“Artifacts pt 3”: First I’ll say that if you have never picked up a Top Cow title then Artifacts is where you need to start! Marz and Broussard have been so on point with this series so far that it would be a shame not to check it out. For those that are more familiar with the characters and their origins, then just get ready to see them propelled to the next level!
This issue focuses on several of the individuals actually taking sides in this upcoming war as Tom Judge further explains the situation. We get a peek at twelve of the Artifacts and who owns them, but Tom makes it clear to the Darkness, the Witchblade, and the Angelus that they themselves ARE the Artifacts. Meanwhile, Aphrodite is doing some recruiting of her own and building up quite a formidable force to put a beat down on the good guys. Among them is the recently defeated Sabine, who has a personal score to settle against the Angelus. Marz also throws in a couple of wild cards and familiar faces, while we’ve got at least one Artifact bearer who hasn’t chosen a side, but I’m pretty sure that may change soon.
Following the actual story we get a two page Angelus origin written by Marz with art from Bart Sears and his Ominus Studios. There is also a spotlight on several of the other characters who popped up in this issue with a brief explanation from Bryan Rountree on who they are. Again this little addition is the icing on the cake for new readers coming into the series, plus you get artwork from one of the best in Bart Sears!
Since Artifacts kicked off, this is one of the more “mellow” issues filled with Marz’s smart dialog and great pacing. I love issues that help set up the main plot but don’t dumb anything down for the reader as they’re drawn further in. So far we’re getting the perfect balance of action, humor, and exposition in this story, and with the steady flow of surprises from the team on this book it’s definitely an unpredictable read.
As far as the visuals go, along with Broussard’s work we get a slew of guest artists during Aphrodite’s recruiting sequence. Artists Facundo Percio, Nelson Blake II, Stjepan Sejic, Sheldon Mitchell, and Paolo Pantalena each contributed with their unique styles. Though the book looked good, in my own opinion it just wasn’t the best that I’ve seen from Broussard and the rest of the artists. A couple of the panels looked rushed and not as clean, but the fact that Broussard is able to help elevate Marz’s script for the majority of the book still puts it over the top.
Due to the length of Artifacts I only hope that the story stays this good for the entire 13 issue run. There have been so many other events that start to lose steam after five or six issues, and then you’re not as invested anymore. I’d like for Artifacts to be the event that breaks that pattern and keeps the fans on the edge of their seats and wanting more!