The end of the first act to the giant Top Cow crossover Artifacts is here. The bearers of the artifacts have chosen sides.
For a Top Cow noob, like myself, I really enjoy the back-up stuff in this book explaining some of the characters and "players" in this storyline. We get a back up story of the origin of the Blood Sword, and back up info on Michael Finnegan, Patience, Abigail van Alstine, and Tilly Grimes. This book is the ultimate super-hero/super-villain team-up. I sense some seriously epic battles in the future of this mini-series. This issue reads more of a mystery than anything. It's a lot of the characters figuring out who to trust and who is behind the madness of trying to remake the world. I love the art in this book, especially on the second to last page where a man (who shall remain nameless until you read it) has essentially electricity flying out of his orrifices. Super-sweet looking art. I'm also a sucker for good use of cross-hatch shading, which is primarily how the artist of this book does shading. One of the other things I really like with the art is the playing with angles in each panel. Things are occasionally straight-forward (no pun intended), but for the most part, there's a great use of profiling, 3/4ths angles, tilts, and many others that keep the book fresh. Sometimes, when a writes takes an ensemble cast, a couple of the characters can fall pretty flat, simply because the writer may focus a bit more on one character. Now, this issue focuses a bit more on "the good guys," but at no point do the characters become cardboard and stale. They stay strong the entire issue and seem to "be themselves" throughout.
There is so much going on in this book, and while the back-ups do a good job catching up readers, I find myself a tad bit confused on everything going on. I'm not entirely sure whether said confusion is because I simply do not fully know and understand this world the way most Top Cow fans understand it or because there's a lot to follow. I guess I'm confused on my confusion.
The Verdict 4/5 - Highly Recommended
Here's the deal. Pick up this series. If you can't find the first three issues, then the Artifacts Hardcover featuring issues 1-4 and the Free Comic Book Day 0 issue (which explains each of the artifacts) will be out sometime this month. This is not the best jumping on point for new readers since it's the end of the first act. This is one of my favorite story arcs of the year, and I'm sure you guys will love it too. By the way, check out the preview of the first four pages below.