REVIEW: Witchblade #4 (How to Save a Life)

Alex Underwood, the latest bearer of the Witchblade, tries to save a possessed woman while dealing with her own past.

witchblade 4

Witchblade #4
Writer: Caitlin Kittredge
Artist: Roberta Ingranata
Colorist: Bryan Valenza
Publisher: Top Cow

What You Need to Know:

Alexandra Underwood’s life has just got a bit more difficult. She is having nightmares and visions. Nightmares are nothing new to Alex. She has a troubled past that has yet to be fully revealed. Alex used to be a journalist and something happened to make her quit. She now works for the Witness Aid Service Unit, where she advocates for victims. Alex tries to help a woman whose husband is a policeman. He has been abusing her.

Alex tries to help the woman but is shot by the husband. He leaves her for dead. Alex would be dead if not for the Witchblade, which chooses her as a host and brings her back to life. Alex has no idea what’s going on at first. She is attacked by someone and defends herself. The Witchblade tells her that surviving is the most important thing so she runs. She encounters a strange man on the street who offers to help her with the Witchblade. She is weary at first, but is exhausted and passes out. She has a nightmare about a woman named Meg who appears to have an important part in her past.

She wakes in the strange man’s home and he explains a bit about the Witchblade. Alex realizes that she was shot and she was brought back. She realizes her that her client is in danger and rushes to help her. When she arrives the policeman husband is about to shoot Myra, her client. Alex uses the Witchblade and kills the man in the process.

Alex is questioned by the police but not charged. She goes to the strange man, who is named Ash, for help. Ash tells Alex that the Witchblade is a weapon that fights the darkness of the world and that it is unknown where it comes from. He says that Alex’s bond with the Witchblade is strong because she was dying when she was chosen and that type of bond is powerful. Ash says that she must not fight the artifact and fully bond with it.

Alex, along with her boss, Debbie, take a look at a flash drive Myra got from her husband. Alex realizes that many of the cops, Myra’s husband included have a tattoo or symbol on them that resembles a pentagram. Alex and Ash go to the morgue to get a closer look at the symbol and the dead policeman attack them. Alex fights him off, this time not using the Witchblade, She cuts his hand off with a saw and stabs the symbol with a scalpel. This stops the attack and the body drops. Ash is mad that she did not use the blade and storms off. Debbie is later attacked and the flash drive is stolen.

Alex decides to go back to work and tries to help a woman whose daughter is missing. Alex has a vision that the daughter is dead and the woman is responsible. She later goes to an old contact named Magil. He is an antiquities dealer and she asks him about the symbol. He seems more interested in the Witchblade. They are attacked by shadowy tentacles and Alex fights them off this time using her artifact.

It is revealed through a nightmare,  that while as a journalist that Alex was in Afghanistan and ran into her childhood friend and neighbor, Johnny, who was a soldier. They were captured by terrorists and Johnny was killed. This seems to be why she quit journalism.

Alex is threatened by the cops with symbols that while they may not be able to hurt her that they can hurt the people that she loves. The crooked cop shows her the picture of a woman. Alex goes to visit the woman who killed her daughter who is being held by the police. The woman finds out that the woman is possessed and is attacked. Alex gets away with a few scratches. She goes to Ash and asks him how to perform an exorcism. Sorry about the lengthy recap, but there were about three issues to cover.

What You’ll Find Out:

Alex trains with Ash, where he comments that Alex knows Krav Maga. She studied it after Johnny had died. He says that would be handy against humans, but what she will be fighting will not be human. Alex goes back to work where Debbie tells her that she is being investigated still. Alex encounters the ghost of the girl that was killed. She is attacked by the dark tentacles and is pulled underwater. The Witchblade manifests more than it has before and forms a kind of armor that protects her. Alex pulls herself out of the water.

She later visits Magil who has been investigating the Witchblade. He reveals that it is but one of several artifacts that appear when there is great evil in the world. Alex goes to try to help the possessed mother. They fight a bit, and the possessing spirit or demon moves from the woman into Alex. Magil calls in Ash to help. There is a dream sequence where Johnny helps Alex after she had her knee. Apparently, after that, Alex was kidnapped as a child and held captive. The possessing spirit has taken Alex back to these memories. Alex says that she had survived that experience once and can do it again.

What Just Happened:

The first arc of the series is setting up Alex as the new bearer. It is also setting up the new mythology of the Witchblade, So far there is no mention of Sara Pezzini who was the star of the original series. This seems to be a reboot and has a new wide-open continuity. There was a picture of the Magdalena shown as an artifact bearer so maybe she will factor in at some point. The new series does seem to have none of the cheesecake that was in the last series. If you recall, early in the book Sara’s clothes would tear off when she used the Witchblade. I would attribute that to having a female creative team, which I personally think is awesome. Also, the original series started during the nineties, which was well known for scantily clad women.

The scenes in the series jump around a lot and it can be confusing. I like this, however, because Alex is confused. This lets the reader feel how the main character is feeling. I thought this was brilliant. We are slowly finding out about Alex’s past which I find interesting. She seems to have had a lot of bad things happen to her in the past. Also, I am wondering if the woman the corrupted cops show Alex is the ex-fiance she mentioned? I think it would be great if Alex was gay, but that hasn’t been revealed yet either. Caitlin Kittredge is on point with the writing. Roberta Ingranata is producing some great visuals as well.  The Witchblade looks different. It is more glowing and less metallic. It is an interesting difference. She also does great work with the visions and nightmares that Alex has.

visuals

Rating: 8/10

Final Thoughts:

This series is off to a great start and I highly recommend it for new and old Witchblade fans alike.  I am a big fan of the original series, and the new version does not disappoint.


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