Posted on September 3, 2010 by alanajoli
When we last left off (back in March, embarrassingly enough), Sara Pezzini — aka, the bearer of the re-united witchblade — was facing off against cyborg assassin Aphrodite IV, who has previously tried to kill her. Twice. But being surrounded by enemy robots does a lot to make you rethink your position on being enemies, so as Witchblade 135 opens, the two team up. It’s clear that something is not right here at robots ‘r us — I mean, assassin robots should clue a person in on laws being broken — but while Aphrodite’s mission is about killing the traitor to her programmers, Sara’s determined to bring the law down hard instead. Surprisingly, the cyborg assassin agrees. But, of course, it’s not that easy — there are more robots to face, and, in the final panel, a whole lot more sexy cyborgs than anyone knew existed.
There’s a whole lot of great banter in #135. Back in the War of the Witchblades arc, it was hard to tell if Sara’s snark and sharp tongue came out of her being temporarily evil. We see here that the caustic wit is all Sara. (Who else could deliver the line “I don’t care if you are just R2-D2 with nice tits” with a straight face?) The artwork, as usual, is fantastic — there’s a great page where Sara and Aphrodite face off for three panels before one of them is willing to lower a weapon to talk. The moment is really captured — you can almost feel the heartbeats while Sara’s deciding what to do. The witchblade also does some cool new stuff — Sara’s armor is more elaborate, and both the weapons and tools used in this issue expand what I’ve seen the witchblade do. There are fewer unique panel arrangements in this issue than in earlier parts of the series, but that’s rectified as the story continues in issue #136. Sejic breaks out some more non-traditional panel divisions and layouts to emphasize the action — and action is required when Aphrodite’s cyborg sibs bring the fight to our new super-team. The witchblade continues to evolve, using some of the same style moves we saw when Sara was evil. Here, however, they’re controlled, and Sara doesn’t feel the need to hold back, since her foes are human facsimiles, not actual humans.
But even great team-ups have to come to an end, especially when missions and duties collide. Aphrodite can’t let law prevail over her work (killing her target), and Sara can’t let her assassinate someone without trying to stop her. This time, Aphrodite has the element of surprise, since Sara’s convinced of their bargain, but even though the cyborg gets the best of Sara, both of them live to walk away (and continue on in different series — Sara’s story keeps going in Witchblade,and Aphrodite is moving over to the new Artifacts series). The three-part arc ends up stronger than the first issue led me to believe it would. It’s hard to follow an amazing arc like War of the Witchblades, but Almost Human comes together at the end, showing that even when she gives every appearance of being inhuman, it could be that Aphrodite has human emotions after all. And Sara, after having been consumed by darkness, has learned to value her own humanity. (Gleason gets the short end of the stick in this arc — he makes appearances in these issues, but mostly to remind Sara that they’re partners, and she ought to count on him. I wonder how many times he’ll be able to give that lecture before he realizes that part of Sara’s life isn’t going to change.)
So, it’s a short arc that’s definitely worth the read, and a nice bridge into whatever the next big story is for Sara and company. Ron Marz is also doing a great job writing threads to be taken on by other series in the world, making it easy to get interested in the several titles that launched this year.
Review by Alana Abbott