Review – Artifacts #3

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Artifacts #3 COVA_stampedThis is the part in the story when the sides gather and get their soldiers in order.  Artifacts #3 pulls this off quite well, giving a lot for those reading about these characters for years and at the same time making it accessible for new readers as well.  It’s a tricky balance and Ron Marz has masterfully been pulling it off so far in this event series.

At the various Top Cow panels I’ve seen it’s stated over and over, good writing will pull off both and the goal of this major event is to allow people to just pick up the Aritfacts series, but for those who pick up other titles, their rewarded with an enriched experience.  Mission accomplished.

While Witchblade bearer Sara Pezzini and Darkness host Jackie Estacado form an uneasy alliance to search for their missing daughter, more of the all-powerful Artifacts are brought into play as Magdalena, Tom Judge and the Angelus join forces. But unbeknownst to any of them, the unseen villain is manipulating people and events to bring about the end of the world.

From Top Cow Universe architect Ron Marz (Witchblade, Angelus) and Top Cow superstar artist Michael Broussard (The Darkness) comes an event series, which will literally shake the Top Cow Universe to its foundation. Top Cow artists Facundo Percio (Broken Trinity: Pandora’s Box), Stjepan Sejic (Witchblade), Paolo Pantalena (Epoch), Sheldon Mitchell (The Darkness) and Nelson Blake II (Magdalena) join Broussard on the issue to showcase the studio’s diversity. Featuring a gorgeous cover by superstar artist Kalman Andrasofszky (Dazzler, R.E.B.E.L.S.) as well as a variant cover series featuring Tom Judge by John Tyler Christopher (Witchblade).

Each issue will also feature a Top Cow Origin backup written by Marz and drawn by a superstar artist.

I wish I could say there’s tons going on here, but really this is that “gathering” moment.  But, at the same time there’s some shocking moments.  Characters are offed and killed, deals struck and backs turned.  We’re laid out exactly what’s going on here.  This is the part where the heroes find out the mission before them.  And we’ve learned this is a motley, never quite getting along and not seeing quite eye-to-eye in what they need to accomplish.  On the flip-side the bad guys are methodical and ordered in a robotic fashion, they have no heart versus the cup that overruns for the protagonists.

The first three issues have all been about set up.  That’s a good thing as this is a big event and there’s a lot more to come.  We’re at the beginning of the roller coaster and we’re just about to reach the apex of that first major hill, and you better believe I have my hands in the air with a smile on my face enjoying the ride.

Plot: Ron Marz can do characters.  It’s the quiet moments where his writing shines and this entire issue is primarily made up of those quite moments.  In one issue the two sides are laid out and the goal somewhat set.  This is the light and dark at odds, emotion versus cold and calculated.  This is about personalities at this point, setting ground for what’s to come.  The mood and plot is set, and I’m ready to see where Marz takes us.  Rating: 8.5

Art: I love Micharl Broussard‘s art.  There’s some great work here, especially in the scenes where Aphrodite gathers her forces.  The camera slowly pans out as she speaks over a few pages.  It’s a cool and very subtle effect.  His stuff’s fantastic and it absolutely adds to the already fantastic writing of Marz.  Rating: 8.5

Overall: What can I say, I’m digging Artifacts.  There’s quite a few events going on right now from various companies and this one has so far got me most intrigued and looking forward to each issue.  There’s shocking moments, quiet reflection and some great emotion.  As I said above this is just the beginning of the roller coaster and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the ride’s like.  Overall rating: 8.5

Recommendation: Buy

Page count: 32 pages    Price: $3.99     Release: 11/17/2010

Top Cow provided Graphic Policy with an advance copy of this issue for FREE for review.