Witchblade #1 - Life After (Part One)
Writer: Caitlin Kittridge
Artist: Roberta Ingranata
Colourist: Bryan Valenza
Alex Underwood thought she'd left her life of pain and fear behind. She stopped working as a war correspondent and became a victim's advocate for the NYC district attorney's office, but now she's finding herself plagued by dreams, visions and voices. Maybe this is just her PTSD striking again; but then why does she look different in the mirror? It also turns out that she is missing the last 24 hours of her life.
She has been chosen to be the next host of the Witchblade, a cosmic force trapped inside the bracelet that can allow its bearer to become a weapon against the darkness in the world. This reboot is currently a complete stand-alone continuity from the existing series, with a totally new take on the interpretation of the source material. It's a character-driven story set in a 21st Century urban fantasy New York, with a flawed protagonist who has enough metaphorical demons to fight, let alone real ones.
The art is high quality throughout, and fits the modern tone and setting perfectly. Alex herself is shown as strong and powerful without using the highly sexualised look of previous series. This is the aspect of the comic that best displays the advantages of a female creative team in charge of the title, giving us a realistic vision of what a strong but occasionally vulnerable women looks like. She doesn't want to be dragged into a mystical war, but also you can see glimpses of why she was the host the Witchblade chose, why she could become the latest warrior to stand as a weapon against the darkness.
A great blend of gritty, realistic New York with mystical urban fantasy elements to come; a well written strong-but-flawed female lead character dragged into a war she didn't know existed; fractured, almost dreamlike elements to the storytelling to give us a feeling of what is going on in Alex's head - Image has a hit on its hands.