By Ron Marz and Stjepan Sejic
Top Cow productions has a vast universe at their disposal. The Darkness and Witchblade are their most notable franchises within the Artifacts universe, which encompasses 13 artifact-carrying individuals. Top Cow doesn’t have 13 series running for Artifacts characters, so Artifacts the series is a great place to showcase the other 11 characters and tie them in with The Darkness and Witchblade. Through Artifact’s showcase of the other characters it has become clear that Top Cow is really onto something for fantasy fans.
Artifacts #23 ended the two-part arc in which Tom Judge and Tilly Grimes were investigating a ritualistic murder. After solving the case and defeating some “demons” Tom Judge thinks he’s on to something, but needs help from the other Artifact bearers. That’s where Finch and the Angellus come into play, bringing back a big player after 6 issues of her absence. It becomes quite apparent that Dani Baptiste, the true bearer of the Angellus, and Finch, the new bearer of the Angellus has started a steamy relationship while we were following other characters. I hate to be a spoiler, but a rather large problem has developed in the Angellus’ kingdom that has drawn Finch’s attention. A giant monster could be all it takes for Finch to believe Tom Judge when he comes knocking.
Ron Marz’s scripting of this series continues to be superb. It’s a vast universe with a lot of details connecting each character. With this “Rebirth” storyline in place, where the Darkness recreated reality to fit his desires, the amount of details involved connecting one to the other gets even more complicated. At no time does reading this comic feel esoteric. Every issue of Artifacts has a “Previously” page at the beginning, and is detailed enough for new readers to jump in. Even for continuing readers it’s a good recap with so much going on. Truly great story, with easy to follow dialogues, without feeling like the premise is being dumbed down.
The subject matter of such a fantastic story involving angels, demons, the rapture and many other mythical-like creatures needs to be carried out with amazing art. Stjepan Sejic is the man for the job, and executes his hyper-realistic painting style with deadly accuracy and consistency. He paints the faces with an uncanny understanding of expression and emotion. He crafts the “Artifact form” of the characters with intense detail. He creates gruesome creatures with a real sense of the grotesque. Giving him the reigns to create a unique form for the angel-like creatures in this issue makes for a truly awesome experience. I’ll stand up and say this is the most consistently well-drawn comics on the market…ever!
Artifacts #24 is simply another great installment in a standout fantasy series. If the art isn’t enough of a selling point, it’s safe to say that Marz’s great script definitely helps the cause. Although Top Cow announced that Stjepan Sejic would be leaving art duties for Artifacts after #26, I have seen the new artist, Marco Turini’s work and it is yet another unique and amazing art style for the series.
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