Ron Marz talks Broken Trinity

Top Cow's 2007 "First Born" event saw Sara Pezzini -- aka Witchblade-- give birth to Darkness wielder Jackie Estacado's child, a baby girl named Hope. This year's "Broken Trinity" finds the three pillars of the Top Cow Universe, the Witchblade, the Darkness and the Angelus, locked in mortal combat once again. CBR News spoke to writer Ron Marz about "Broken Trinity," a three-part event featuring art by "First Born" artist Stjepan Sejic, which Marz promises will have large and far-reaching repercussions in the Top Cow Universe.

Marz described the Darkness and the Angelus as "the primal forces" in the Top Cow universe: one represents darkness and one represents light, both literally and metaphorically. "They've always existed, and they've always been in opposition to each other," Marz told CBR News. At the dawn of time, the unholy union between an Angelus warrior and a Darkness host resulted in the Witchblade. "The Witchblade is supposed to act as a balance, almost like a truce, between the Darkness and the Angelus, the dark and the light, so that they don't tear each other apart and destroy the universe." The current wielder of the Darkness is a NYC mobster named Jackie Estacado, and the current wielder of the Angelus is murderess named Celestine.

The truce between the Angelus and the Darkness is a tenuous one at best. "Just because there's a balance or a truce in place between the Angelus in the Darkness doesn't mean that either one of them are really crazy about the idea," Marz said. "So while the universe is better off if the Angelus and the Darkness are not at war, the Angelus and the Darkness themselves would much rather wipe out the other." Additionally, Celestine believes she can shift the balance in her favor if she could get her hands on baby Hope.

The Witchblade, the Darkness and the Angelus are only three of a baker's dozen of powerful artifacts that exist in the Top Cow Universe. "About half of the 13 have been revealed in some way, but half of them are still completely unknown and unnamed," Marz confirmed. "Broken Trinity" #1 introduces two more of the artifacts into the mix: the stone of ember and the glacier stone, another pair of relics which have found themselves in direct opposition to one another over the years. On the surface of things, the basis of their conflict would seem to be the age-old elemental struggle between fire and ice, but Marz insists that those elemental allegiances are only manifestations of what the baubles truly represent. "Instead of heat vs. cold, which is kind of an obvious trope, and one that we ultimately wanted to shy away from, ultimately these two artifacts represent creation and destruction."

Irish thug Michael Finnegan is a new character who features prominently in "Broken Trinity." First introduced in Top Cow's Free Comic Book Day "Broken Trinity" prelude, Finnegan is about to have his world turned upside down. "He's originally from Dublin, Ireland, wound up in Boston, and fell in with some of the Boston organized crime that's controlled by the Irish mobs there," Marz said. "Eventually he found his way to working for Jackie Estacado in New York. So while he's a criminal, he's more of a thug, a bit of a good-natured rogue. All of that is what sort of leads him into being part of 'Broken Trinity.' And what happens to him in the storyline is obviously something that he's not prepared for in any way shape or form."

Speaking of Jackie Estacado, fans familiar with Phil Hester's ongoing "The Darkness" series know that the current Darkness wielder fled to the distant port of Sierra Munoz in the aftermath of "First Born." "In terms of the 'Darkness' issues that are shipping right now, Jackie is still in Sierra Munoz, but that whole situation is kind of going to shit for him," Marz revealed. "Most of 'Broken Trinity' takes place in New York, and Jackie eventually will be in New York. The story of how he gets to New York and what brings him to New York is told in the 'Broken Trinity: Darkness' tie-in special, which Phil Hester wrote and Jorge Lucas is drawing."

"Broken Trinity: The Darkness" is the first of three tie-in issues that weave in and out of the "Broken Trinity" series itself. "That one fits between issues 1 and 2 of 'Broken Trinity,'" Marz said. Set between "Broken Trinity" #2 and #3 is "Broken Trinity: Angelus," written by Marz and penciled by Brian Stelfreeze. "That gives the reader an idea of where the Angelus power has been since 'First Born' and also since the 'Angelus' Pilot Season one-shot. So it brings her up to date, and hopefully fleshes out her character a little bit more." The third and final tie-in, "Broken Trinity: Witchblade," is written by Marz with art by Nelson Blake II, and will serve as an epilogue to the crossover event. "That's going to pick up at the end of the whole 'Broken Trinity' storyline, whoever is left standing at the end of that."

With "Broken Trinity" hot on the heels of "First Born," can Top Cow fans expect the company to go the way of the Big Two with event-driven stories? Marz said Top Cow events differ from those at Marvel or DC in two respects, the first being that Top Cow universe is smaller and more contained. "Their universes are a lot bigger and a lot older and have a lot more continuity to deal with," Marz said. "The main thing that we're looking to do with these kind of storylines is tell a good story, and make sure it's a story that's large enough and important enough that it couldn't be contained within the pages of the 'Witchblade' or 'Darkness' monthlies, and that makes some permanent changes to the universe." And Top Cow's smaller universe allows them to keep their crossover events manageable in length. "This whole crossover is six parts, and if you don't want to read the tie-in issues, you'll still get the main thrust of the story. What we do kind of stands in contrast to Marvel or DC crossovers, that have 38 parts and cost you 200 bucks."

Marz also promised that great pains are being taken to ensure that the crossover syncs up not only with the tie-ins, but also with the ongoing series. "We don't want to be in a position where all the pieces don't match up and the readers are left with a question of, "Well, how did character A get to location B?'" Marz said. "We're dealing with fewer characters and a tighter storyline, but we still want to make sure that we have all of our ducks in a row, so to speak.

"And just like 'First Born,' 'Broken Trinity' will have long-lasting ramifications, there are things that come out of this," Marz continued. "In the case of 'First Born,' it was a birth, and in the case of 'Broken Trinity,' it's definitely going to be a death. It will be reflected in the ongoing Top Cow universe books, it's not like this takes place off in its own little world and we don't refer to it again, this is major stuff that affects all the books."

"Broken Trinity" #1 hits stands on July 23 from Top Cow Productions and Image Comics.

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