"Witchblade" Walks The Road To "Artifacts"

Homicide detective Sara Pezzini is one of New York City's finest police officers, but she has much more than a service revolver at her disposal - she's the bearer of the Witchblade, one of thirteen highly coveted Artifacts in the Top Cow Universe.

Created by Marc Silvestri, David Wohl, Brian Haberlin and Michael Turner, Sara is virtually synonymous with Top Cow thanks to her long-standing ongoing series, "Witchblade," currently written by Ron Marz. Soon, Sara will assume a central role in another series - "Artifacts," the 13-issue event penned by Marz and drawn by a team of artists including Michael Broussard. CBR News spoke with Marz and Top Cow Publisher Filip Sablik to learn more about Sara's role in "Artifacts."

As an Artifact, the Witchblade represents the balance between the Darkness and the Angelus, the primal forces of dark and light within the Top Cow Universe. Thankfully, this burden falls into the hands of Sara, a character that Sablik described as the "purest hero in the Top Cow Universe, in the sense that she's always trying to do what's right in her mind."

"She certainly has a code of ethics that she lives by and that she does her job by, though I think most of our characters are really shades of gray," Marz countered. "There's no Superman or Captain America in the Top Cow Universe in terms of characters who are sort of that paragon of virtue. Everybody has some flaws, and they might not be huge flaws, but everybody has feet of clay to a certain extent, and that includes Sara. But she's obviously chosen to live her life on the side of right. The only thing she's ever known is being a cop."

Sara recently exposed her own flaws in the pages of Marz and illustrator Stjepan Sejic's "Witchblade" series. For a time, the Witchblade was split down its axis and divided into two portions: Sara held onto the dark portion representing the Darkness, while her friend Danielle Baptiste possessed the light half representing the Angelus. During this period, Sara embraced her dark side, drove away her loved ones and nearly killed Danielle in the process. Ultimately, Danielle became the new host of the Angelus, while Sara retained the full Witchblade - and a whole lot of bad baggage on top of it.

"She did some pretty awful stuff while she was under the influence of the Darkness half of the Witchblade," said Marz. "We didn't want to just end the 'War of the Witchblades' storyline and kind of tie it up in a bow and not mention it again. There is some emotional baggage that Sara is still dealing with over getting a look at the dark side of herself and obviously not liking what she saw."

"I think what Ron did really nicely in 'War of the Witchblades' and in the aftermath is really drive home the idea that this was Sara," Sablik agreed. "The dark side of the Witchblade was driving her, but everything she did, at the end of the day, was her. She's taking responsibility for that, but how do you deal with that? How do you resolve that within yourself once you've really been confronted with the fact that you're capable of some pretty shitty stuff, of being really hurtful to the people that you love? I think that's certainly something she's been dealing with lately and it's something that I think will continue to play throughout 'Artifacts.'"

Even with the Witchblade intact and her personality no longer dominated by darkness, Sara faces her greatest challenge of all when "Artifacts" begins: the disappearance of her daughter, Hope. Hope is the daughter of Sara and Darkness-bearer Jackie Estacado, a deeply flawed mobster who has remained largely absent from Hope's life, at least on a surface level. But when Hope goes missing in "Artifacts," both Sara and Jackie are forced to come together to rescue their baby girl.

"To me, the real core of what we're doing with 'Artifacts' is, yes, it's a big storyline and it's going to involve a ton of characters and it spans the Top Cow Universe, but at its core, it's really about three people: Sara, Jackie and Hope," said Marz. "It's about a family. That family is put into a really dire situation, because Hope goes missing. Sara and Jackie, who are not the best of friends to begin with, are kind of forced to depend on each other to help find their daughter."

And if readers think they've seen Sara go down dark roads before, they haven't seen anything yet. "Sara tries to be a good cop when she can, but if you mess with her kid, all bets are off - as I think would be the case with most mothers," teased Sablik. "It's a completely different situation and your ethics and moral code really come into question when it's a personal issue like having someone take your child."

"At its core, the question that hangs over 'Artifacts' is, 'What would you do to save your child?'" Marz asked. "'What would you sacrifice to save your child? Who would you sacrifice to save your child?'

"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.

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