Artifacts Volume 1
Written by Ron Marz
Illustrated by Stjepan Sejic and Michael Broussard
Published by Image
4 Out of 5 Stars
Well, that was a pleasant surprise. I'm unfamiliar with the Top Cow universe and picked this up on a whim because it was on sale. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it always opens my wallet. Flipping through it, I didn't expect much--women sporting cleavage that would make Barbie feel inadequate and some religious imagery that brought on PTSD flashbacks ofPenny for Your Soul. I just knew this was going to have more Catholic fetishism than a Madonna video. Forgive me, Top Cow, for I have sinned.
There's an impressive mythology at work here that has a smart religious element. There are 13 ancient artifacts that have selected bearers/protectors throughout the centuries. Sara Pezzini is the current bearer of the Witchblade, the artifact created to balance the forces of good and evil (represented by The Darkness and The Angelus, both of whom are the embodiment of two artifacts). The remaining artifacts are scattered among other characters, such as The Magdalena (the protector of the Catholic Church and wielder of the Spear of Destiny) and Tom Judge (the ex-priest, recent denizen of hell, suspiciously John-Constantine-look-alike bearer of the Rapture). Of course, with 13 artifacts, there's an extensive cast of characters so I'll leave it there.
If the 13 artifacts are ever brought together, it will bring about an apocalyptic event. Naturally, there's always some asshat who wants to bring about the end with the intention of rebuilding the world as he sees fit. It's no different here and it's not long before the artifact bearers have chosen sides: those determined to keep the artifacts apart and those who will stop at nothing to bring them together.
The artwork is beautiful, though conventional and features scantily clad babes that did nothing for me but will probably have the fellas hoping for a wardrobe malfunction. (I mean, seriously, I've seen Victoria's Secret models clad in gauzy nothings that probably offer more protection than Sara Pezzini's Witchblade "armor".) The writing, blend of mythologies, and universe-building is impressive. There are angels and demons and androids and icemen and assassins and even a DRAGON! Well, at least hints of a dragon. That's enough to count me in for the second volume.