I wish I could say that I liked this book. I thought I liked Witchblade, and in many ways I do like Witchblade. Ron Marz and Stjepan Sejic’s run, together, is a really good comic, surprisingly feminist, with strong female and queer characters. Marz and Sejic had a comic that delivered a great portrayal of Sara Pezzini, the Witchblade, as this single mom and superhero – it was, of all things, strangely similar to Dennis Hopeless and Javier Rodriguez’s Spider-Woman.
That wasn’t the only run of Witchblade that was really good, either. Sejic did a miniseries by himself called Switch of a teen Witchblade. Caitlin Kittredge did a pretty solid Witchblade reboot that ended just about a year ago. And there are a lot of ideas in Witchblade that are good – it ran for some two hundred plus issues for a reason, after all. The basic concept of Witchblade is ‘what if Green Lantern was also Wolverine?’ That’s a cool concept!
But, unfortunately, Complete Witchblade Vol. 2 shows us why it took 80 issues for Witchblade to live up to the potential of that concept. Make no mistake, this is . . . well, garbage is perhaps a mean way of saying it, but accurate.
First thing is the elephant in the room. Complete Witchblade vol. 2 covers the part of Witchblade that is just wildly sexist. Sara – who, to be clear, is an experienced police detective who was fighting crime even before she had a magic glove – spends most of her time in a belly shirt or a short skirt. Her breasts are bigger than her head. Most of the women who appear follow a very similar dress code. And, obviously, there’s the issue in the basic premise of the Witchblade – when she uses the magic glove, it cuts up all her clothes and leaves her almost naked.
There are broader issues, too. Sara is rarely an active character. She’s a reactive one. Sometimes she’s responding to something that one of her foes are doing. Sometimes she’s responding to something that her partner in the police is doing, sometimes it’s her father, sometimes it’s the other flagship Top Cow character, Jackie Estacado, the Darkness. But it’s very rare in the early Witchblade series that Sara actually actively makes a choice, or decides to do something.
It’s not all bad, to be clear. There’s some solid stuff to like in this giant book. There’s a fun little miniseries about the historic bearers of the Witchblade, and the action choreography at parts is kind of interesting. But on the whole, there’s not much to praise. You can’t even say great things about the art. The Marz run had Stjepan Sejic and Chris Bachalo. These issues are done mostly done by Michael Turner. And while there’s nothing wrong with Turner’s art, it’s no Chris Bachalo.
I like a lot of Witchblade, but there is literally no reason to buy or read this comic. Even if you really want to get into Witchblade, just buy the Marz issues. Better yet, wait for the Marguerite Bennett relaunch that is coming later this year.
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