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After issue #142 served as a set-up to Witchblade #134
showcased terrible art and a sub-par story that did manage to intrigue me with
the ending. Since it has been
reported that Witchblade would be taking a short breather in 2011 (hopefully in
order to spend more time trying to perfect the quickly decaying Artifacts
mini-series), these will be the last two new issues fans will be able to enjoy
for a while.
The first part of “Upstate” stars Sara’s boyfriend and
partner Patrick Gleason on a solo job retrieving a criminal for their station
with the help of residential rookie cop Kate Rooney. Here, the story continues after all the cops are slaughtered
while Petramale, the deadly criminal, remains in his cell, leaving us to wonder
who the killer is when ghosts appear.
This issue served as more of a large set-up issue that really did not
have any appeal to me until the ending.
Ron Marz has crafted many fine stories, but Witchblade #142
hits a continuously flat note.
Just reading the description you can hypothesize the many problems this
issue could have: Fans of the
Witchblade, the point of the series itself, never appears. Only her non-super
powered-boyfriend. It is nice to
see Marz trying to show how strong Gleason can be by himself, but he does not
come off as much of an interesting and dynamic character that he has been in
previous issues of Witchblade, like when Gleason talked about the 9/11 tragedy
#139. The ending still managed
to interest me and created a mystery that I really wanted Gleason to solve, and
I hoped his character would be portrayed better in Witchblade #143.
Stjepan’s art got me really psyched to see what
kind of masterfully ways he would bring out his artistic style in these issues. The art was a huge let down when I
realized Stjepan was only going to do the cover and would continue the art in
Witchblade #144 and #145. Instead
the issue is being handled by Mattew Dow Smith with art that, when compared to
Stjepan’s, is no more awe-inspiring than stick-figures. Even without the comparison, the art lacks detail with the trees all having scraggily drawn branches that looklike tooth-picks and the colors do nothing to accentuate the art.
In Witchblade #143 the story picks up immediately with a
quick hanging that tries to be a sufficient back story and Gleason, Rooney and
Patramale running for their lives from the ghosts when Patramale escapes.
This issue is by far better than the last one. Ron Marz’ characterization of Gleason
in this deadly situation proves just how capable Gleason is without Sara. He is great in this issue, though one
of his actions surprised me and irritated me since I thought it was not in his
character, maybe not to do the action, but how he simply brushed it off as if
nothing had happened – and to find out what I’m talking about I suggest reading
the issue since I don’t want to give everything away! But one character that did outshine Gleason was
Patramale. Ron Marz crafted his dialogue
very well and I immediately got the sense of what kind of person Patramale was
– a smug and arrogant jerk that was begging to be slapped. If I had to pick a character to kill I
would pick Patramale from Witchblade and my defense to the jury would be that I
could not withstand his smart-ass smile.
At the same time I loved how riled up I got over him and admired Marzs’
ability to create such a character.
His characters were all very distinct and I enjoyed all of them. The only problem I had with the story
was with the ghosts. Their back
story is quickly gone over in a quick fashion that was not satisfying and could
have been further explained.
The art also remains the same and I still can not help but
hate how the previously masterly crafted monsters from Witchblade #140
are replaced here with poorly crafted zombies. But I felt it was satisfying enough for this story since I
was more focused on the characters and story anyway.
Witchblade #142 and #143 should have been packaged together
as a jumbo issue for fans while we wait for the series to come back. #142 was just a huge set-up for the
next issue. I hated the art but
the overall story was great. Since
I easily summed up Witchblade #142 I would suggest skipping it and just getting
#143 unless you are a die-hard fan of Witchblade that must have every issue.
Witchblade #142 – 4.0
Witchblade #143 – 8.0
Upstate Arc Overall – 6.0