Thursday, September 17, 2009

Review Witchblade: War of the Witchblades

Editor's Note: Please be aware that follows is a review and recap of the six issue (Witchblade #125-130) arc that comprised War of the Witchblades. This means that there will be some spoilers mixed in with opinion. Keep that in mind. What you see above is the cover of the crown jewel of my admittedly weak comic collection. Witchblade #1. A book that, while I had to stop collecting for a while (I was only 14, income was a factor), I knew would take off into a fantastic series. As arguably the biggest event in the Witchblade series comes to a close, I have been given the honor of writing a massive War of the Witchblades review. I only hope I can do the series and all three people that read my reviews justice over the following paragraphs. I remember it like it was yesterday, the day Sara Pezzini stepped into the Rialto with her former partner to investigate the death of a friend. In a hail of gunfire the Witchblade found its newest host. Since then many things have happened obviously, but in issues 125-130 these events have come to a head and a split Witchblade must be reunited. Now in an epic battle, Sara and Danielle Baptiste have been forced into battle; a battle for control of the artifact. Read on for an epic 1,750 word review of the entire arc. Get a cup of coffee- it’s gonna be a wild ride. Issue 125 starts off with Sara overlooking the city as her child looks on, Witchblade fully activated. We are soon zoomed to a jail where Sara is speaking to her sister Julie about various life issues. Women talk or some such thing (God knows I don’t know). After discussing Dani, we flip to her apartment and see her discussing the Witchblade (her half at least) with a friend. On a side note, (a shallow one at that) the women in Witchblade have always been so hot. Okay. Just had to put that out there. Dani explains that Sara gave her half of the Witchblade and its purpose to be a balance between the Darkness and the Angelus. Off we go to the rooftops where Sara and her partner are chasing down a character they’ve been getting reports about. Their suspect jumps a huge gap between buildings, and Sara decides she has had enough and activates the Witchblade and captures the criminal. On a nearby rooftop two figures battle briefly, they appear to be the Angelus and the Darkness and they are picking the wielder they prefer. In the meantime Sara’s partner Gleason visits an old man with insight into the Witchblade, and the man shows him a glimpse of what is to come. Needless to say Patrick looks worried. Issue 126 opens in Dani’s apartment, where her friend Finch wakes up with a start to find the Angelus Force floating over her. As they leave the apartment the scene shifts to Gleason and Sara investigating a crime on a rooftop. Looks to be the same scene where the Angelus force attacked the Darkness, and some of the Angelus warriors were killed. It certainly makes for a baffling crime scene as most people haven’t seen skeletons with wings before. After picking a fight it becomes apparent that Sara is succumbing to the dark urges of her half of the Witchblade. She simply leaves the crime scene with no indication of where she is going. Gleason is worried since in the last issue he has already glimpsed her future. In the meantime, Dani has visited the old man, Curator, for some answers, but all he has are speculations. He does offer the key point that Sara has inherited the dark half of the Witchblade, while Dani has the light half. In the meantime Sara is meeting with the man who identifies himself as Tau’ma, who seems to be an agent of Darkness and the one who fought the Angelus Force on the rooftop. During this conversation Gleason calls Dani as a last resort to find Sara. The stage for the battle is set on the final page, where both Dani and Sara declare that they must make the Witchblade whole. The stage is set, and issue 127 opens with Sabine and some other Angelus Warriors moving through the city, biding their time until they can find an opening to fulfill a goal: to kill Sara Pezzini and be selected by the Angelus Force as the next host. In the meantime Dani has come to Sara’s apartment, where she finds Gleason who has spent the night. They each discuss what Curator has told them and Dani states her plan to ask Sara for the Witchblade. Dani steps into the other room to check on Sara’s baby, Hope, just when Sara comes home. She is still in her dark mood, and when she sees Dani- well the war begins in earnest. I would say round one goes to Sara. Her and Dani fight, and as Curator senses defeat and Tau’ma senses victory, Sara pitches Dani off a building into an alley. Sara stands seemingly triumphant, when suddenly a spear head thrusts through her chest. She slumps to the ground and as the scene widens, Sabine is standing triumphantly over her. Sara Pezzini is dead. Issue 128 starts at jail, where Sara’s sister is left at the curb