Review: Witchblade Volume 1

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Witchblade Volume 1I remember when Witchblade came out many years ago at a point when I’d given up on Image Comics and any imprint associated with them.  Top Cow (the publisher of Witchblade) since that time has defined themselves over the years putting out visually amazing comics launching the careers of some of the hottest artists in the industry.  In truth, I’ve never read a Top Cow comic (that I can remember) until this past week.  But leave it to Twitter to open up an opportunity to see what I’ve been missing.

My new friends (very professional folks) challenged me to check out what I’ve been missing, and a week after comic book writer Ron Marz reached out to me I received a package that would provide me that opportunity.  And I have to kick myself, because when it comes to Witchblade (I haven’t gotten to the Darkness stuff yet) I’ve been missing some entertaining, quality comics.

This past week I devoured the trade paperback Witchblade Volume 1 which covers issues 80 through 85 and comes at the great price of $4.99.  I also caught up on some of the recent issues, 131 through 134.

I was nervous wondering what I missed in the previous 79 issues.  Would I be lost not know what’s come before?  The answer is no, and after reading just the first volume, I feel like Sara Pezzini has been a friend of mine for a long time.  This volume is a great introduction and a perfect starting point to see what you’ve been missing.  And I have to emphasize how entertaining it is.  Along with Marz’s excellent writing, I was treated to the amazing art of Mike Choi.

But, I’ll cut myself off and get to the review.

Story: Even with 79 issues coming before it this trade paperback is labeled as volume 1 and for good reason.  Writer Ron Marz does an excellent job teasing the main character’s background and leaving enough mystery to be explored.  The story begins with the main character Sara Pazzini in a coma and no idea how she wound up there.  What follows is a conspiracy involving a splinter faction of Catholic Church to end the world that only Pazzini and the Witchblade can stop.  The banter is excellent and interaction between the characters realistic.  And what could easily fall into a plain old fantasy action/adventure has a nice dash of subtle romance that allows you to connect and care for the characters.  By the end I was routing for a few to get together.  Add on top of it all a strong female lead and you’ve got a unique story and character that stands out.   Rating: 9

Art: Mike Choi’s art is amazing.  His is a style I can stare at all day long and not get sick of.  The characters are consistent and Choi does an amazing job of packing each page with dazzling panels.  Brian Buccellato adds to Choi’s art with fantastic coloring that sets the mood.  This is truly beautiful art that enhances the storyline.  Rating: 9.5

Overall: For $4.99 you can’t go wrong.  The story is entertaining and art beautiful and there are so few comics out there headlined by a strong, positive female protagonist.  I’m sure like me you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the quality.  This volume is a perfect jumping off point with a great introduction as to the character and what to expect.  Marz’s writing is so good, I think I have another comic to add to my pull list.  Give it a shot, you won’t be disappointed.  Overall Rating: 9.25

Recommendation: Buy

160 page Graphic Novel $4.99

Top Cow Productions provided Graphic Policy with a copy of this issue for FREE for review.