Ron Marz and Laura Braga deliver a really satisfying issue of Witchblade full of big action, charming character moments and an ending that leaves Sara’s past with Darkness behind as we look towards new enemies and situations to come.
Having not read an issue of Witchblade since before Marz started writing the book the first time around I was completely shocked at how the art has managed to get even better. Laura Braga’s art is quite simply beautiful, every character is so expressive, every panel so detailed I could spend hours poring over these pages. It is quite clear that she has the art of storytelling completely nailed down in this medium, one of the things that stand out is how each panel melds into the other, giving you a complete story without some panels being standout action shots, everything just flows at such a natural pace you almost forget you are reading a comic. It leans towards a more cartoonish style which is a result of the colouring from Betsy Gonia however, everything clicks into place to make a wonderful reading experience and this issue especially as Braga’s pencils are allowed to cut loose with what is largely a massive fight with the remnants of the Darkness.
Marz’s script whilst leaning heavily towards action allows the character of Sara to shine through, she is so determined, compassionate, driven and above all an all-round ass kicker. Whilst a lot of this story is focusing on the events she will soon commit in starting in Witchblade 180 and the fallout from them one of things that strikes you all throughout this issue is that Sarah generally cares for her partner that she has bought along in her quest for closure in Erehorn. Even through the fight with the remnants of the Darkness the only thing she truly cares about is getting her partner out alive and it allows you to warm to the character immensely. That is not to say this issue is all doom and gloom, light-hearted moments are presented in Sara’s quips and quick-witted nature, a couple of these really had me chuckling and alleviated what could have been a fairly predictable “Battle Issue”.
Witchblade 178 is a great book, whilst it is part of a larger story as a whole, anyone can pick up this book and have fun with it. Fans will be pleased to see Sara put the Darkness and Jackie Estacado behind her and move on into the future with new stories and possibilities. The art sells this book though, Marz’s writing is a fantastic as ever but, Braga’s art really takes this book to the next level to make this issue well worth picking up.
By Matt Deery