“Artifacts pt 2”: The second chapter in Artifacts takes the time to deal with the fallout from last issue as some more of the characters are assembled after hearing of Hope’s kidnapping. We find out who notified Hope’s father, Jackie Estacado, and her mother, Sara, immediately rebuffs his attempts at help, but he soon convinces her that he needs to be there. The Angelus shows up to offer her support soon after, which annoys Jackie and the two begin to bicker and argue. The end result is Sara getting pissed off and ending their argument by displaying a power that neither she nor the others knew she had. Just then, Tom Judge comes strolling out of the shadows and sheds some light on everything that’s going on by telling the group what he was told by the Curator last issue.
Instead of having Sara go off and start beating up bad guys, Marz first deals with the human condition while Sara is mourning the death of her sister. She’s ripping herself apart and feeling guilty when she has to identify the body at the crime scene, and Marz’s dialog didn’t come off as cheesy or forced in the entire sequence. Though I was a bit confused as to why he had Dani and Jackie go at it yet again after having settled things in Angelus; maybe I missed something along the way. Now, there isn’t a lot of action in this issue, as most of the story is driven through the intensity of the dialog, and whether you like it or not it’s a necessary build up to what’s coming later on in the story. Since it’s a thirteen issue event, this moderate and steady build can help give it a richer feel in my opinion, but I know it’s not for everybody.
Broussard’s artwork in this issue seemed a bit rushed in several panels and didn’t deliver that same impact as it did in the first one. Not saying that it was bad work by any means, just a little less stellar when I compared it to the first issue. I thought the two page spread where Jackie and Dani made their appearance was great, since in between those two panels was another series of panels with Sara right in the middle. I’m not sure if it was intentional, but since the Witchblade is the “balance” between the Angelus and Darkness it just seemed too perfect of a panel set up. There was also the subtle progression of the Witchblade covering up Sara underneath the trench coat then to parts of her face as she became more agitated, which was a nice touch. It was also good to see him drawing the Darkness again since it’s been a while since we’ve seen his take on the character.
A very brief character dossier on Jackie Estacado, aka Darkness, is provided by Ron Marz with the artwork by Dale Keown, which is a nice touch for the uninformed. Along with this is a brief description about the power of the Darkness and the Angelus along with their respective owners, provided by Ryan Rountree. Which again is a great tool for anyone who is picking up this book and has very little to no knowledge about these characters and their abilities.
Marz and Broussard deliver another solid issue with Artifacts #2, and though this is a huge event that does include a large portion of the Top Cow roster, it’s nice to see that it’s being allowed to be its own title. So far Top Cow has proven that Artifacts is an event that can stand on its own and doesn’t need to spawn a plethora of tie-ins to help sell the story. The story is selling itself, and I’ll be damned if I ain’t buyin’!
‘Till next time!
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