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Advance Review: ‘Witchblade’ #170

“Witchblade” #170 marks the return of long-time Witchblade writer Ron Marz back into the fold after he left the series with issue #150. No other writer has left their mark on Sara Pezzini or the mythology of Witchblade quite like Ron Marz. During his 70 issue run on the series, Marz has really make significant in-roads to ensure that Sara and this title has its own unique tone and voice. Marz did a great job at changing the general perception that it was just another bad girl book by adding a new level of depth to the writing and really developed the characters.

ART BY: Laura Braga
PUBLISHER: Image/Top Cow Productions
PRICE: $2.99
RELEASE: October 30, 2013

In issue #170, Marz begins his new run by reminding readers that this book is about the Witchblade rather than any one character. Here we find out that Sara Pezzini is now the sheriff in Sartoga County, NY and she’s tasked with investigating a gruesome murder on the outskirts of town. The murder opens the floodgates to memories of her connection to Witchblade and The Darkness, as she struggles to deal with the emotional fallout from losing her daughter. Her past has beaten her into submission and Sara can no longer bear the cross on her back. She attempts to rid herself of the Witchblade once and for all with the help of Magdelena. The issues ends with a massive cliffhanger that leaves readers with a lot of unanswered questions and it will surely keep them clamoring for more in the next issue.

New series artist Laura Braga jumps into this issue and immediately takes the reigns running. Her style has an animated feel that is a fresh look for this book. Braga really excels at driving home the emotional beats of the story with her expressive faces and action sequences. Her approach is somewhat simplistic, but she does a great job of putting her own spin on the characters and making them vibrant. Overall this was an impressive issue on art and it will be interesting to see if Laura Braga will stick around to develop some long term chemistry with Marz.

It would be a crime not to mention the jaw-dropping cover art on this book by Marc Silvestri. The image of Witchblade in shackles upon on giant wooden “W” is actually an homage to Silvestri’s own cover art to Uncanny X-Men #251. The image is striking and a captivating image that draws you into the book. The only thing more stunning the colored version, is the black-and-white version where you can get a close look at the hyper-detailed line work that Silvestri has put into this cover. The cover is worth the price of admission alone and ranks up there as one of the more powerful covers to grace the shelves this year.
Despite Witchblade #170 being largely a set-up issue, Marz and Braga do a great job of bringing this series back-to-basics to remind readers why Witchblade was such a compelling book to read. With Marz back in the saddle it’s exciting to see this book back on track and heading in a bold new direction.

Rating: 3.75/5



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