Artifacts #15 and The Darkness #101 Reviews
- Published on Thursday, 29 March 2012 01:00
- Written by Andrenn
Top Cow Rebirth is in full swing now. With a big reboot of their universe there are a lot of reasons to be excited for Top Cow comics. Rather than talk about just one Top Cow comic I am going to review two. Today I am taking on the second issue of the new Artifacts storyline and the debut of the new creative team for The Darkness. Are these comics brilliant artifacts or useless relics? Let's find out!
Writer: Ron Marz
Artist: Stjepan Sejic
Story Rating: 8 Artifacts out of 10
Art Rating: 10 Artifacts out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Artifacts out of 10
After two issues of set-up, Artifacts #15 is just what I had hoped the series would be. All of the great character work and dialogue that Ron Marz is best at and with action drawn so well only Stjepan Sejic can do it. Artifacts #15 really won me back over and got me excited for this series all over again and after an issue like this I am happy to say you should be reading Artifacts.
Last issue was all the set-up for Tom Judge as our main character. Artifacts is almost like Tom Judge the ongoing, just not admitting it. Which is fine with me because in two issues Marz has me liking Tom Judge and wanting to follow him for as many issues as Marz wants to write. Tom Judge is our hero torn between two realities, not sure if he can do anything or if he is just going crazy.
The best part of this issue is the dialogue between Tom and Tilly. In the old world they were friends, here she has never met him. Marz plays up Tom's confusion nicely. You understand his mindset. How he is seeing two different worlds and how it seems impossible.
Marz never forgets to tell stories about great characters. Characters are always at the heart of what he writes and he knows how to make everyone interesting and stand on their own. I am not surprised to say that continues with Artifacts. Tom Judge and Tilly are the heart of the story and they make an issue that is half nothign but dialogue heavy scenes still a great read.
There is some action in this issue with the Angelus warriors. There is really not much for the characters to do but punch each other at that point. Which is where Sejic comes in with fantastic page layouts. The characters fly out of the panels, crash down and it all looks amazing. Sejic is outdoing his great run on Witchblade just two issues into Artifacts.
Overall, Artifacts #15 is a great shot in the arm for this series. Just what the series needed to get me excited for it. I highly recommend this issue to anyone who was reading Artifacts before. If you have never read a Top Cow book just pick up the highly new reader friendly issue #14 with this one and you will be all set. Check out Artifacts and get into a universe full of great characters.
The Darkness #101
Writer: David Hine
Artist: Jeremy Haun
Colorist: John Rauch
Story Rating: 7 Darklings out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Darklings out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Darklings out of 10
David Hine had a great run on Spawn. Possibly the best run in the whole series. So when I heard he was taking over The Darkness it was not too long until I decided I wanted to be there. The Darkness #101 follows a huge run from Phil Hester but if anyone can handle a long run and keep things going great it is David Hine.
This issue is mostly an introduction to the life of Jackie Estacado. Making it nice and new reader friendly just like Artifacts is right now. Everything you need to know about Jackie's life is here and it is well written to get you interested in the character. Hine also adds a new element to Jackie as a married man and how having The Darkness and a family is a very hard balance to maintain.
The strength of this issue is Jackie. Hine does a good job of getting us behind his eyes and telling us this story through them. His narration is often simple and very effective. The way he interacts with Jenny has to be the best part of the issue. He treats her almost like a doll. Not expecting her to question him and the life he is made for them. But, of course, she is a person and when Jackie lets his anger out he sees how The Darkness is still corrupting him even when he is in control.
Hine totally succeeds at painting the family life Jackie has for himself. We like Jackie and we want him to be happy with Jenny and Hope. But of course The Darkness does not. So Hine pulls over a character from Hester's run and it leads to a huge new twist at the end of the issue. By the end of the issue, Hine had me sold on wanting to follow Jackie Estacado and see how he tries to keep his family safe from this new enemy.
The only problem with this issue is that it is a simple start. Most of the issue is devoted to establishing Jackie's family life so we cannot get too much into the nitty gritty of Jackie trying to deal with The Darkness. Because of this the comic suffers from typical first issue syndrome. Stuck having to set up everything and not enough time for the really juicy stuff. That stuff is saved for the issues that follow all the set up.
The Darkness #101 is still good set up and the dialogue definitely keeps things interesting when the story is unable to. And again those final few pages are horrifying. I am definitely sold on the run by the end of the issue but this issue itself is not as exciting as what will come next.
Haun on artwork was a tough call for me. Some of his pages are fantastic. There is a double page spread that is nothing short of fantastic. But then there are pages that look rushed or uneven. I see the possibility for great artwork but I see there is not enough refinement to get us there yet. Rauch on coloring is definitely a huge benefit to Haun's artwork and the art and colors mesh nicely together.
Overall, I say check out The Darkness if you are interested. This issue was not mind-blowing but it is a strong start for Hine and I am definitely looking forward to more next month. Even if you have never read The Darkness I say check it out if you find it on the stands at your comic shop. Hine is no slouch when it comes to telling a long and worthwhile story and that all starts here.
Andrenn got back into comics years ago with a random issue of Spawn. From there he was hooked and a couple years later he had to share his thoughts with the world at his old blog New Age Comics with Andrenn. Now a huge Image fan and a horror geek, Andrenn writes for the Comic Book Revolution. You can follow Andrenn's ramblings and thoughts from the links below.