Last month’s debut issue of this new Witchblade series made it clear that this is a different iteration of the ancient artifact of power. It takes place in a different universe than the original Witchblade series. That in itself isn’t either good or bad, but I can say that two issues in, I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about this new interpretation. Ignoring that, there is a lot to like about this issue, but it’s not perfect.
Written by Caitlin Kittredge, Witchblade 2 continues where the first issue left off. Alex Underwood, a former journalist and current victim’s advocate working for the city, cane into possession of a strange, ancient artifact known as the Witchblade. The issue ended with Alex following a case that ended in the death of a client’s ex-husband, who happened to be a cop. Most of this issue deals in the aftermath, whether it be Alex interviewing a special investigator about what happened, intercut with the next two days’ events.
Without going into too much detail, the dead cop appears to be involved in some sort of cult marked with special tattoos. This cult has deep ties in the criminal underworld, and also seem to have supernatural abilities of their own. How it ties to the Witchblade is yet to be seen, but there’s a creepy atmosphere throughout this issue that works really well. There’s also a bit of character development and a very brief exploration of the Witchblade’s mysterious past. Nothing much is revealed, besides how the Witchblade tends to drive people mad if they don’t learn to work with it properly. The character development helps make the story and Alex’s situation feel more tense while also hinting at Alex’s mindset. She seems to grow to accept the artifact better by the end of the comic, and she clearly grows more confident. The ending teaser is kind of a glorious moment, but it also teases that Alex’s situation is about to get a lot more dangerous. It’s kind of exciting. However, the brief talk about the Witchblade’s past feels more like a teaser than anything else, and it’s not that great of a teaser.
Roberta Ingranata’s art is mostly good. There’s a scene taking place outside the house where the cop died with a lot of background detail, like Alex covered up in a blanket at the side of an ambulance, while people talk from various points in the foreground. As the scene moves on, Alex simply walks away, not wanting to stick around. It’s a fun, playful moment in an otherwise dark and tense comic. It’s a great balance between a static background and one that changes over time. The amount of blood in the opening crime scene works perfectly, with clear bullet holes on the crooked cop’s chest, and a severed hand lying beside the body. Blood covers the floor. There’s good use of atmosphere throughout the comic, like the snow falling in the foregrounds. Facial expressions do a good job at conveying emotion, like the walking corpse’s cold, aggressive stare, Alex’s subtle anger when she warns another creepy tattooed cop to stay away, and the warm smile from a man who seems to know something about the Witchblade.
The action scene in this comic involving a resurrected corpse is built up well with the rising corpse in a silhouette in the background. It’s an exciting moment that’s easy to miss if you rush through the comic, but unmistakeable if you take the time to notice it. With that said, some of the poses in the actual fight look a bit stiff. Some of the angles are a bit awkward. There are also a couple panels where it’s hard to figure out what’s going on due to weird angles and excessive use of close-ups. It feels like there are a couple panels missing. It doesn’t stop the fight from feeling intense, but wider shots to see the fight better would have helped. Bryan Valenza’s colouring is great though. It enhances the dark tone of the comic with shaded corridors, great use of blood stains throughout the comic, and glares from ambulance lights. Most of the colours look slightly faded, yet it’s still an overall colourful comic.
Although I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this iteration of the Witchblade yet, I’m enjoying this series so far. It feels like the earlier Witchblade comics in that while there are clearly supernatural events going on, it’s a lot more down to earth than the craziness going on in later Witchblade comics. That said, it’s that over the top weirdness of Witchblade 80+ that got me into the original series. There is a touch of that here, but it’s a lot more subtle so far. This series is worth checking out for fans of the original series – just know that the artifact works differently and its history and purpose are likely different as well.
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