EDITOR's NOTE: Witchblade #140 will be in stores December 8th.
A grisly murder from a demonic assailant occurs and guess who's called in? That's right, NYPD special detective/Witchblade host Sara Pezzini and partner/lover Patrick Gleason. This issue is a good jumping on point for new readers, as the first page gives the basics and who's who of the book, without being too overly dramatic, while a new storyline begins.
What are the chances that someone endowed with great power like the ancient Witchblade has the perfect career in order to utilize those powers? Well, pretty good in the world of comics, obviously. Our story begins with a doorman at a lush apartment building being brutally torn to shreds by what the papers call a "dragon boy" so Sara and Patrick are brought in to investigate. They find some disturbing evidence of the crime caught on video, as well as the perpetrator of said crime. Some of the same old cop cliches are thrown in here, but as necessary evils. As gripes about crummy coffee eventually evolve into their insecurities about their relationship off the job, new readers especially, are made a little more aware of who these characters are.
In investigating the building attendants, they're more than once given the cold shoulder without explanation. That is, until they meet an au pair and the two children she cares for, who may hold to the key to this case.
Its nice to read a book where you might know who the real culprit is and at the same time you don't have a clue where its going. Too many times when you read a comic, you'll see the eventual plot unravel before it happens. That's not the case here and it's a welcome surprise. Any preconceived notion of the antagonist and its origins are thrown out the window in the final two pages. This issue concludes with more questions than answers as the Witchblade is utilized in the final splash panel. And for good reason!
Marz and Mohapatra do a great job building this story up and letting it explode in your face at the end. You could say that every page up until the final two move slow, but id argue that the story flows gracefully page to page without jamming it with useless clutter. Mounting tension and relations between the partners are done with ease and it shows.
Sometimes art in comics books these days may seem a little too realistic for me. I tend to be a fan of making illustrated fiction fantastical and not a direct imitation of life. For better or worse, the digital painting style Sejic creates may make you think you're watching an episode of NCIS, but it makes sense the moment you realize there hunting down demons, not parole violators. In this way, there's more of a shock to the senses when evil creatures appear. I'm not a huge fan of the style, but it works very well in this context.
This is a great issue to start reading a book that has been running a pretty long time, to maybe not enough acclaim as its deserved. I cant speak for previous incarnations, but this current creative group sure seems to know whats its doing. If you've never tried this title, like myself, you may be surprised.
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