By Ron Marz, Laura Braga & Betsy Gonia
Witchblade is one of the most underrated titles from Image (via its Top Cow imprint), and it certainly deserves a lot more attention than it currently has and Witchblade #177 is no exception to that rule. Ron Marz is a talented writer and Darkness on the Edge of Town is, whilst relatively simple, a great issue that puts Sara, the bearer of the Witchblade, on the hunt for answers with Deputy Kate Rooney.
The issue sees Sara and Rooney head into a gambling den/brothel run by demons before investigating an abandoned house in search of just why Jenny Romano, wife of deceased Darkness Host Jackie Estacado, became the Host of Angelus. It’s an interesting chapter that although may seem simple, ends with a cliffhanger that could have further repercussions down the line. It’s certainly an interesting one that puts a certain character in peril, and regular Witchblade readers will hope that next issue hits shelves sooner rather than later so they can read about the resolution.
Laura Braga’s artwork is superb. Along with Betsy Gonia on colours, both make a great addition to this book and regulars that are always welcome, with a consistent feel that helps make the storyline look better than ever with some amazing visuals. Right from the start, both colours and pencils are consistently brilliant, really fleshing out the title.
The pacing is pretty good throughout this issue, and the book builds up to the aforementioned cliffhanger very well indeed. It opens with a bang and gets stronger from there, impressing as it explores the two major locations of this issue well indeed; first we’re in the gambling den/brothel and then the abandoned house, with the transition seamless. It switches from straight up action to creepy horror within seconds.
There are a few problems though. Witchblade #177 feels like a set-up for greater things to come. This does allow for another good jumping on point in a Witchblade issue, as Sara explains to Rooney, who’s a relative newcomer, past events. It’s fun and a strong way to explore the relationships between the two characters as well.
On the whole then, Witchblade #177 is an enjoyable issue. Newcomers can start reading here with little problems, and it’s highly recommended as it does deserve a lot more attention. Hopefully the set up that this issue builds will pay off next time around, because the cliffhanger ending has left things very interesting indeed.