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Ron Marz on War of the Witchblades

by  in Comic News Comment
Ron Marz on War of the Witchblades
“Witchblade” #125 on sale now

Two years ago, the Witchblade was torn asunder. Where there was one wielder, there was now two. Sara Pezzini retained the dark half of the ancient weapon, and Dani Baptiste became the wielder of the better angels of the Witchblade’s nature. Dani and Sara’s personalities have clashed from time to time in the past, but the long-brewing conflict between the two Witchblade wielders finally came to a head in Top Cow’s “Witchblade” #124. This week, “Witchblade” #125 kicks off a six-issue arc entitled “War of the Witchblades,” and CBR News caught up with series writer Ron Marz to get the details.

At the end of “Witchblade” #123, Dani threatened the life of her new dance student’s low-life boyfriend. “That situation gets out of control real fast, and the guy ends up dead,” Marz told CBR. “Dani doesn’t specifically kill him, but her involvement in the whole thing ends up leading to his death.”

Sara, meanwhile, had been pursuing a voodoo demon responsible for a series of grisly murders in Crown Heights, and the dead boyfriend becomes posthumously implicated in the killings. “Even though they cleared the case off the books by blaming this guy who had nothing to do with it, Sara ends up really resenting the fact that she’s been pulled into this situation by Dani, and the fact that she’s kind of compromised her ideals and her morals to do all this.”

At the end of “Witchblade” #124, the two wielders part company in anger, and it’s all downhill from there.

Attentive readers will have noticed that Sara and Dani’s personalities have begun to undergo subtle changes as a result of the influence of the good and evil halves of the Witchblade. “Sara has been more angry, more aggressive, and Dani has been a bit more empathetic, a bit more in the mode of wanting to help people,” Marz said. “So while the situation with the dead boyfriend was certainly a catalyst, this conflict had been brewing for quite some time.”

“Witchblade” #125 covers A and B

The “War of the Witchblades” arc will reintroduce Sara’s sister Julie, who has been in prison for the entirety of Marz’s run on the book. “The curator character will also play a fairly large part in the ‘War of the Witchblades,’ and we’ll be revealing stuff about him and his background that we haven’t even hinted at previously,” Marz confirmed.

The Witchblade, The Darkness and The Angelus have long been the three pillars of the Top Cow Universe, and while Jackie Estacado does not play a part in the “War of the Witchblades,” The Angelus does put in an appearance. “The Angelus is without a host at the moment, that’s still something that’s kind of hanging over from the ‘Broken Trinity’ storyline,” Marz explained. Howver, the writer confirmed, that situation will be resolved by the end of this upcoming arc.

More importantly, come the end of “War of the Witchblades,” there will, once again, be only one Witchblade bearer. Marz wouldn’t say which of the wielders would be left standing, but he did reveal that “there will be some fairly final ramifications in the storyline,” and that after the conclusion in issue #130, only one of the characters would be involved with the book going forward.

Ron Marz and artist Stjepan Seijic have been collaborating on “Witchblade” for some time now, and as far as the writer is concerned, Seijic gets better with each issue. “We both had various side projects that we were working on, including ‘Broken Trinity,’ now we’re just able to concentrate on ‘Witchblade,’ which I think it will help the arc overall,” Marz said.

“Witchblade” #126

Even though the writer strives to make “Witchblade” a darker, denser take on the superhero genre, he doesn’t shy away from infusing the book with “eye-candy visuals” which really play to his artist’s strengths.

Marz says that Seijic’s productivity is second to none. The writer referred to a recent instance when four preview pages were on the fast track, and Seijic was able to turn the completed pages around in less than three days.

Top Cow is dedicated to keeping consistent creative teams on its books, and Marz said that has been a boon for “Witchblade.” Marz and Seijic are signed on through issue #150 at least, and the creative team already has the next 25 issues mapped out in broad strokes. “We know the general direction, where we’re going to be two years from now, so we can sprinkle in stuff that we can come back and pick up that will pay off not just in the next story arc, but in a story arc a year and a half down the road,” Marz said.

While the last thing Ron Marz wants to do is overstay his welcome on “Witchblade,” the wide range of stories he’s been able to tell in the book have kept it fresh for him and Seijic both. “We can do a lot of different stuff, so hopefully the fact that we’re not getting bored with the book means that the audience isn’t going to be bored,” he said.

The writer confessed not all books lend themselves to that kind of longevity. “Sometimes you get on a book, like for me, ‘Green Lantern,’ where it’s a really good fit and you’ve got a lot of stories to tell, and you settle into a groove and keep going.” Indeed, Marz wrote 75 issues of “Green Lantern,” and says there’s a very real possibility that he will break that record on “Witchblade.” “I like the character and the setting, the sort of New York City cop story, all those are really comfortable fits for me. I like the cards we’ve been dealt, so I’m prone to sit at the table and play those cards for as long as we can.”

“Witchblade” #127

Top Cow tends to agree with Marz on this point. “They really feel like it’s important to have a solid team on the book that is going to be there for a while, so I think all parties are agreed that we’ll keep doing it as long as we have ideas. I think we’ve got more than enough stories to last us through #160 or #170. There’s a lot more that we want to get to, and we’re still trying to figure out how exactly we’re going to work it all in.”

“War of the Witchblades” resolves a number of long-running plot threads, and Marz admitted that some of the story elements did not turn out the way he had originally intended. “We took out one set of antagonists and put in another set that just seemed to fit a lot better,” he said. “Planning is great, but sometimes stories just end up coming together organically, and you just go with it. To me, that’s really the coolest part of the whole process. You have a plan, you have a roadmap of where you want to end up, and sometimes you just end up taking a very different route to get there.”

While “War of the Witchblades” brings with it its share of finality, it also represents a new beginning for the book. “We’ve been building up to this for a couple years now, and this is going to be a big story,” Marz said. “There will be a sense of conclusion to this, but there will also be a sense of a new beginning, because this just sets the stage for any number of stories that we’re going to tell afterward.”

“Witchblade” #125 is on sale now from Top Cow Productions and Image Comics.

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