Once upon a time a comic called WITCHBLADE came along. I read it for a bit but then dropped off. Several issues later, Ron Marz came on board and things changed. We had a great direction (and some great art). Marz wrote for several issues but eventually ended his run. As the series headed in a new direction, I fell behind and despite meaning to catch up, never did. Now Marz is back and issue #170 gives us a new jumping on point.
Everything you need to know is neatly summarized on the first page. We find Sara Pezzini with a new day job. Starting off with a gruesome situation, the tone is immediately set. We see (or are reminded) just how tough Pezzini is. The mystery progresses to an even bigger one, gluing your eyes to each page to find out what's going on. Seeing our hero hit rock bottom and claw their way up always adds to their character. It's a fascinating trip, jumping in between the the recent past and present and watching everything unfold. Just when you think you know what's coming, Marz pulls out quite the shocker.
Laura Braga's art and Betsy Gonia's colors fit the story nicely. I always appreciate when backgrounds in panels are given just the right amount of detail. It may not be the focus on each one but it's it adds to the feel of the story and seeing the landscape or interior of an office helps ground the story in reality a little, despite the mystical nature of the Witchblade.
What originally made me stop reading the series in the very beginning was the…skimpy nature of Pezzini's clothing. The Witchblade usually left her clothes in tatters. There isn't a lot of that here (thankfully) but there are hints of Pezzini's physical attributes that makes it feel the art is trying to appeal to a certain crowd. The character and story is much deeper than that. There may be few that complain about seeing Pezzini in her underwear but it felt a little gratuitous. The same when we get a shot of her in full Witchblade mode. Last I remembered, the Witchblade started covering her more rather than look like beachwear.
I did enjoy the art but a couple times Pezzini's face looked a little off.
There's a lot of set up but it is necessary for this new start.
It's time to get back into WITCHBLADE. Ron Marz returns and you won't' be ready for what he has planned. If you haven't read in a while or at all, you can easily start here. We get a nice summary and Marz establishes that time has passed with some mystery as to what has recently happened. As we start to get the pieces to the puzzle, Marz whacks us in the head with an ending that should catch you off guard. If you've ever been curious about WITCHBLADE or haven't read it in a while, this is a good place to start. Ron Marz knows the character, having written her for so long. It's been too long since I've read WITCHBLADE and I thank Marz for giving me a reason to come back.