What I love about Dark Horse (and yes Iím
biased), is that with the exception of the B.P.R.D. universe, you do
not need to know the other Dark Horse characters. Rex Mundi will
never pop up in Criminal Macabre, Hellboy and the Goon never
meet. Now I know there is a shift going on at Dark Horse in this
direction (a possible Goon/Criminal Macabre may be in the works),
but I am not fond of this move. Itís why I canít keep up with either
Marvel or DC, too many character interactions. Now Top Cow Studios
is doing the same. With Artifacts they are taking their
well-loved characters and intertwining them into one story.
At the beginning of the comic, for those that
missed issue #1, there is a brief but clear synopsis. Artifact
#2 starts off with Sara Pezzini/Witchblade coming upon the crime
scene where her sister has been killed and daughter kidnapped by
cyborg Aphrodite IV. There is a clash of forces as Hopeís (the
kidnapped child) father, Jackie Estacado/Darkness comes to save his
daughter. But Danielle Baptist/Angelus (no, not like in the Buffy
universe) has also come to save the day. Can the powers of darkness
and light work together in time to save Hope, who may be the key to
If you are familiar with the Dresden Files
(preferably the books and not the TV series) then you may understand
the connection I see between Sara Pezzini and Karrin Murphy. Both
are strong policewoman and warriors in their own right, and though I
dislike elements of the TV series, those two characters resemble
I was first introduced to Jackie Estacado about a
month ago when I reviewed The Darkness: Four Horseman #1. In
that comic, I found his character to be more interesting, or at
least how he was drawn. His demons had personality; in this they all
look the same. I was unaware, though, of his connection with Pezzini.
Now this is not a new concept, to have a hybrid
child. Nor are the reactions of the characters. Everything was
rather predictable in the charactersí choices. There are also some
questions posed in Issue #1 that are still not answered in Issue #2.
However, this is a 13-part series.
One thing I did like about the book itself was
the value. Not only do they update you on what happened in the past
issue, but each issue gives you backgrounds on one of the
Artifact characters. The last issue was Witchblade, this one is
the Darkness. For readers new to the series this helps them catch up
with the universe.
The artwork is nothing to be scoffed at either. I
felt that I was reading more of a graphic novel, which has wider
ranges of change in the pageís panels then comic books that try to
flow slowly through their variations. This one jumped, not
panel-to-panel which would have been disturbing, but page to page
with bolder colors and then more subtle tones. This goes back to the
struggle between the Light and the Darkness that is central to this
entire story. Even the art reflects the themes.
As one who was only aware of two of the Artifact
characters (the Darkness and Magdalena) I did find the comic a bit
over my head. But that doesnít mean I didnít enjoy it. As a single
comic it does not hold up, but I think the overall story arc for the
thirteen issues could be quite an exciting adventure.