Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Artifacts #1

Artifacts #1
Written by Ron Marz
Art by Michael Broussard, Rick Basaldua, Sal Regla, and Sunny Gho
Letters by Troy Peteri
Published by Top Cow
Review by Lan Pitts
Click here for preview

"...One of the thirteen. Listen to me. You must know this. Separately each artifact is an immense power. All have bearers, chosen by fate to carry those burdens." -- the Curator

This is it.

For months now, Top Cow has been giving us hints, teasers, and even a #0 issue that came out on Free Comic Book Day this year, and it's all lead to Artifacts #1, and by George, it is glorious.

Much like with most things he does with Top Cow, Ron Marz has made it accessible to new readers without them worrying about who's who and what's what. It's right there, in black in white. Well, not exactly black and white, but you get the gist. There is a character dossier, a two-page origin of the Witchblade (written by Marz and drawn by Marc Silvestri), and so much more. With all of that, you would never feel lost even in the slightest.

The story itself is dramatic and heavy. Then again, when you're dealing the notion of a possible apocalypse, it damn well better be. With a strong opening scene, new readers could grasp who Sara Pezzini is and what she is about. We already have some of the major characters in action: Sara Pezzini, the mysterious Curator, fallen priest Tom Judge, and android assassin Aphrodite IV, as well as a peek of the rest in a wonderful two-page spread displaying all the artifact bearers. All the while Marz's narrative keep steady and never overwhelming. It's a big first issue, but it doesn't feel heavy. It reads wonderfully and is quite effective in conveying the danger and emotion of the Top Cow universe.

The artist on board, Michael Broussard, definitely has a visually striking style. Sort of in the vein of Neal Adams with his cross-hatching and layouts. The inking duo of Basaldua and Regla keep the lines small, thus keeping Broussard's great level of detail intact and brings these characters and events to life.

With the Artifacts event being thirteen issues long, this is the most ambitious event for the Cow to date. I'd like to think such an event like this will make new believers out of fans who have dismissed this publisher as nothing more than soft-core porn. True, while it is more "adult" it's not anymore so than what you're seeing in the Big Two. If you've been curious about getting into Top Cow, I advice you consider this issue.

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