Artifacts #5 – Review
After four issues of the long-awaited cross-over event Artifacts, this issue leaves a lot to be desired but still manages to deliver a great deal. Just not as much as the last couple issues to satisfy.
Previously, in the first issue of Artifacts Sara's daughter was kidnapped and her sister killed by Aphrodite IV. Then she was told of the coming apocalypse involving the bearers' of the thirteen artifacts. The teams were finally assembled and established in the last issue which then left off with a cliffhanger – the curator of a shop exploding with some of our heroes still inside at the time. This issue picks up directly afterwards and introduces even more characters from the Top Cow Universe – Cyberforce and Hunter-Killer.
Ron Marz knows how to do a cross-over event. He has literally everyone coming into the pages of the Artifacts world. The problem is he is putting too much focus on the characters, relying solely on them to entertain and forgetting to craft a story. This issue starts with Cyberforce and a Hunter-Killer agent enjoying a slice of pizza. This moment is in no way relevant to the story and just serves to add in some humor and characterization. The gag runs a little long and takes away from the action and other heroes from the previous issues panel-time and is more annoying than funny.
I expect fighting, blood and possibly a slice of death – not pizza. The plot is great, now I want to see it unravel not be established with twelve issues with a big fight thrown in at the end. This issue also establishes Aphrodite IV more and does include one memorable moment – Aphrodite meeting Sara. Sara coming face to face with her sister's killer was great to see and I hope they construct a great battle between her and Aphrodite in the next issue, since they could not find the time in this one because they were too busy putting in irrelevant moments that lead to nowhere.
In this issue, the story does not progress very far – it introduces Cyberforce and shows them join the fray. That is all. Now, Cyberforce is full of great characters portrayed well in this issue, but it feels a little late in the series to introduce even more characters. Marz took the time in the first couple issues to establish characters and set up teams and now he's added more? Now next issue will probably just show what side Cyberforce is choosing, until we get to the final issue entirely made up of an epic battle – and while I look forward to that, I will probably just skip the rest of Artifacts until that final issue if all we get are new characters deciding to fight with Sara or Aphrodite. And the moment I wanted – a moment with Sara's daughter Hope – was not what I expected. They even show Sara's daughter in the clutches of the enemy but it does nothing to further the plot and feels like it was just thrown into the comic to take up space.
The art is also a little upsetting. The previous artist, Michael Broussard has been exchanged for Whilce Portacio. After enjoying Michael Broussard's artwork throughout this series the sudden change was noticeable. The art was not bad – this issue still had great full-page scenes. But they could not compare to the ones in previous issues. Sometimes there seemed to be an excess of lines that were unnecessary and brought the artwork down a little. Even the colors seemed off. Sunny Gho's colors used to switch like night and day and the contrast was beautiful, but in this issue they are pretty consistent – this might be prevalent to some, but I enjoyed the stark contrast and the colors in this issue seem a little dull.
Overall this issue disappointed me more than any so far and pales in comparison to previous issues of Artifacts. The moments of action are great but they are few and far between since the comic takes up more time establishing even more characters and trying to add in humor that did not work for me. The change in artists is not a good one and the colorist has somehow forgotten the contrast in colors that made the previous issues stunning to look at. If you want poor comic relief try this tale, but to sum the story covered here in a sentence – Cyberforce is introduced and is fighting against Sara for Aphrodite. Now that you know that feel free to skip this issue and hopefully the next one will have some great action scenes between the Witchblade and Cyberforce. We'll have to wait and see.
Overall Score 6.5/10
To get caught up on what the rest of the Artifacts series is like, visit the following reviews: