Review – Artifacts #5

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Artifacts #5In a thirteen issue even you have the ability to do a lot.  That’s around 300 pages to tell a story that can pull together all of the pieces of the puzzle that is your comic book universe.  While the first story arc focused on the more spiritual/magic side of the Top Cow universe, Artifacts #5 is the first issue of the second arc brings in the tech heavy side of the universe.

The first chapter of Artifacts concluded with a shocking cliffhanger and the second chapter shows no sign of letting up! With all of the players on the board, the antagonist manipulating the Bearers of the Artifacts moves to complete his plan for utter annihilation of the world. But how do the members of Cyberforce fit into the machinations of the supernatural?

From Top Cow Universe architect Ron Marz (Witchblade, Magdalena) and welcoming legendary artist Whilce Portacio (The Darkness, Uncanny X-Men) comes an event series, which will literally shake the Top Cow Universe to its foundation. Featuring a gorgeous cover by Nic Klein (Viking) as well as a variant cover featuring Michael “Finn” Finnegan by John Tyler Christopher (Witchblade).

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

While the issue has that predictable good guys are tricked to fight the other good guys by a bad guy, I’m not quite sure writer Ron Marz is going that exact route.  This isn’t the first time Cyberforce has come across our band of heroes, and I don’t think that they’ll see easily be put in one camp or the other.  But this issue is all about bringing in that wild card that’s connected but not directly so to the story.

The action is brutal with fantastic art showing off all of the action.  Whilce Portacio has stepped into the role of providing the pencils and you can see why he’s built the reputation he has.  The art is hot and exactly what you’d want in a big budget action comic such as this.  Cool technology, great poses, all out, no holds fighting, this has it all.

We’re only the first issue into the second phase and as far as I’m concerned all bets are off as to what to expect for the remainder of the series.  While DC or Marvel might be getting more notice for their recent events or upcoming ones, Top Cow is the one delivering the constant, entertaining action.

Plot: Ron Marz is the man when it comes to writing the Top Cow universe.  He has the voices and personalities down pat and understands the issues that would arise when mixing a tech heavy side of a comic universe with a magic/spiritual side of one.  This is powers versus technology plain and simple with fun banter, unexpected moments and great pacing.  You’re dragged into the roller coaster of a story and I want to go again.  Rating: 8.5

Art: Portacio is a legendary artist whose style compliments this type of story.  Big guns, crazy technology, people striking unrealistic poses, it’s all here and looks great.  There’s this rough but completed feel too his work that so many attempt to copy but few pull off.  Its great stuff and I can’t wait to see what else he has coming.  Rating: 8.5

Overall: We named Artifacts the event of 2010 and there’s a good chance it might pull off a repeat for 2011.  As I said above, the big two might be getting more press for their rather disappointing events of late, but it’s Top Cow that’s bringing the fun consistent action.  Overall rating: 8.5

Recommendation: Buy

Page count: 32 pages    Price: $3.99     Release: 1/26/11

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