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Featured Review @TopCow Witchblade #176 @TopCowMatt @RonMarz @TheThirdG

Witchblade #176 - Fun Time!

Sara Pezzini believes her life is returning to normal...at least normal for someone who wields an ancient gauntlet of immense supernatural power. But when dark secrets about an abandoned amusement park surface, Sara’s investigation draws her into a living nightmare.



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

Cover & Solicit 5/5

This issue we have the choice of two covers. The first is drawn by John Tyler Christopher (Artifacts, Dark Avengers, New Mutants) and the second is by Laura Braga (Cyber Force, Witchblade).  Neither cover really match the events of the issue, but they they are both equally appealing.

Art, Colors & Inking 3/5

Laura Braga is taking a break so this issue is drawn by newcomer Maan House. I'm not really impressed. While his imagery and style is fitting for this darker issue, I didn't care for it. There seems to be little detail and in order to cover that up the tones and inking is very dark. Also the key to a great artist on Witchblade is being able to draw the Witchblade itself in it's organic and fluid glory, and House misses this as well. This makes is very hard in my opinion for the talented Betsy Gonia to shine in the coloring duties as she has on Braga's art. The original solicit has Braga so hopefully House is just a temporary replacement.

Layout & Flow 4/5

Top Cow continues to have the recap at the beginning of the issues but doesn't have The Witching Hour. This issue picks up from issue #175 and stands on it's own because not much is mentioned of the Angelus from the last arc or the Darkness. There was a part that didn't flow well where Sara and Rooney split up to investigate in one page and on the next it's the following night. While Marz does state they didn't find anything prior it would have been nice to show it. While I wasn't impressed with House's art his flow and pacing were perfect and easy to follow.

Story 4/5

This issue is written by Ron Marz (Green Lantern, Artifacts, Silver Surfer) and starts with two boys visiting a abandoned theme park. Of course they go missing and we find Sara and her new right hand woman Rooney investigating the disappearance. There wasn't anything new or exciting in this issue as it's really just a investigative story. The two boys probably don't have an future implications. Sara and Rooney do find one startling discovery in the way of what appears to be demon possession and a portal to another dimension. It appears that the Witchblade is acting as a magnet and all the tings that go bump in the night and Sara and Rooney may have their hands full in future issues.

Verdict - 3.9 (8/10) (Buy Witchblade) SAVE 10%

After the last arc I was really hoping we'd get another arc right away. Because issue #175 was another jumping on point I assumed it would be #176. With the absence of Braga it's possible things were delayed. I really miss Braga's art and House's style while fitting for the issue lacks the finesse and style of hers. Marz does a great job telling the story and showing the growing interactions between Sara and her new deputy Rooney. It's fun to see these two play off one another, the hardened veteran and the fresh rookie. I can't wait to see Braga's return and the next arc as Darkness Falls is coming soon.


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