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REVIEW: 'Witchblade' #180 by David Hine and Gabriel Raerte

Spoilers ahead if you're not caught up on Witchblade but it's no secret that Jackie Estacado bit the dust a while back. And if you didn't know it's crystal clear within the first two pages of Witchblade #180. For Sara Pezzini, it’s an emotionally charged issue that not only explains the demise of Jackie but also the devastating legacy he left behind when he resurrected their daughter Hope.

'Darkness Falls: The Death of Jackie Estacado Part 1' was intended to be part of a stand-alone graphic novel, but Top Cow made a smart decision in giving new and old fans some important details that helped shape Sara's world. So for this arc, Ron Marz and Laura Braga take a break as the regular creative team and enter David Hine and Gabriel Raerte. 

Sara sacrificed her daughter to save the world only to see Jackie remake reality to bring her back to life. In a spiteful move, he also resurrects his dead ex-girlfriend Jenny to be her mother. It's part of the heartache that Sara must endure as she ascends the stairs to witness her daughter, powerful and troubled, reborn as a stranger to her. 

It's some heavy stuff but it works perfectly as Hine frames the story. We're immediately drawn into Sara's plight and then captivated by the supernatural forces at play. There's an uneasy undercurrent seeing Hope much like the girl in Poltergeist. The build-up is tense and pitch perfect. 

Raerte does a great job of not only providing the proper staging for the big moments but the smaller ones as well. Probably most impressive is the virtual three-dimensional look his lines take on in one particular scene that along with Betsy Gonia's colors is the highlight of the issue. 

Witchblade, during this arc and with this creative team, is off to a great start. It's an engaging story that's accessible to new readers especially  with the quick recap in every issue. Get on board now so not to miss the conclusion of what's sure to be a seminal event in Witchblade history. 


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