Gunned down and left for dead on a New York rooftop, Alex Underwood’s life should have ended there—but instead, at the moment of death, she became host to the Witchblade, a mystical artifact that grants the woman wielding it extraordinary powers. But the power comes with a heavy cost, and Alex finds herself thrust into the center of an unseen battle raging on the snowy streets of NYC. Demons are real and walking among humans, and every one of them is intent on taking out the Witchblade’s newest host before she becomes too strong to kill. But the artifact chose Alex for a reason, and she’s not going down without a fight.
‘Life After’ Part 1
Written by: Caitlin Kittredge
Art by: Roberta Ingranata
Colors by: Brian Valenza
Letters by: Troy Peteri
It’s a testament to Caitlin Kittredge’s writing that so much groundwork is laid down in this first issue without relying on exposition or call back’s to previous Witchblade comics. She makes this concept and the main character Alex Underwood completely fresh and compelling, complete with an all too recently familiar and tragic backstory. Alex is both vulnerable and tough, a combination that is not easy to pull off. She is the kind of female protagonist that is much needed in today’s social climate. The ‘voice over’ narration also creates a dialogue with the reader, bringing us that much closer to Alex. What we learn of her past bonds us to her.
There is also a deep mythology being created, and although it is only hinted at in this first issue, it’s enough to hook you and give you a glimpse into this world.
What struck me the most about this comic though is that it is a concept about women, in a book about a woman, that is being told by a female creative team dealing with issues that are unfortunately always timely. That alone is fantastic. It feels vital and necessary. But it’s also a kick-ass comic, filled with action and a growing mystery.
The art here is a strong contrast to what many people remember about Witchblade in the past (and that’s not a dig at the original comics as I and many more made it a huge hit back in the day). What Ingranata and Valenza are creating is a fusion of minimal indie comics-style art and high energy urban action comic book storytelling. There are also subtle touches like backgrounds being slightly out of focus, inventive layouts, panels and texturing that give much-added weight to the pages.
The coloring is great, with a muted palette that serves the art and mood, giving in the winter feel it has (the story takes place in snowy New York). Too many modern comics have distracting art and that is not the case here.
It’s great to see the Witchblade concept back on the stands and at the hands of a fresh, contemporary creative team. This classic property of modern comics has found the perfect team in Kittredge, Ingranta, and Valenza. This team reinvigorates the ‘urban fantasy’ genre for a whole new comic book reading audience.