
I love creepy comics. They remind me of when I was a kid and I read all the campy horror comics. I think I will have to get a few for October. It would make for appropriate reading during that time of the year.
This is a special edition and actually contains three stories. The first one, Into the Fire, basically moves the primary story along. Sara has reclaimed the Witchblade and is establishing a new connection with the mystical artifact. She also takes Deputy Rooney into her confidence and sits in the woods with her, ready to share her history with the gauntlet.
The second story, Temple of Shadows, is also written by Ron Marz and illustrated by Laura Braga. It tells the tale of a Japanese woman, Shiori, who was the bearer of the Witchblade during the 17th century. She does battle with an oriental beast that looks like a cross between a man and a dragon. The artwork is very good and it hints at a recurring cycle between stories and events, a concept which I personally find intriguing.
The third tale, 4 for 5, is written by Ashley Robinson and is told from the perspective of Patrick Gleason, Sara’s former partner. I liked this vignette because it explores a male character’s journey to acceptance that he is not as powerful as his strong female partner. I think that some men have difficulty reconciling their masculine roles when in a partnership with a strong woman, whether that be a work relationship or an intimate one. Fortunately, I feel that traditional gender roles are being challenged and that we are moving more toward gender equality. I hope that one day we get there.
The issue concludes with a bonus: draft sketches from Ms. Braga. I found these very interesting, particularly since I am not artistically inclined when it comes to drawing. I enjoyed seeing how the characters and scenes are sketched and outlined. It was enlightening for me.
Overall, this was the best Witchblade issue that I have read in a while. It’s worth picking up if you have not yet done so. Cheers!