Top Cow Productions, Inc.
"The Magdalena: Volume 1"
Written by Ron Marz
Art by Nelson Blake II
Ron Marz has written this story before, and he admits to it in the afterward in the back of the trade. That fact doesn't stop this from being a great read. A satanic cult is trying to summon Satan into our world to remake it in his image and only The Magdalena can stand in their way. Marz wrote this story in Witchblade a few years back, but it was always meant for this character, and it pays off so much better than the previous.
The Magdalena, named Patience, is a decendant of Mary Magdalene, and is the Catholic Church's most powerful warrior against the armies of Hell. She is enlisted by Cardinal Innocent to hunt down a child who is believed to be the Son of Satan. Armed with the Spear of Destiny and accompanied by a Knight in the Catholic Inquisition named Kristof, she sets off not to do what is dictated to her by the church, but to do what is right. Patience is rebelious and only goes along with the Church's bidding because she doesn't believe anyone else would do the right thing.
What follows is a great battle of morality where the reader is led down a path that seems definite, making her decision in the end seem simple. Since I will make this write-up spoiler free, I won't reveal what happens but suffice it to say the end is not as clear cut as it seems. What you get in return is a very rich and deep character that is not willing to be a puppet of the Church (who may or may not have the best intentions) but a true voice of good in the battle of good versus evil. Interactions between Patience and Kristof, who has become her mentor, are a lot of fun. It is not the burgeoning romance that one would expect but a very professional one. Kristof is also shown to have a similar moral compass to Patience's and the two just work together so well.
The Magdalena is the latest title in a number of books that Ron Marz has cleaned up for Top Cow. A costume that was once overly sexy, especially for a character linked to the Catholic Church, has been toned down and molded into one of the most asthetically appealing in comics. The red and black costume complete with cloak, and armor look amazing on the page. Nelson Blake II's art is beautiful and should not be missed. Every page was a pleasure to look at and I cannot wait for more.
Issues 1-6 were collected in volume 1 and issues 7 and 8 are on shelves now. 9 and 10 should be out on schedule so this is a perfect time to jump on board. The title is self contained, so no knowledge of the Top Cow universe is required. I highly reccomend giving this one a look, even if you might have doubts about the religous tones. You will not be beaten over the head by them, and they are only as subjective as any ghost story.
I will have further reviews up when I read issues 7 and 8. I am also reading through Artifacts, another book by Marz that encompasses the entire Witchblade/Darkness/Angelus universe. I will have a review on that series up soon as well.