Review - Switch #1 (@TopCow)

"All exceptional women in their own way, and all possessing a heart of courage."

The Witchblade is a cosmic artifact that grants its bearer tremendous power. It's somewhat picky about who brandishes the equipment, but that doesn't stop desperate situations prompting desperate choices. One of those desperate choices is on display in Switch #1 from Top Cow. The issue is written and illustrated by Stjepan Sejic.

After millions of views on DeviantArt, this popular web comic finally gets its own series. A teenage girl gets a mighty artifact that grants her immense powers...the catch? It's a bit haunted!

There's been a trend with the big two (primarily DC) which takes their familiar characters and makes them younger. Not because of some crazy continuity thing, but just because younger superheroes hit a different audience and that's sort of what Sejic does in Switch #1. Mary is the latest bearer of the Witchblade and Sejic pens a script that features her in the thick of high school. Witchblade has always been about unlikely heroes tasked with inordinately critical missions, but Sejic's decision to offer Mary as someone dealing with the trials of high school as well makes for a really interesting read. There's also a ton of the Witchblade mythology peppered throughout the issue that gives readers familiar with the universe something to hook them if they're skeptical.

Witchblade and Sejic go together like peanut butter and jelly, so it's really no surprise to see Sejic handling all aspects of the universe well. His style is perfect for Switch, as it allows him to offer Mary as a normal teenager interacting with celestial beings. And the arrival of one such being is illustrated with fantastic attention to scale, as Sejic allows that being to tower over Mary. The fairly straightforward panel layout ensure that the characters get top-billing and all the attention. Those characters sport very expressive faces that reinforce the presiding emotion at the time.

Switch #1 is a much more lighthearted take on a typically darker character and universe. Mary's exposure to the Witchblade is accompanied by her exposure to life in general, both of which force her to grow up a lot faster than she'd probably like. Sejic's dialogue is fast-paced and light, contributing to a prevailing sense of an impending battle. His art is familiar to fans of Witchblade and maintains all of his hallmark flair. Switch #1 is a fun first issue that adds a tremendous amount of levity to an otherwise intense universe.

Switch #1 is in stores now.