As the bearers of the Ember Stone and the Glacier Stone respectively, Glorianna "Glori" Silver and Michael "Finn" Finnegan are pretty evenly matched - but when the Blood Sword is thrown into the mix, Finn suddenly has an unexpected and literal edge on his competition.
As if one Artifact wasn't enough, the Glacier Stone-wielding Finn is also in possession of the Blood Sword, one of thirteen deadly Artifacts within the Top Cow Universe alongside the likes of the Witchblade, the Darkness, the Angelus, the Rapture, the Spear of Destiny and, of course, Glori's own Ember Stone. But is it an Artifact that Finn will always remain in possession of, or is the sword destined for another owner? We'll find out in the pages of "Artifacts," the upcoming 13-issue series written by Ron Marz and illustrated by a team of artists including Michael Broussard. CBR News spoke with Marz and Top Cow publisher Filip Sablik to learn more about the Blood Sword, its history and its future.
Marz offered some history on the Blood Sword, which first appeared in "Witchblade" #86. According to the writer, the sword was forged during the days of Feudal Japan. "As the story goes, a demon was called up and forged within the blade, trapped within the blade," he told CBR. "It's essentially a samurai sword that's been passed down to different hands over the centuries. The longer a particular person has this sword in his possession, the hungrier the sword gets - the more the sword craves blood. Essentially, the demon has to be fed."
"This is really one of the other Artifacts that seems to have a finite lifespan, to date from a certain period if what we've learned [of its origins] is true," Marz added. "Just like the Spear of Destiny, there's more to be revealed about what [the Blood Sword] is and where it came from."
Sablik said that the Blood Sword reflects one particularly interesting aspect that's present throughout all of the various Artifacts. "The one thing that's interesting about all of these Artifacts is that they're all sentient in some way," he said. "They are their own characters. The bearers are characters, but the Artifacts themselves are characters. The Blood Sword, the Witchblade, the Darkness, the Angelus - all of these things we've been talking about have at one point or another expressed their own desires, their own motivations, their own goals that they're striving for. With the Blood Sword, it's even more apparent, because it literally pushes its bearer to feed. The more it's used, the more power it gains over the person bearing it."
Currently, the Blood Sword is in Finn's possession. A low-level Irish thug, Finn's lot in life is considerably heightened by his newfound role within the realm of the Artifacts. Already uncertain that he's fit to wield the Glacier Stone, now Finn finds himself charged with holding onto a second Artifact in the form of the Blood Sword. While it's not an enviable task - particularly given Finn's distaste for the Artifacts to begin with - there are upsides, as Marz put it: "I guess that having a magic samurai sword is better than not having a magic samurai sword!"
"The sword was given to Finn by the Curator, because he would need it in his quest to keep Glori from collecting all of the Artifacts," the writer said of how Finn came into possession of the sword. "If he has two of the Artifacts, it's that much harder for Glori to get her hands on all of them - but maybe there was an ulterior motive."
In accepting the sword from the Curator, Finn was sent to seek guidance from Kenshin, a Japanese warrior and one of the central characters in "Broken Trinity: Pandora's Box," the currently ongoing miniseries from writers Rob Levin and Bryan Edward Hill. "One of the people the Curator sends Finn to is this man, Kenshin, who is in 'Pandora's Box' as a guide or a mentor to Finn," said Sablik. "One of the things that's alluded there is that Kenshin, at one point, was the bearer of the Blood Sword, which is interesting from the standpoint that it shows that you can break free and you can walk away [from the Artifacts]. Now, he obviously hasn't walked away all the way, because he's still intimately involved in the fate of the Artifact."
Could the Blood Sword return to Kenshin, its onetime owner? That remains to be seen, though both Marz and Sablik warned that Finn's lordship over the sword wouldn't last forever. "The one thing that Ron has mentioned and we've said it a couple of times, these Artifacts were not meant to be possessed by one person," Sablik teased. "It's dangerous, it's bad, and the fact that Finn has two -Â it's temporary."
"It hasn't been an immediate concern, but it's kind of a cumulative effect," Marz explained further. "The longer one person holds onto two Artifacts, the more likely it is that the wheels come off and bad things start to happen. Other people and Artifacts-bearers have had the Blood Sword on occasion - Jackie Estacado used it to cut off the head of the previous Angelus - so there is precedent for other bearers having the sword, but it hasn't gone on this long. We're kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop, which will, of course, happen during 'Artifacts.'"
Fans will have to wait until "Artifacts" to find out where the object is headed and who, if anyone, is the sword's true master. "It's definitely going to come into play," said Sablik. "I think where it lands and what role it plays will be very interesting, particularly to longtime Top Cow fans - that's safe to say."
"You would have to torture me to get me to say more," added Marz.
"Artifacts" #1, written by Ron Marz and illustrated by Michael Broussard, launches on July 21, 2010. Tune into CBR every week leading up to the issue's release for further insight from Marz and Sablik.
Check back next week when we open up Pandora's Box!