As a continuation to my original post on Artifacts #22, this issue resumes perfectly where the capital based crime and demon battle left off and we get a deeper look into Tom Judge the priest, rather than Tom Judge the detective. Bearing the rapture artifact, which I know little to nothing about still since this is my second issue, Tom uses his ability to fight off a demon who took control over of an older man. Blood Rites Part 2, written by Ron Marz and crafted by Stjepan Sejic, has a solid intro or ‘where we left off’ segment and then throws you right into the action as you get to witness Tom in his supernatural form as he battles a well detailed and terrifying demon.
Tom Judge’s training as a priest did not prepare him for the horrors he’s seen as a special investigator for the FBI. But Tom’s current case – an unholy combination of the supernatural and murder most foul – is beyond anything he’s ever experienced, and even the powerful Artifact he wields, the Rapture, won’t be enough to save him.
*SOME SPOILERS AHEAD
The demon, we learn, is possessing a man by the name of, Harold Wittenger. The story resumes with the police bringing in their murder suspect but questioning isn’t going in their favor, and rather than tell the D.C.P.D. the truth, Tom decides to attempt an exorcism to remove the demon from this helpless avatar of sorts. This is where the bulk of the plot is and I really enjoyed the dialog as Marz shows some real talent and experience here. Troy Peteri’s lettering is crisp and I like the ‘dark’ speech as well as the bold emphasis from time to time. The script overall flows naturally and Stjepan’s illustrations bring the scenes to life.
This was another great Artifacts issue and considering my expectations were so high based on the last issue, that’s a good thing. The first time I saw Stjepan’s work, I was blown away, and he continues to deliver on providing a unique visual comic experience. That said, this is wrapping up what feels like one part and is opening up another, as we see that “The Angelus” my be approaching in the story soon (I have no idea who that is but she looks cool). Artifacts is looking like a great series and issue #23 feels like a bit of a closure but also an opening of sorts as it highlights religion, the supernatural, some ass kicking, and a well crafted dialog. Stjepan is quickly becoming one of my favorite artists and I’m really looking forward to more battles that involve Tom and his use of the rapture artifact. If you couldn’t tell, I am becoming attached to this character and I think many other readers would as well if they gave this book a chance. Stay tuned for more Artifacts greatness as Top Cow is releasing a one-shot in January titled, Tom Judge: The Geometry of Hell as well as Artifacts #24 & #25! I certainly will not be missing out on those pre-orders and if you’ve been following Top Cow at all over recent months you most likely know that January is looking like an electric month of releases for them. See what’s planned right here and get ready for more Think Tank, The Darkness, and Witchblade as well!
Artifacts #23 is out Wednesday 12/12/12 and will be ready for someone who wants a change of pace in both concept, story, and design. I am really digging this series and can’t want to follow it into 2013. You may have trouble finding it on the shelves in your local shop so be sure to pre-order with them this month. Of course, comiXology is always an option as well and digital comics are tremendously convenient. Tom Judge…. that is all.
PS. Is it just me or is Top Cow using the best comic paper available on the market today? Excellent quality and finish. Check out a free issue of Cyber Force and see for yourself.