Artist: Laura Braga
I've not read Witchblade in almost 10 years, with the last time I read the series being not long after Ron Marz first started. I have however been meaning to get back to it within the last couple of years, but each time I consider it's in the middle of a story and I forget by the time it finishes. I have however finally found a new start and with the return of Ron Marz to writing what better time.
Sara Pezzini is now a small town sheriff in Sartoga County, New York investigating a series of brutal murders. She is soon reminded of her time with the Witchblade and the beheading of The Darkness (Jackie Estacado).
This was a fantastic issue, and a brilliant jumping on point to the series. Ron Marz did an amazing job of introducing this new life that Sara is leading, as well as showing her prior connection with the Witchblade. Marz also managed to add a lot of mystery and drama to this issue, with there also being some very intense and suspenseful moments as well. It was however the dialogue and pacing that I most enjoyed from Marz, as although the flashback would be slightly confusing to start with, everything would soon become clear, with the tone being perfect throughout. Besides helping with the tone the dialogue would also add more depth and atmosphere to the issue, giving more drama as well.
The artwork in this issue was also outstanding, and Laura Braga did a wonderful job. The detail in her artwork was simply amazing, being very consistent throughout, and I especially loved the detail in the sequences featuring the Witchblade. The depth to Braga's layouts was also spectacular, as it would add the perfect tone that the story needed, helping it to flow very smoothly. Braga also did a fantastic job of showing the characters emotions and facial expressions as well, with it adding yet more tone as well and atmosphere to the issue, and overall I look forward to seeing more of Braga's work in the future. The cover from Marc Silvestri was also phenomenal, being a nice homage to his Uncanny X-Men #251 cover.
This issue would start with Sara, who is now the sheriff of a small town in New York, investigate the latest in a series of brutal murders. Now the investigation itself was a nice and dramatic way to start the issue, but what really interested me was seeing Sara in the job she had prior to possessing the Witchblade. I also really enjoyed the dialogue and interaction between her and her fellow colleges, as some of it would be very serious, with other parts being slightly humorous, having a nice balance. I also loved how this would work nicely into the flashback sequence that would follow, with the head reminding her of Jackie's beheading.
As I said the issue would flow nicely into a sequence that was set two years prior, and without going into too much detail I will say my thoughts on the sequence. Now it was nice that the issue would show a time in Sara's life where she used the Witchblade, as it would have been a bit disappointing otherwise. I also loved how this would tie-in nicely with the present events, as well as the noticeable change in attitude that Sara has in both sequences. I also loved the interactions that Sara would have throughout this sequence, with one in particular being very exciting and intense.
The best part of this issue however had to be the end, as without giving a single shred of detail about this sequence I will say what I thought of it. What I loved most about the sequence was that it had some build-up to it, and didn't jump straight into the defining moment. I also loved the dark and suspenseful tone that it produced, with the final page itself being truly amazing and shocking. On top of this I also loved the transition between the previous sequence and this one, and this sequence has me hooked for the next issue.
This was an amazing issue and a brilliant jumping on point for new readers, as well as a brilliant time for old readers to rejoin the series. It has some amazing mystery, with plenty of suspense and drama, having brilliant tone throughout. Ron Marz also shows why his original run on Witchblade was so popular, and with new artist Laura Braga with him the series is bound to remain outstanding. Due to all this it's extremely easy to recommend this issue, and I for one can't wait for the next issue.