I’ve been reading Witchblade since it began. I guess I was 11-12. My Mom started collecting them and I was enthralled. Until that point I had only read the spandex, cape and mask comics. A non-superhero comic book was a huge turning point in the way I saw comic books and sent my already overwhelming interest in comics skyrocketing. The Darkness came soon after, but Witchblade was were it started. Michael Turner’s art is instantly recognizable. A little over the top sometimes, but it fit for the world of Witchblade.
Witchblade is one of the longest running female lead comic book in history. Wonder Woman has been around a while, but with lots of starts and stops. While it started off with just a connection between the Witchblade and the Darkness, Top Cow eventually spawned Artifacts, and added 11 other magically inclined items all linked together. Artifacts is story of epic proportions, but always grounded by those first two characters. Witchblade was even made into TV show, which paved the way and helped usher in comic book related TV shows after it. Arrow, Agents of SHIELD, Smallville; shows like these wouldn’t of had it so easy if not for Witchblade.
Which brings us to issue #170. A twist on an iconic X-Men cover design, (Uncanny X-Men 251, to be exact) which was originally done by Marc Silvestri back in 1989. It’s a beautiful cover and a great way to celebrate a comic that, while popular and holds many records and is often high-praised, is often left out when talking about comics important to the industry. Witchblade has been just as fundamental to my comic book history and to the way I judge other comics as X-Men or Justice League are. In some ways, more so. With issue 170, Top Cow gives us a jumping on point for the series.
Without discounting the last 17 years of story-lines (holy crap. Have I really been reading a comic book for 17 years? …Yeah. I guess I /am/ that old now… Shit.) issue 170 re-introduces Sara, gives details about her past without making it convoluted and feeling like 17 years of back-issues. We have a page of “these are the things she’s dealt with. Here’s the important bits. This is her past. Here’s where she is now.” It’s no different than any other character; they’ve given you enough information not to feel lost, but given her enough of a past that new readers can learn who she’s been as they go along.
I really loved the artwork on this; expressive, detailed, and different than what you’ve come to expect from the book. Laura Braga and Betsy Gonia are a great team. Ron Marz, whom I have a love/hate relationship with (which means I love his writing, I hate him for creating Kyle Rayner, and he doesn’t actually know I even exist) does a fantastic job with this issue. I’m really pleased with the over all feel of the book and definitely looking forward to #171.
I’ve been a huge Top Cow fan since I was a kid, they haven’t let me down yet, and Witchblade #170 is no different. I definitely recommend picking this up; if you’re a past Witchblade fan, a current Witchblade fan, or you’ve never even heard of the character before, right now is the best time to dive in.
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