By Ron Marz, Maan House & Betsy Gonia
Witchblade #182 puts Ron Marz back in the spotlight as the core Witchblade writer after David Hine gave us a fantastic arc looking at the Death of Jackie Estacado. This issue opens with a giant blue multi-headed, Hydra-esque Hindu demon attacking Sara and sets the stage for the issue to come as the new arc for the series kicks off. However, even with Ron Marz back on the book, it can’t keep up the consistency of the last few issues, with the opening chapter not being quite the same level as what’s come before.
The plot of Witchblade #182 is certainly an interesting one even if it doesn’t really bring anything new to the table, when Sara finds herself pit against an interesting new threat. The potential consequences from the fallout of last issue aren’t gone into great detail and we’re plunged into a new arc which leads up to a fairly interesting cliffhanger, although after the high stakes Death of Jackie Estacado plot it almost feels underwhelming. However, that said, the cliffhanger does leave us with plenty of potential to explore in the next issue, and the characters are engaging enough that will keep fans coming back for more. Witchblade’s still capable at times of being the best comic that you’re not reading, but every now and again it has its weak spots and this issue feels like one of them. That said, it doesn’t mean that this issue was a poor one, and it was actually still enjoyable, and this reviewer did actually like it, it’s just that it’s not at the high quality that readers have come to expect.
The pencils by Maan House is a mixed bag as it, like the issue itself, lacks the feeling of consistency. A few panels don’t look quite as good as the rest of the book and it may annoy some people that there are several scenes where the character’s been overly sexualized and there’s a back-breaking pose that she adopts in the comic that feels unnecessary. However, that said, Betsy Gonia’s colours are still pretty good, and they help create a great atmospheric feel to the book that fits the tone of the previous issues.
So Witchblade #182, whilst enjoyable, isn’t exactly unique or memorable, with the return of Ron Marz to the series feeling forgettable and inconsistent, which is a shame. There was a few cool references to the X-Files and the Spanish Inquisition, and it looks like the potential’s still there as this looks mainly like an introductory issue to the new arc, and hopefully next month we’ll return to the level of consistency that we’ve had in the past.