By David Hine, Gabriel Rearte & Betsy Gonia
Witchblade is one of the consistently reliable Image titles on stands right now even with the departure of Ron Marz, as the second chapter in the arc focused on the Death of Jackie Estacado really kicks things up a gear. Yes, we know that Jackie’s going to die, but that doesn’t stop us from enjoying everything so far, especially when things escalate pretty much from the word go.
David Hine has really got things off to an interesting start with his current run on Witchblade and it’s good to see that his form is continuing here. For those not aware of things that happened before, there’s some handy recapping done here through flashbacks that don’t really detract from the overall experience, with Gabriel Rearte really bringing them to life in a pretty great way.
The book itself pits Sara against the Darkness in this issue and it might not quite be as epic as you would perhaps expect, with it wrapped up in a shorter way then you would have perhaps initially imagined, and as a result it can feel underwhelming. Despite this though, it was still enjoyable, and this reviewer didn’t mind this too much because the rest of the book was still incredibly good, with some excellent tension created along with some brilliant atmosphere. David Hine does a fantastic job leaving the reader in suspense at the end of the issue as well, making sure that the wait for the third part of the Death of Jackie Estacado arc is going to be a long one.
Once again, Gabriel Rearte does a pretty excellent job on the pencils with some wonderful atmospheric art, really bringing out the best in Hine’s script. Yes, we may have lost Laura Braga to Superior Iron Man, but two issues in, Rearte is doing some brilliant stuff here with several panels that really work. The colours of Betsy Gonia help make the art continue to be incredibly strong indeed, and it’s great to see that this creative team is still on top form.
So aside from the fairly underwhelming, but still enjoyable fight scenes between Sara and The Darkness, Witchblade #181 is another excellent issue. Once again, this book continues to prove itself as the best comic that you’re not reading, and (although you may want to go back and check out the first issue in this arc first if you’re not already up to date) as a result, comes highly recommended.