As a relative newbie to the comics world, one of the prejudices I’ve had to shake off is the idea the women are consistently presented as eye-candy and little more. You know, skin-tight outfits, provocative poses, few lines. So you can imagine I was a little, well, put off by my first glimpse of tough NYPD detective Sara Pezzini–dolled up in a skin-tight red mini dress and drawn with impossible proportions. My mouth twitched and I’m sure I ended up with a bit of a scowl on my face. Nonetheless, I decided to keep going and see just how stereotypical this buxom lass would be.

I’m glad I did. Sara, on top of being a sexy thing, is smart, strong, capable, independent, and, always my favorite, snide. Sara has been chosen by the mythical Witchblade, a legendary weapon of extraordinary power that chooses its female wielder for better or for worse. As the Witchblade exerts its control, Sara loses her beloved partner, is stuck with a rookie to replace him, and is suddenly being courted by the one man who holds the key to the Witchblade, the dangerously attractive Kenneth Irons. One visual decision that evens the score is that the men in the book, from nemesis Kenneth Irons to potential brother in arms Ian Nottingham, are drawn with equally impossible proportions and beauty. The artwork and colors are jewel-like–vivid with light and sharp lines. The plot is satisfyingly complicated, emotional, and happily, edged with a no-nonsense humor that is too often lacking in fantasy tales of destiny. If you’re looking for a heroine with muscles, brains and beauty, look no further.

On a side note, yes, this title and its sequels are the inspiration for the TNT TV show, now cancelled, Witchblade. I enjoyed the show a lot, but as with most adaptations, the graphic novels follow a different plot and creative idea, so check them out.

Witchblade–Origins, vol. 1: Genesis
ISBN: 9781582409016
By Christina Z and David Wohl
Art by Michael Turner
Top Cow Productions/Image, 2008 (second edition)

  • Robin B.

    | She/Her Teen Librarian, Public Library of Brookline

    Editor in Chief

    Robin E. Brenner is Teen Librarian at the Brookline Public Library in Massachusetts. She has chaired the American Library Association Great Graphic Novels for Teens Selection List Committee, the Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee, and served on the Michael L. Printz Award Committee. She is currently the President of the Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table for ALA. She was a judge for the 2007 Eisner awards, helped judge the Boston Globe Horn Book Awards in 2011, and contributes to the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. She regularly gives lectures and workshops on graphic novels, manga, and anime at comics conventions including New York and San Diego Comic-Con and at the American Library Association’s conferences. Her guide, Understanding Manga and Anime (Libraries Unlimited, 2007), was nominated for a 2008 Eisner Award.

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