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September 27, 2012
 

Top Cow Reviews: Artifacts #21

Artifacts #21
Publisher: Top Cow
Writer: Ron Marz
Artist: Stjepan Sejic
Cover: Stjepan Sejic

Top Cow’s Rebirth has been one exciting ride because of Marz and Sejic’s synergy and storytelling. This is clearly evident in the current story arc which they wrap up nicely in this issue here. Life has been a bit confusing since Dr. Harrison came into possession of the Heart Stone. She’s chosen to relocate back to her hometown, and because of her Artifact is able to see the auras of people. Add to that, there seems to be a lot of supernatural activity in the local hospital she now works at.

Marz has slowed things down for this arc as he introduces us to new characters and a new setting. This plays perfectly to the story since it reinforces the suspense/horror feel, as well. As usual, Marz provides great dialog that moves the issue just as well as if he had peppered it with nothing but action sequences. It’s this strong storytelling and character building that has helped to define this new Top Cow Universe in Artifacts. What was also a nice touch here was having Rachel take a bit of a proactive stance in terms of her new found ability. Marz also makes it hard to see the Lincoln Memorial in the same light again by the end of this issue.

Sejic has been providing some great artwork for Marz’s stories for quite some time. This issue is no different, though at times it looks as if there was a hurry to get things done. The dark and supernatural sequences are nothing short of fantastic as they provide the in your face shock moments that kick the suspense up a few notches. It’s when things quiet down that several panels don’t hold up to Sejic’s usual awesome work. It was more evident during the introduction of Tucker Douglas since the faces looked fine, but when it came to the bodies something just didn’t look quite right. There’s also a panel where Tucker is standing in a hallway and he’s being hit by a light source on his face, and the coloring makes him look ashen and ghost like. The problem is that he’s an African American character and no matter how much light you shine on his face it shouldn’t look like that. This coloring issue happens several times with that character, and I hope it gets better the next time we see him. That issue aside, the rest of the book continues to look quite good.

Artifacts continues to define what a good restart of a comic universe can be. The focus and consistency from the previous one continues here, while Marz also keeps that element of surprise in every issue. You would be hard pressed to be able to figure out where this story is going next, and that’s one of the best things about this title!

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