Tom Judge and Tilly Grimes have their hands full trying to stop recent ritual killings in the Washington, D.C. area. So while Tilly is attempting to decipher the symbols left at a crime scene, Tom is facing down a demon that has no intention of releasing its host. However, things don’t go as planned, and Tom is forced to fall back on his experience as a priest to exorcise the creature.
Ever since the focus of Artifacts shifted over to Tom Judge, Marz has made sure that the reader gets a character that’s as interesting to read as the Top Cow heavy hitters like Witchblade and The Darkness. He’s also made sure that Tom doesn’t fall into some tired cliché of a former priest. Even when the bulk of the issue has him performing an exorcism, the entire sequence is so grounded and well done it seems quite natural. It was cleverly introduced, and just shows how good Marz is at making the supernatural seem natural and letting the characters do what they do best. There’s also some tension introduced between Tilly and Tom as he breaks one of the rules of a partnership. Which is, you don’t go off alone and not tell your partner what’s going on.
Sejic has continued to make this title look fantastic whether he’s drawing a violent action scene or an interrogation process in a police station. His creature designs are always great to see as you’ll never know what he’ll come up with to put in those panels. Much like when the demon is pouring itself back into the host body at the end of the fight. Sejic even takes the simple design of Tom Judge’s Rapture form and makes it look dynamic. Mostly due to his use of lighting that gives off the glowing effect in those wispy lines. He also doesn’t miss a beat when Tom is manipulating the police to allow the exorcism, and builds on the intensity that Marz is setting up for that part.
Artifacts can claim what a lot of books in the industry can’t, and that’s solid consistency in both the art and story. In a time where creative teams are bounced around and split up all too frequently, it’s nice to see that Top Cow trusts Sejic and Marz to maintain the excitement in this title.