Artifacts #13 Review
- Published on Monday, 09 January 2012 00:00
- Written by Andrenn
Artifacts has been Top Cow's best event comic yet, and one of the best event comics out there. Outdoing both of the event comics from the Big Two in 2011. Now that all wraps up with the big conclusion that will change the Top Cow Universe. Does Ron Marz end this epic on a high note or was this comic best left at the pawn shop? Let's find out.
Writer: Ron Marz
Artist: Dale Keown
Colors: Sunny Gho
Story Rating: 6 Artifacts out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Artifacts out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Artifacts out of 10
Synopsis: The universe has been erased thanks to the clash of all 13 Artifacts. In the white void, Sara and Jackie find their daughter Hope. Jackie says that Hope is the key to their universe. Sara says they must have to kill her then and Jackie tries to stop her. The universe erupts from the white void and many things have changed.
Tom Judge's friend Tilly seems to have the Rapture. The Ice Stone is without a bearer, the Angelus is faceless, The Ember stone still has the previous bearer as does Pandora's Box. It is unknown who has the heart stone and the 13th Artifact bearer seems unchanged. Magdalena and Ian Nothingham have their Artifacts. Aphrodite is in a jungle and damaged and in London someone, possibly Sabine, has the wheel of shadows.
Jackie locates the Curator at his shop. When he mentions that he made a promise in another world. He turns out the light and has his Darklings mutilate the Curator. The next day NYPD is investigating the grisly murder and its revealed that Gleason now has Dani, former (?) host of the Angelus as his partner. Dani also alludes to being gay or bi-sexual still.
Sara is moving into her new place in Chicago. She mentions she has no family and that she is from New York.
Jackie arrives home to find Jenny, now alive, as his wife and Hope is their eight year old Daughter. Hope is happy to see him and Jackie says everything is how it should be. End of issue.
The Good: Artifacts #13 is a disappointing end to what was, up to this point, a great event. While it is not technically a bad issue it still fails to end things right. It is a total non-ending to the event and it feels much more like a primer for the new Top Cow Universe than an actual ending. Just showing you whats changed so you can go and read those stories later.
The best moment in Artifacts #13 is the opening moment between Sara and Jackie in limbo. I am always praising Ron Marz for his character work and this is another great example of that. He has their voices down perfectly and you feel the sorrow for them as they have to actually debate over the death of their own infant child. It is a heart wrenching moment that was very effective.
While I dislike Artifacts #13 for being a big advertisement for the new Top Cow Universe, I cannot deny that it is still effective. I am going to stick around for Artifacts #14 next month, I am still reading Witchblade and I am definitely going to check out The Darkness come the big 100th issue. So, despite my complaints, I must admit that Artifacts #13 does what it sets out to do, even if I do not like it.
Dale Keown does not get to do much in Artifacts #13. Still, it is well drawn art. The coloring is also a nice fit and Keown really nails the emotional pain that Jackie and Sara are hit with in the opening pages.
So Artifacts #13 is not technically bad. Most of the technical aspects of it are good. Good dialogue, a strong character moment and well drawn artwork. These are the things keeping Artifacts #13 from getting a much lower score. While I am about to tell you all the problems Artifacts #13 has, I have to keep in mind that if written by a lesser writer it would be a lot worse.
The Bad: As said previously, Artifacts is one big advertisement for the new Top Cow Universe. The second the new universe springs up the story goes totally flat and becomes nothing but a trailer. Just showing you what was changed, who is where and what you can expect next. Even if its an effective advertisement that does not make up for a lackluster ending.
The problem is that there is not much else there to the story. It is not like each scene is exciting or all that interesting. It has good dialogue and I did like the scene with Jackie and the Curator and the follow up revealing Dani as Gleason's partner. That was as close as I got to really being interested by this issue's changes but even then it was not enough to save it.
It is a very anti-climactic ending to what was a very big event. Artifacts had all the weight and importance that a good event needed and then it gets tossed out the window. We do not even actually get a real big battle like the cover promises. The big battle was last issue and it was only for a few pages, so there are two places where Artifacts fails to satisfy.
It just gives you enough to tease your interest, which is where it does well. I am interested in more. But as a teaser on its own its disappointing.
One thing that is not very well explained is what is going on with Dani. Has Dani been Gleason's partner for a while? Was Gleason ever Sara's partner or lover? Did Dani ever go to New Orleans with Finch? Does she even know Finch? Is she gay or bi-sexual like her dialogue hinted at? It is the one sore spot that left me scratching my head about what did they change.
Dale Keown is really wasted here. His artwork is well drawn but nothing as big or exciting as the cover would make you think happens in the issue. So while its still well drawn the artwork never really gets a chance to impress us. The closest we got to that is when Jackie attacks the Curator and that is only two pages. Marz fails to utilize a really talented artist and that also really hurts the storytelling when the artist does not get much to do.
Overall: Artifacts #13 is not a badly written comic nor is it badly drawn. The characters are good and the dialogue is strong work from Marz. Keown also gets to do some good emotional work in the opening. With all of that said, there was clearly something here that could have been better or more worth your time. So it is not all bad.
My final verdict though is that I still think you should pass on Artifacts #13. While it still tries in some places, none of it saves what is a comic that is flawed at its core. The idea of this issue is nothing more than a teaser for the new Top Cow Universe. If you are interested in the New Top Cow Universe check out Witchblade, the Darkness or wait a month and check out Artifacts #14 where the real stories are.