waiting for a ride. Sara obviously isn’t in much of a state to help, seeing as how she is lying in a puddle of her own blood at the feet of Sabine. Sabine and the others take Dani with them, but before they can finish off Sara, Gleason shows up with her baby, Hope. While the warriors of Angelus would normally just rip him apart, apparently the baby (who is the spawn of the current holder of the Darkness and Sara after all) gives them pause as it has unconscious powers that don’t agree with the Angelus. In the end Sabine gives Gleason a choice as to who he wants to keep there, Dani or Sara; he chooses Sara and the Angelus warriors leave. Gleason gives Sara some CPR, but it doesn’t seem necessary as the thanks he receives is nearly being choked to death. Sara’s fall towards the dark half of the Witchblade seems complete when even her own baby, Hope, can’t bring her back and she flies away in search of Dani. Dani meanwhile decides that she must face Sara, and turns to leave the Angelus warriors who carried her to safety. As the issue ends we finally find the connection that the curator and Tau’ma have: they are brothers. They have also been at odds for some time it would seem. As Issue 129 begins the Angelus is once again looking over Dani’s friend Finch. Meanwhile Sara’s sister Julie finds her way back to Sara’s apartment where she runs into Gleason who tries to explain the situation to her. The side characters set, Dani returns to a bridge to face Sara, where a building of darkness has been erected. Dani enters to face Sara, only to find she is completely a creature of darkness, and has even summoned some demons to fight at her side. Allow me a moment to digress. Dani has NO shot here- Sara looks like a complete badass. Ahem…okay, back on track. Dani shows some spunk fending off Sara’s first attack but the minions of dark begin to overwhelm here. Despite being asked not to interfere the Angelus warriors enter the building to help, and Dani admits she was probably in great need of assistance. The help allows Dani to rejoin the fight with Sara, but it is short-lived. Apparently the Witchblade can be peeled off a bearer just as it can be split, and Sara reclaims it. Suddenly Tau’ma appears out of the darkness and whispers to Sara “Dispose of her.” Sara runs Dani through and the fight is over. Or is it? Across town the Angelus force tires of waiting, and comes to Finch attaching to her and finally choosing a host. In the final issue of the arc we find ourselves just outside the bridge where Gleason and Julie arrive on the scene and realize something is very wrong. Apparently Dani wasn’t dead yet (why can’t anyone just kill someone in one blow anymore?) and just as Sara is about to strike the final blow, a light cuts through the darkness; within it is the Angelus in its new host. Sara attempts to attack the Angelus, as do her dark minions, all to no avail. As Angelus eloquently puts it, “The Light always banishes the darkness.” Finally we find that Angelus had selected Dani as its host, but while she was a bearer of part of the Witchblade she was closed. Tau’ma retreats, but Sara cannot, she has fallen completely. She attacks and Angelus strikes her down. Dani says that Angelus wants Sara dead more then she can explain, but she does not. Dani cleanses Sara with a sword strike of pure light, and after all the conflict, they embrace, friends once more. Finally back to normal, Sara attacks Tau’ma who unleashes a beast of darkness from a mark on his head and disappears while Sara dispatches of it. In the end Sara, Gleason, and Julie are reunited as Dani flies overhead with the Angelus Warriors at her back, and the Curator bids his evil brother farewell once more, until next time. I have to say, a lot has changed since Issue #1 when Sara Pezzini acquired the Witchblade in a hail of bullets and blood. The artwork has changed to a more realistic almost painting from the cartoonish beginnings. The story still involves a wonderful mix of storytelling and action. I did think that Gleason and Julie were sort of thrown in there, and I am curious what role Hope will play going forward. But the overarching theme of Light versus Dark will continue on. I’m sure there will be some repercussions for her actions going forward for Sara, but that remains to be seen. I can’t think of a better time to get back into Witchblade if you were a former fan that has been away, or a new fan looking for a place to jump in. This arc strikes me as an opportunity to reset a lot of the overarching stories that had been going on. Reading these past six issues have convinced me that there is a reason this series has spread from this book to so many different mediums. The story is already deep enough to support it, the characters are in place, and they’ve put together a hell of a storyboard to work with. If you made it through this whole review…kudos to you, and go pick this up at stores if you haven’t.

0 comments:

Post a Comment