Witchblade #2: Awakenings
by Ron Marz, Mike Choi & various artists (Top Cow, 2008)

Ron Marz continues his reinvention of Witchblade in Awakenings, the second volume of Top Cow's new numbering system. (By rights, this should be volume 11.)

This collection spans five stories, the largest and most involved of which is "Fugitive." Detective Sara Pezzini and her new partner, Patrick Gleason, investigate whatever criminal weirdness crops up in New York City, and the brutal rending of a roomful of Russian mobsters and their "dates" certainly qualifies -- especially when the culprit turns out to be a sort of Captain America gone wrong. The "shadow government" operatives on his tail add spice to the story.

Other chapters in Awakenings are "Blood Sword," with a haunted suit of samurai armor slicing and dicing in a downtown museum; "Heart of the City," in which a twisted specter culls life from the streets; "Partners," which focuses in on the search for a missing girl; and "The Balance," which purports to tell the Witchblade's origin but mostly just fills the pages with a series of flashbacks to the lives of previous wielders.

While the last bit is mostly filler -- a wonderful assemblage of artists notwithstanding -- the book otherwise shows Witchblade still climbing in promise as Marz shakes the heroine free of her cheesecake image. These stories are solid and entertaining, and Sara Pezzini is growing rapidly into a mature character with staying power. You can bet I'll be back for volume 3 ... or 12, depending on which way you're counting.

review by
Tom Knapp

2 August 2008

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