Rather than revisit or retell the adventures of Sara Pezzini or Jackie Estacado, writer-artist Stjepan Sejic takes the famous Top Cow Artifacts world to a new setting and injects it with some youthful ambition in “Switch” #1. He also pulls back the curtain for readers to peek into the history of the Artifacts, both individually and collectively, and explores how and why a high schooler named Mary eventually inherits the Witchblade. Capably using the depth of this story, Sejic begins to illustrate how the Witchblade connects to other objects of great power.
Sejic introduces the history of the Witchblade and brings in Una, the first bearer. The Witchblade, being a blend of the light and the dark, opens up the story, with Sejic expanding the universe in an organic way. Despite this, the end result is parallel storylines that have tenuous transitions tying them together, despite the connection between the artifacts. Unfortunately, Sejic adds in a few disjointed story details, like bubblegum as an excuse for preparing for a dentist appointment or representing “all the noise and screams” with one single “KRSSH.” The art and story have a sense of disconnect, even though Sejic both writes and draws.
Sejic’s art has raw intensity, with bold, intentional lines for the people and places as well as softer, fluid color work that adds depth to the story. The colors frequently take on a wash appearance, giving the imagery amplified kinetic energy. Occasionally, the character drawings float on the painterly backgrounds, but the entire visual package comes together with the sketchbook energy of private ideas given passionate expression. The word balloons are unnecessarily flourished, however, with the tails squiggling towards their speakers, rather than traditionally pointing in the right direction; it takes some adjustment to realize the characters aren’t fainting or under duress.
Despite a few bumps in the road, “Switch” #1 is an ambitious, energetic approach to the worlds of the Darkness and Witchblade. Sejic does a nice job presenting the world for newer readers, giving a tight synopsis of what has come before without piling on smothering amounts of detail. Readers with deeper familiarity will certainly gain more from “Switch” #1, but this is as an approachable single issue for this universe.