By Ron Marz, Abhishek Malsuni, Neeraj Menon, Nanjan, Matt Hawkins, Michael Turner, Stjepan Sejic, Linda Sejic, Isaac Goodhart, Phillip Sevy, Nelson Blake II, Randy Green, J.D. Smith & Bill Farmer
One of the longest running remaining comic series in the business, Witchblade came to an end last week in a double-sized finale that told two chapters by the respective writing teams, with long-serving writer Ron Marz working with Abhishek Malsuni on art and Neeraj Menon and Nanjan Jamberi on colours for the first chapter. Matt Hawkins was joined by a number of artists, from Stjepan Sejic (who’s currently at the helm of Switch, the new series from Top Cow), along with Isaac Goodhart, Nelson Blake II and several others, with J.D. Smith & Bill Farmer stopping by for the colors. This marks the end of a strong 20-year run for Witchblade and for now at least, we won’t be seeing any more issues from this series. Similar stories will be told in Switch, but at the same time, those are different characters. This is the end of Sara Pezzini, who’s progressed, developed and changed so much over the long-standing course of the Witchblade series which has done incredibly well.
Rather than going out with a bang, Witchblade #185 weaves a shorter, quieter tale that doesn’t have big world-ending consequences and Ron Marz handles the script well, offering a story that seems less of a closure to the series and more of a standard monster-of-the-week tale about a monster in a movie theatre coming to life. The cinematic monsters that are brought to life are handled incredibly well by Malsuni, Menon and Jamberi, with Menon doing the colours from #1-6 whilst Jamberi takes over #7-16 and Zsolt H. Garisa works on the inks. It’s a nice, if simple, short that gives readers a look into artists who they might not necessarily be familiar with and serves on its own as a good short story even if it’s not the most memorable note to finish on.
The second part of the issue is penned by Matt Hawkins (following a brief farewell letter from Marz) and follows Sara trying to find a replacement. Hawkins offers a story about trying to pass the gauntlet on to the next bearer of the Witchblade, but at the same time, Sara isn’t quite ready to let it go given how much of a role it’s played in her life and this is obviously understandable. The multiple artists involved on this issue are Top Cow regulars and it’s nice to see that with this many artists, a consistent and clean feel is kept with the character. J.D. Smith & Bill Farmer work on the colors as well and whilst this second story may not be, again, the strongest finale, it does allow for a very strong read with cameos from previous bearers of the Witchblade that audiences who have read those issues will enjoy. At the same time, people who haven’t perhaps been around for their run will still get what’s going on.
It looks like this is the final chapter in Sara Pezzini’s life that will be covered in comics for now and it’s an interesting end to a memorable and different series that even spawned an anime at one point (which this reviewer has personally never watched). Hopefully it won’t be the last time we’ll see the character (if Witchblade follows the trend of modern comics we’ll inevitably see a relaunch at some point), because at this issue isn’t entirely perfect. There are a few threads left unanswered from the wider Witchblade verse, but for the large part this series bows out on a high note that should please fans of the series.