Following the two-issue arc, the spotlight shifts towards Detective Patrick Gleason, Sara Pezzini’s professional and romantic partner, for another two-issue story illustrated by Matthew Dow Smith, who just so happens to live near Marz in Albany, New York. “That’s a very easy collaboration – Matt and I almost work in shorthand rather than full script to full pencils,” said Marz. In addition to their collaboration in Albany, Marz and Smith decided to set the Gleason-centric story in Upstate New York as another hat tip to their home turf.
Sejic returns as the regular monthly artist in “Witchblade” #144, an oversized issue that goes back to the title’s very beginning. “It’s a retelling of Sara’s origin,” said Marz. “But we’re going to tell it from a different perspective. All those years ago when the stories were told initially, it was just from Sara’s perspective. We’re going to tell the story this time from the perspective of her ex-partner Jake McCarthy, who’s now dead. We’re digging through some of his old police files to kind of reinterpret Sara’s origin and how she got the Witchblade. It’s not going to simply be a repeat of the first issue of ‘Witchblade.’ It’ll contain some of the same material, obviously, but it’ll be told from a different light. The idea is to bring in a different perspective as well as some different information.”
The retelling of Sara’s origins holds major ramifications for future “Witchblade” stories, as Marz teased: “Without giving too much away, the idea is that Jake’s file has fallen into somebody’s hands who shouldn’t have it. So we’re retelling the story, but it’s really simply the first part of an ongoing storyline where someone who shouldn’t know Sara’s secret has all of the information.”
Beyond “Witchblade” #144, Marz has plenty of plans for the iconic Top Cow heroine, with or without Hope. “I’ve said it before, but I feel like this is a book that’s so open to really any kind of interpretation and any kind of story that you can tell, whether you’re going to do a crime story, something supernatural, a character drama or a real noir kind of thing,” he said. “The talent that you can work with is really almost limitless, so if I’m bored on the book, it’s my own damn fault. Thankfully, I’m not bored at all. I’m very much committed to it, and so is Stjepan. We had initially said that we would go through to issue #150 together, but I think we’re planning on sticking around for quite a while after that. We’ve got a bunch of different stories we want to tell, and just getting to issue #150 won’t even scratch the surface of what we want to do.”
“Witchblade” #140 arrives in stores on December 8, 2010, with “Witchblade Annual 2010” scheduled to ship the following week. The search for Hope continues in “Artifacts” #4, on sale on December 22, 2010.