More is revealed as Tom Judge confronts Darkness bearer Jackie Estacado about the changes to their universe. Jackie does come clean, but it’s not without trying to beat the hell out of Judge. We also find out that several other changes to their world have been made. Though one thing is for sure, and that’s that Jackie isn’t going to give this existence up without a fight or spilling some blood if he has to. However, his daughter might be sensing things aren’t what they’re supposed to be, either, and that’s going to be a serious issue later.
Ever since Marz helped to transform the Top Cow Universe, things have been going better than expected. You’ve got a creative team on this book that has worked together for quite some time, and it shows just how well they’ve got a handle on things. Marz is fleshing out old characters in new roles, and they seem as natural as their previous incarnations. Unlike some reality altering tales, this one doesn’t seem like a sudden stop/restart to the story. Marz has made Artifacts read as a seamless continuation that just allows a different look at the world these characters inhabit. This issue gives us the new Angelus along with a bit more info on Jackie’s decision to change things, but the high point is The Darkness vs. Tom Judge fight. Now, even though this issue has a pretty serious and dark tone Marz slides in a bit of humor via the Darklings. These little guys should seriously get a one shot or mini series becuase they definitely add that something extra to the story.
The powerhouse artwork from Sejic continues to elevate the script and make it a visual treat for the reader. As stated earlier, these two worked together for quite some time on Witchblade, and their cohesive storytelling is carried over here. There is rarely a time where both art and story don’t sync up in these pages. Sejic still makes the creatures look scary as hell, and still provides great comedic moments with the Darklings at the same time. You really couldn’t ask for a better looking book to hit the shelves of your local comic shop.
As good as the issue is, it has been a bit of a slow progression. The good thing about it is that it’s allowed for some really good characterization along the way. Pretty much making this a title that is worth several looks and a spot on your shelf.