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The pointless sequel to Witchblade: Demon returns – and finally, after two issues with the same song and murder, we get an original issue with an opening that instantly captivated me. This is the best part of the mini-series so far and makes the series feel impactful rather than just a pointless filler.
In this issue, written as always by Ande Parks, a demon with a score to settle with Witchblade bearer Sara Pezzini heads back to hell in the most traumatizing way possible for a young boy… while wearing a priest’s outfit (I swear it’s not as dirty as it sounds). Meanwhile, Sara must survive her own hell as a demonic high-priest killed by a previous Witchblade bearer prepares to kill Sara’s daughter Hope!
The opening with our “member of the clothe” instantly drew my attention – after a drawn-out conversation between a young boy and his father which added nothing to the comic. The conversation between the boy and the demon was what riveted me since the demon’s dialogue is creepy, tinged with some dark humor. But what’s really laughable is that this demon walks into a crowded subway station covered in the blood from the old lady he killed last issue, and no one even bats an eyelash. Even the boy, old enough to want violent video games, buys it when the demon says it’s just “raspberry sauce.” This moment is so nonsensical it has me chuckling right before the gore hits the page and brings me back to a grim (but awesome) reality.
The sequence with Sara is also filled with blood and carnage and leads to a satisfying cliffhanger surrounded by mysteries that I can’t wait to be fulfilled in the next and final issue. Kidnapping Sara’s daughter provides great motivation for the character and suspense, even if the idea has obviously been used before (a.k.a. Artifacts). The shocking thing is I expect Hope to be 100% O.K. and then something shocking happens that you need to see to believe. The only thing ruining this suspenseful moment is the high-priest ready to slice Hope up. He repeats everything he says, a quirk that quickly gets annoying.
There was a big focus in penciler Jose Luis artwork on blood during this issue, which has more detail put into it than the backgrounds, which continue to be bare. Vinicuis Andrade, whose colors I always feel the need to critique in this mini-series, continue to be calming in some inappropriate scenes, but I do like the effective transition of calming colors in Sara’s living room transitioning into reds as she arrives in hell. But during her big fight she seems to be in a void of reds and blues that could have been used to make an effective demonic environment. The characters also continue to look very sketched with some overshadowed cheeks, necks and foreheads. But the style, while amateurish, continues to grow on me every issue.
This mini-series no longer feels like a re-run of Law & Order: SVU thanks to this issue. All this bloodshed, shocks and discomforting chuckles make for great moments, but looking back not a lot happens in this story. We see a gory death in the beginning that seems unnecessary and nonsensical, and Sara is in as bad a situation as she was before making no progress either forward or backward against the main enemy of the comic who, for the first time in this four issue mini-series, she hasn’t fought. Is this a bad thing? Not when I’m enjoying all that bloodshed, shocks and discomforting chuckles! Because of this major cliffhanger ending with a lot of mystery piling up, this issue is the first that starts feeling like it could have an impact on the Witchblade universe and isn’t just a skippable filler. And even if it turns out to be just filler (which it probably will be), the carnage and humor enjoyed in this issue shouldn’t be missed by Witchblade fans – even if some headshaking will be had at what’s going on if you have not read the two previous issues.