The Glacier Stone Freezes The Road To "Artifacts"

In the Top Cow Universe, there are times when a rivalry can be boiled down to a simple notion of fire and ice. But for low-level thug Michael "Finn" Finnegan, the last thing he ever expected in life - indeed, the last thing he wanted - was to come into opposition against a fiery Artifact-wielder such as Glorianna "Glori" Silver.

No matter his desire, that's exactly the situation that Finn has found himself in as the wielder of the Glacier Stone, one of thirteen deadly Artifacts carried by a handful of characters within the Top Cow Universe including Sara Pezzini (Witchblade), Jackie Estacado (The Darkness), Danielle Baptiste (The Angelus), Tom Judge (Rapture) and the Magdalena (The Spear of Destiny). Finn and the Glacier Stone are two of the many key components in the upcoming 13-issue "Artifacts" miniseries written by Ron Marz and illustrated by a team of illustrators including Michael Broussard. To learn more about Finn and the Glacier Stone, CBR News turned to Marz and Top Cow Publisher Filip Sablik for the sixth installment of our weekly "Road to Artifacts" series.

Finn is not only new to the notion of the Artifacts; he's also new to the Top Cow Universe. The character first appeared in "Broken Trinity," the 2008 miniseries written by Marz and illustrated by Stjepan Sejic. A low-level Irish thug, Finn was sent by Jackie Estacado to look out over Sara Pezzini and their daughter Hope - but his level of involvement soon escalated to something considerably more elemental.

"He's kind of a low-level hood - he's a thug," Marz told CBR of Finn's character. "Where somebody like Jackie Estacado was a hit man and actually led a mafia family at one point, Finnegan is the kind of guy who ends up doing the bidding of those sorts of people. He's kind of a poor bastard who never gets a break. As further proof of that, he gets stuck with this Artifact called the Glacier Stone, which can transform him into what is essentially an ice giant. He transforms into a creature that has control over ice and frost. Some of that ties in thematically to Norse myth. He's still kind of getting used to the idea that he has this thing and frankly, he's not all that thrilled about it. His life as a low-level thug was at least fairly simple - but now, it's hugely complicated by this thing he's inherited."

Like many of the other characters in the Top Cow Universe, Finn had no intention of coming into contact with the Artifacts. "He's another one of these characters struggling with his identity in relation to this crazy fantastical world he's been exposed to," said Sablik. "He was basically handed the Glacier Stone by the Curator, who's a pivotal supporting character in 'Witchblade' and the Top Cow Universe. In many ways, like Sara, this wasn't Finn's choice. He didn't ask for this mantle."

Finn has good reasons for wanting to reject the mantle: as the wielder of the Glacier Stone, he's become the inherent nemesis of Glorianna "Glori" Silver, the longtime wielder of the Ember Stone. Their ongoing feud is currently being told in the pages of "Broken Trinity: Pandora's Box," a six-issue series co-written by Rob Levin and Bryan Edward Hill with art by Alessandro Vitti. In that series, the uncertain Finn comes into contact with the fiery Glori, who was raised to believe that tracking down the Artifacts is her destiny. As such, Glori makes Finn a tempting offer: she's willing to take the Glacier Stone off his back.

"Michael ultimately is faced with the decision of does he even want this job," said Sablik. "Certainly his life would be much simpler if he turned it down, if he just walked away. In fact, in 'Pandora's Box' #2, that's very much the question that Glori poses to Michael. She tells him: 'You don't have to do this. You don't want to do this. I will basically buy you out. I want this job. This is my destiny. I'll give you $1 million to walk away.' That's pretty compelling - how many of us would take that deal?"

But walking away is not that easy. "Both for Finn, Glori and a lot of the Top Cow characters, one of the core concepts and themes that we deal with is that you get stuck with this thing whether you want it or not, whether it's the Ember Stone, the Glacier Stone, the Angelus host - but it's up to that person what they do with it," said Marz. "It sounds trite going back to the 'with great power comes great responsibility' trope, but it's true. A lot of the story is about how these people are going to fare under the weight of these mantles that they've inherited. Some of them will be up to it, some of them will end up being heroic, and some of them won't."

Whether or not Finn is up to the task remains to be seen, but one thing that's becoming increasingly more apparent is that there's an ancient and potentially apocalyptic element to both the Glacier and Ember Stones' relatively recent appearances in the Top Cow Universe. "Both of these Artifacts have been out in play for [more than 1,000 years], and in a lot of ways, 'Artifacts' resonates with this kind of thought and fear about the end of the world and what's coming, in the same way that I'm sitting around and every day it seems like we're getting news of some new earthquake around the world," said Sablik. "You've got all of these Mayan prophecies of 2012. One of the cool things about 'Artifacts' is how it's organically kind of grown. We did 'Broken Trinity' two years ago, so that's where these two new Artifacts surfaced. The question that readers will hopefully be asking is, was that an accident? Or is this all part of some larger movement?

"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.

Next week, get ready to meet Finn's opposite: Glorianna Silver, the wielder of the Ember Stone.

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