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Review – Witchblade Annual 2010

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Witchblade Annual 2010Let me first say I love the retro-propaganda like poster on the cover of this annual (pictured right).  Normally when I hear an annual is coming out I roll my eyes as they add very little to the ongoing comic and are usually sub-par to the monthly regular dose.  Well, Witchblade Annual 2010 is the exception to that.

Witchblade 15th Anniversary Issue!
Sara Pezzini comes face to face with a former Witchblade bearer, a Russian soldier who served during the frozen Siege of Stalingrad, a pivotal battle in World War II. What tale does she have to tell Sara? Witchblade bearers past and present come together in a one-of-a-kind story, with amazing art by New York Times bestselling illustrator Tony Shasteen (The Talisman).

The comic is written by Ron Marz with his usual skill (seriously, I need to get a thesaurus to continue to praise him).  There’s three stories with the first and last sticking out.  The main body of the comic is Sara Pezzini meeting a former bearer of the Witchblade.  The story mostly takes place in World War II and I really dug it.  It adds some depth and is a bit somber, somehow fitting the holiday season.  The second comic interlude I could have really done without.  It doesn’t add much at all, but gave me a bit of a laugh.

The third story is straight up prose.  The Devil’s Due by Matthew Dow Smith is a murder mystery worthy of Law and Order.  It’s a lot of reading and was a bit jarring for me, someone who doesn’t read straight text quite as easily as I do when visuals are added in.

Normally I’d say steer clear of annuals, but Witchblade Annual 2010 is one to definitely pick up.  A great comic for Witchblade fans and those just looking for a good read alike.

Plot: The first and last stories are fantastic.  I really enjoyed reading both, and both are written so that fans and newcomers alike can enjoy them.  It’s the second story I had some issue with, it just didn’t do anything for me.  The bookends fit the season, with both joyous and somber moments.  A definite enjoyment to read.  Rating: 8.5

Art:  The art I have to say is so-so.  It doesn’t blow me away, but doesn’t take away from the issue at all either.  It’s not the usual quality I’d expect from a Top Cow comic, but does the job.  Rating: 7

Overall: New to the Witchblade universe?  Looking for something to read as the year winds down?  This is the perfect comic to check out what you’ve been missing.  Some solidly entertaining writing.  Overall rating: 8

Recommendation: Buy

Page count: 48 pages    Price: $4.99     Release: 12/15/2010

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