Wheel Of Shadows Spins The Road To "Artifacts"

Time is on your side, yes it is, if your name happens to be Sabine and you're in possession of the Wheel of Shadows.

An elite Angelus warrior, Sabine has significantly upped the ante on her power set thanks to her possession of the Wheel of Shadows, one of thirteen deadly Artifacts lurking about the Top Cow Universe alongside the Witchblade, the Darkness, the Angelus, the Rapture, the Spear of Destiny, the Glacier Stone, the Ember Stone, the Blood Sword and Pandora's Box. But in seeking out the Wheel of Shadows, has Sabine finally bitten off more than she can chew? Only time can tell, but time is running out as we inch ever closer to the debut of "Artifacts," the soon-to-launch 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 Wheel of Shadows, its current bearer Sabine and their mutual role in the continuing "Artifacts" saga.

Like most shiny objects with a beautiful golden trim and an alluring obsidian interior, the Wheel of Shadows is not to be treated lightly - especially considering that it was most recently seen hidden in the depths of Hell. As is the case with the rest of the Artifacts, the Wheel offers its wielder with a very specific set of skills: in this instance, time manipulation.

"What we've revealed is that the Wheel of Shadows, for people looking at it visually, is literally a sundial," Sablik told CBR of the Artifact. "Therefore, its powers allow the bearer to manipulate time on some level. Specifically in 'Angelus' #4, we see one of the Angelus warriors use it to accelerate the aging process. That in itself is a pretty potent ability. From there throughout 'Artifacts,' you'll see other things it can do."

One thing the Wheel of Shadows can't do is grant the bearer with the ability to travel through time. "Here at the Top Cow home office, we hate time travel," said Sablik. "Time travel sucks. There's virtually no good way to tell a time travel story, so we're staying away from that. But outside of that, anytime you can manipulate time or people's perception of time, that's a pretty big advantage, I would say."

Taking time travel off the table speaks to another issue not just with the Wheel of Shadows, but with all of the Artifacts. "Ultimately, any of these Artifacts, we have to put some sort of parameter on these powers, or else it becomes the Spectre, and why doesn't the Spectre just fix everything?" said Marz. "We don't want the Artifacts to be so powerful that there's a logic flaw in every story they appear in, so we do set parameters on things like the Wheel of Shadows because you don't want to give a character the ability to go around through time and do whatever they want, because that leaches all of the drama out of the story."

Even without time travel at its disposal, the Wheel of Shadows offers a potent advantage to someone who already has a wide array of skills - someone like Sabine. A mainstay in the Top Cow Universe thanks to multiple appearances in "Witchblade" and the currently ongoing "Angelus" miniseries, Sabine desires nothing more than to become the host and full-fledged leader of the Angelus warriors. After the death of previous Angelus host Celestine in the pages of "Broken Trinity," Sabine believed that she was the next logical choice to receive the Angelus power - but that promotion never came down the line, as the Angelus ultimately decided on former Witchblade-bearer Danielle Baptiste as its new host. Needless to say, Sabine is none too happy about this.

"She is essentially a lieutenant in the army of Angelus warriors who believed that she deserved to inherit the Angelus force, that she was next in line," Marz said of Sabine. "She feels like her rightful place was stolen by this usurper in Danielle Baptiste. For all of Sabine's machinations, she has not been able to wrench the Angelus force away from Dani yet."

But Sabine's day of reckoning could be close at hand. With the loyalty of many Angelus warriors still at her disposal, Sabine sent a handful of minions into the depths of Hell to retrieve the Wheel of Shadows, viewing it as an Artifact with great power to aid her quest to dethrone Dani - but as comic book readers surely know, with great power comes great responsibility, and Sabine might not be prepared for the latter portion of that equation.

"She now has her hands on the Wheel of Shadows, which was formerly in Hell," said Marz. "It should give her enough power to go toe-to-toe with Dani. But in a lot of ways, the lesson is, be careful what you wish for. In Sabine's case, she'll end up with the Wheel of Shadows and maybe ends up with a little bit more than she bargained for."

"At the end of the day, she chased after the Wheel of Shadows to get closer to the Angelus, as a means to an end," added Sablik. "Ultimately, this will end up biting her. She gains the Wheel of Shadows but kind of has a fall from grace, to use another angel parallel, from the Angelus. In her pursuit to get closer, she's actually driving herself further away."

Marz teased that, when all is said and done on the "Angelus" miniseries, Sabine's status amongst the Angelus host may be even lower than it is already. "She wanted to be the Angelus, and the result is that she may end up not even being an Angelus warrior anymore - she's transformed into something not quite that," warned the writer.

When it comes to Sabine and the Wheel of Shadows, then, it's appropriate to refer to an old adage: Hell hath no fury like a fallen angel with the power to manipulate time scorned - or something close to that.

"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 as we see to the truth of the matter with the Heart Stone!

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