I hope that writer and artist Stjepan Sejic fully recovers from his shoulder injuries soon, because although this series is delayed like crazy, it’s definitely worth the wait so far. The previous issue released in April, and now we’ve been graced with Switch 4, the alternate reality version of the Witchblade franchise when a teenager, Mary, is chosen by the ancient artifact of power instead of the NYPD Detective, Sara Pezzini.
Switch 4 begins with Mary Parker reminiscing on how her life has drastically changed. Even when she’s grounded for coming home so late after school one day, she can’t help but keep a smile on her face. She narrates about the first time she saw a UFO, and a lot about how the artifact has changed her perspective on everything. This issue isn’t just about Mary though. The current host of the Darkness is introduced, which also expands on the main plot while introducing a potential rivalry down the road. Another new character, a half-blood of some sort, reveals his power during a dragon fight. And of course, Sara Pezzini bookends this issue with one scene where she’s denied permission to look into the monster attacks at first, only to be given an order to look into the dragon attack. It’s a great way to cap off the issue with a joke that also involves the classic wielder of the Witchblade artifact.
What’s great about Sejic’s writing is that you fully understand everything you need to know, even if you’ve never even heard about the Witchblade series before. There are also plenty of references to fans like myself. Beyond that, this comic is consistently fun, often funny and the action is great. Just like the Witchblade series at its best, this is a delightfully weird fantasy comic.
Sejic doesn’t just write this comic – he also draws and colours it, and the art is great. The opening scene with Sara arguing with her captain is complete with the window blinds casting a lined shadow on the wall, a good variety of buildings in the background and great use of facial expressions to show Sara’s frustration and the Captain’s annoyance. These facial expressions continue throughout the comic, using a balance of subtle looks to slightly exaggerated mouth or eye movements that frequently add to the humour. Mary’s alien shirts are always a nice touch, reminding us of her UFO obsession without the need for words. The action scene toward the end flows very well from panel to panel, and is complete with very detailed dragon fire, all of the Witchblade’s usual spikes flowing around and a great sense of scale.
This is easily my favourite comic of the week. It’s a very entertaining fantasy comic with a compelling story, likeable characters and all sorts of weirdness going on. Witchblade fans should be reading Switch, especially now since the main series is done, and those interested in a delightfully weird fantasy comic should at least give this a chance.