Witchblade #139 Review
- Published on Thursday, 11 November 2010 00:00
- Written by Andrenn
Witchblade enters the world of Artifacts with this issue as Sara has to face the death of her sister Jules. With series regular Stjepan Sejic off art duties for this issue and taking on the ramifications of that death, does this issue make for a great farewell for the character or is this ceremony a bust? Let's find out.
Writer: Ron Marz
Artist: Michael Gaydos
Story Rating: 7 Tombstones out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Tombstones out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Tombstones out of 10
Opening Comments: This issue is 100% talking and character work, no action really unless you count smashing into a tomb for a few panels as action. Marz usually does a great job with a talking heads issue like this, prior Talking Heads issues in the past have been some of his best work on the series though this issue doesn't quite reach the standard those issues have, its still a good read.
Story Comments: Witchblade #139's main plot is about Sara and how she is dealing with Jules' death. Not much of a spoiler, I know, but that is because this issue is not about big action or some intense reveal. It is just Sara dealing with her dead sister and how she starts to blame it on the Witchblade. It is a simple read that does a good job of catching the emotional tug at Sara's heart.
Sara's discussion with a counselor on if she will be allowed to take the case is not much to talk about. For the most part, it is not a very interesting conversation though the ending to it is great. Mostly just for the counselor and her justification for allowing Sara back on the case. This is a small moment, but it stands out for how the counselor talks about her own history and why it is influencing her to help out Sara.
Gleason gets a nice bit of development as we find out his brother was a fire fighter that died in 9/11. For those that may think this would be done in poor taste, I assure you it Is not. We get a sight of Ground Zero that Gaydos does with a huge sense of emotional haze and pain like the scene should carry. It does not take 9/11 and give it an annoying super hero spin like some may worry it would.
Gleason's little speech about his brother dying and how it ties to Sara is nicely done but what makes it work more is Sara's reaction after it. It is 100% how she would react, especially after losing Jules, and Marz does not trade Sara's attitude for a sappy scene between the two. He easily could have given the cliché mushy scene were they embrace and she says everything will be okay, but that would not have fit Sara at all. Therefore, Sara's reaction and how cold she goes is spot on and it is nice to see Marz not sacrifice character for the sake of an obvious turn for the story.
The ending, which I will not spoil too much, involves Jackie Estacado and Marz utilizes him and his tie to the Darkness very well. It is a simple scene with a simple ending but it works well and it ends the story of Sara grieving over Jules without making everything okay in the end or losing the integrity of Sara's loss. Also, Jackie's reaction and how he brings up his relationship to the Darkness was a perfect use of the character so he did not feel forced into the story.
The character work is solid and makes for a good read but honestly nothing stands out like it usually has. No specific character moment or discussion has been as interesting to read as it has in the past and while its in no way a bad read for it I do wish the dialogue was a bit more interesting like Marz has usually made it. That said even dialogue that's not as sharp or interesting as previous issues have been is still good dialogue and still has plenty of good character work and moments that I've come to expect from this series.
It is a good issue that does a great job of giving us the emotional fall-out of a character death. It does not let Jules' death feel cheap or forced for drama and the fall out and affect it has on the characters is nicely done. Its got some minor flaws in the overall dialogue but the heart of the story and the execution is still solid work as always from a talented writer like Marz who never fails to capture emotion with his characters.
Art Rating: When I saw that Sejic was taking an issue off in favor of Gaydos I was worried. Gaydos is a great artist even though I've only seen a bit of his work. Still, Sejic has become the artist that I think of when I think of Witchblade. However, for a more quiet and talking heads issue Gaydos was a good fit and his artwork was stunning at times. It was a little rough here and there but, overall, it was great artwork. I was glad they got Gaydos to fill in for Sejic instead of some random fill-in artist. He met the challenge of filling Sejic's big shoes very well.
Final Comments: If you are reading Artifacts and you want a bit more of an emotional impact from Jules' death then definitely pick this issue up. It does not change the way we look at the series or characters and all in all this is not the most important issue of Witchblade ever but it's still a solid read with some great character work as always from Marz. It makes you care about an important death and as always the characters are as great as ever.