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.
If you have not read the entire Witchblade saga, or you are like me and enjoy a refresher, then this is a must read. The issue presents a summary of the saga going back to the beginning with Kenneth Irons and Ian Nottingham. But this is much more than just a summary of the story: it is a creative expression in and of itself. All the “documents” contained in the file are framed within pages that look like manila folders. The various documents use different formats, fonts, styles, and so forth, really providing the impression that this is a collection of records, clippings, email printouts, certificates, etc.
What I found most impressive about this magazine (I cannot call it a comic) is the amount of different voices and writing styles used by the writer. Each document has its own unique voice that reflects the character from whom the document originated. I am always impressed with writers who are able to effectively switch voices. It demonstrates genuine writing talent.
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!
So I really like the direction the series is taking. There is definitely a strong female energy here and it works really well.
Sara is in the hospital after being shot with an unusual bullet that is clearly some type of mystical artifact. She is still in critical condition, but as the doctor says, she is a strong woman and will likely survive. We have another flashback scene to when Sara tried to relinquish the Witchblade with the assistance of the Magdalena who suggested placing it in the Reliquary of St. Vitus to nullify the object’s mystical power. That, needless to say, does not turn out well. The episode ends with Deputy Kate Rooney entering Sara’s hospital room to find a blade-wielding person there, who summons the Angelus, the mystical being who is the embodiment of The Light.
As I said, I really like this chapter so far. My only complaint is that there is not much nuance or symbolism to elaborate on. But the storyline and artwork are outstanding. I can live without symbolism if the story and the imagery is strong enough, and so far that is certainly the case here. I’ll be reviewing Issue # 172 soon.
This issue marks the beginning of a new chapter in the Witchblade saga, with a new writer (Ron Marz) and new artist (Laura Braga). I have to say, I was very happy to see that a female artist was brought on. I think a woman will bring a different perspective to the series. It may be psychological, but even though Sara Pezzini is depicted as very sexually attractive, she just seems less objectified. Anyway, I’m glad that there is a woman’s creative input now. I think it bodes well for the development of this strong female character.
Sara has now left Chicago and returned to New York where she is the sheriff of Saratoga County. She is investigating a string of ritualistic murders where the victims are hung on a wooden X and decapitated. There is also a flashback where Sara is seen losing her control over the Witchblade, and as a result, sought the help of the Magdalena to see whether she could rid herself of the gauntlet. The issue ends with Sara being shot at the Sheriff’s Office and her deputy, Kate Rooney (another strong and intelligent female character), entering to find her bleeding.
I have to say that I am very excited about this new chapter in the saga. I love Witchblade and I am looking forward to seeing the direction that the story takes, which I hope will have a more feminist perspective. I am definitely not one of those men who are threatened by strong and independent women. I welcome the change and look forward to the subsequent issues.
I have to say, I got a good chuckle out of this issue. Sara ends up going on a date with Cain Jorgenson to see the Cubs play the Mets at Wrigley Field. Sara is a staunch Mets fan and her fervor reminded me of how much I loved going to see the Mets play at Shea Stadium when I was a kid. I confess that I have lost my interest in team sports over the years, but I had some good baseball memories.
There is an interesting passage in this issue regarding the use of magic to manifest things in the real world. Two criminals capture a “bargaining spirit” and are deciding what to do with it.
Bee Bee: Are… are you going to use him to make wishes?
Rook: Aw, hell no. Magic’ll always screw ya. Wishing ain’t no way to make money.
I have heard magic defined as the ability to cause events to manifest in accordance with your will. But we know from chaos theory that everything you do, and I would venture to include everything you think, has a rippling effect throughout reality. While I don’t assert that practicing magic as a means to generate prosperity is inherently wrong, one must always be prudent. Magic is not an exact science and sometimes things manifest in ways that we do not anticipate.
The saga is “to be continued” in issue 163, which I already have and will be reviewing shortly.