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Featured Review: @TopCow Artifacts #34 @TopCowMatt @ImageComics

Artifacts #34 - A Man Amongst Gods

TOP COW'S SECOND 2012 TALENT HUNT-WINNING TEAM! Ian Nottingham possesses the Blood Sword - so why isn't he using it? He wants to know if he can take down three of the major Tokyo Yakuza clans in a single night without the demonic weapon. 


See the 9-page Artifacts #34 Preview


See the Review Rating Overview page for more information on how I rate each comic

Cover & Solicit 4/5

We get a single cover drawn by new Top Cow artist Martin Gimenez featuring Ian Nottingham holding the blood swords. The cover fits Gimenez's style and is a good example of what you will get in the comic.

Art, Colors & Inking 4/5

Like the cover this issues art was done by Martin Gimenez. Like last issue, he is one of Top Cow's 2012 Talent Hunt winners along with this issue's writer. The art in this issue was unique and gave you that old noir feel. It also came off a little bit Asian inspired and it works considering the subject matter at hand. His art was very sharp and clean and had plenty of detail, but I did notice time where the detail was lost and everything was dark. The dark aspect wasn't too bad and kept with the vibe the comic was going for, but it did make some scenes hard to understand.

Layout & Flow 3/5

This issue reads more like a one-shot than a continuation of the prior stories or even from last issue as it doesn't continue Tom Judge's story. Unfortunately for most readers you are thrown right into it without any knowledge of who Ian Nottingham is or why he is out to kill these random individuals. Reading the solicit helped me make a little sense of it, but that was after I had already read the issue the first time. I wish Top Cow would have put a synopsis or catch-up page at the beginning of the issue as they do with other comics, as I don't know who Ian is or what the Blood Sword is. Most of the story is told thru Ian's monologue while supporting dialogue is added at the right moments. I did find the monologue to be a little hard to read as it seemed to tell a story, and when you switched back and forth from it and the dialogue the overall flow was disturbed. Otherwise the pacing setup by both by the artist and the writer work very well together. After reading the solicit, I decided to reread the issue just to make a little more sense of it.

Story 3/5

The issue is written by another Talent Hunt winner Eugene Ward. For being a newcomer he does an excellent job telling the story even if the flow is slightly off. This issue starts with Ian on a mission to kill somebody. The reason I say somebody is the issue doesn't really explain what he is doing at first. The issue is fast paced and you catch Ian going from kill to kill taking down different members of this family before heading on to the next clan on his list. I feel Ward did an excellent job of keeping the story going, and while it seemed a little disjointed with the monologue and dialogue, he did a great job of telling a complete story.

Verdict - 3.4 (7/10) (Buy Artifacts) SAVE 10%

I don't think the score is the fault of the new creative team but that I personally haven't read anything with Ian Nottingham before. They did a great job with the story and the art worked very well. If you have been a past reader of Artifacts, Witchblade, or the Darkness and know who this character is, then I'd highly recommend it. As the story doesn't add anything new in my opinion and stands more as a one-shot, for new readers like myself, you might want to wait for the TPB.


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