Though Witchblade has been an active title of Top Cow Productions since 1995, I’ve never actually read an issue before. I wouldn’t say that I wasn’t interested “” heck, the premise of a woman physically bonding with a supernatural, sentient artifact of great power sounds awesome “” I suppose that I just never got around to taking the leap.
This week, Top Cow has come out with a one-shot issue called Witchblade: Day of the Outlaws, written by Joshua Hale Fialkov and illustrated by Nelson Blake II and Dave McCaig. For a first-time reader like myself, this is a perfect place to delve into the mythos and get psyched about what’s come before and what lies ahead.
Set in Colorado in the winter of 1878, Witchblade: Day of the Outlaws introduces us to Sheriff Enola, a Witchblade bearer who is doing her best to protect the town from any and all dangers that might be lurking about; however, the people of the town are easily persuaded by other leadership. In this instance, when the town’s priest, Father McClellan, and a sleazy, low-life bandit both witness Enola’s extraordinary power, a witch-hunt ensues. Enola is stripped of her badge and forced to leave, but her absence is short-lived, as demonic outlaws ride into town, causing a ruckus and taking what they desire. Seeing the error of his ways, Father McClellan seeks help from the only one he believes can stop the chaos consuming his town: Enola with the power she possesses.
I enjoyed this comic for multiple reasons. While some of the dialogue was a bit shaky “” inconsistent with the feel of old-west dialect at times “” it didn’t detract from the subtlety of Joshua Hale Fialkov’s writing. Through simple conversations and smart character beats, it is clear that not only is Enola being mistreated as the Sheriff at the current moment, but that she’s never really earned the respect from the town’s people that she deserves.
It is worth noting that Fialkov’s writing may not have worked without the combined talents of Nelson Blake II and Dave McCaig, who allow us to feel the emotion through a vibrant visualization. The west comes to life through cold, rustic coloring, scenes of frigid character interaction and fast-paced action “” all forming the perfect illustration to coincide with the desperate tone of the story.
Witchblade: Day of the Outlaws may not be a perfect comic and it may not win any awards, but it sure is a fun read and definitely provides a positive curiosity about the series as a whole.