Witchblade is an American comic book series published by Top Cow Productions, an imprint of Image Comics, from 1995 until present. The series was created by Top Cow editors Marc Silvestri and David Wohl, writers Brian Haberlin and Christina Z, and artist Michael Turner.
The series follows Sara Pezzini, a tough-as-nails NYPD homicide detective who comes into possession of the Witchblade, a supernatural, sentient artifact with immense destructive and protective powers. The weapon has bonded with various other women throughout history, the most recent being the series' former co-lead, Danielle Baptiste. Others who have come into contact with the Witchblade include Cleopatra and Joan of Arc. Sara struggles to hone the awesome powers of the Witchblade and fend off those with a nefarious interest in it, especially entrepreneur Kenneth Irons. She also struggles to maintain a personal life.
There have been many spin-off titles which place the Witchblade in other times and settings. The character of Sara Pezzini was also featured in crossovers with characters from other franchises, including Lara Croft, the Justice League, and the cast of Battle of the Planets.
The title was also adapted into an anime and an unrelated manga series in 2004. Each takes place in a futuristic Japan and features a new blade-wielder, with little resemblance to Pezzini or to each other, in the role. There have been two soundtracks to the manga series (which had a limited print run).
|“||In a lot of ways, the Witchblade universe is about the heavy weight of destiny, and the power, consequence, and dilemma that comes from carrying that weight.||”|
—Writer Bryan Hill 
The Witchblade is a male entity of both light and dark which represents both order and chaos. He is the offspring of the primal forces of the universe The Darkness and The Angelus and therefore acts as a balance between the two entities. The Witchblade is semi-organic because of the genetic structures of his parents,a union of the genes of The Darkness and The Angelus resulted in the creation of this semi-organic entity. Becaus of his semi-organic structure he is able to create a symbiote-like bond with a host.
The Witchblade was discovered in modern times in Greece by Kenneth Irons, but before he found him, he had many hosts. When not in use, he can look like an ornate jewel encrusted right-handed gauntlet. When wielded by an unworthy user, that person will lose their arm. He forms a symbiote-like relationship with the host, who can hear the Witchblade. When used, he expands across the body of the host, often shredding clothes and covering the body like armour. The amount and coverage of the armour depends on the level of the threat. For example, when facing mortals, he will usually generate less armour than when facing a demon of hell. This armor can produce extensions of himself that can form swords, other stabbing weapons, hooks, chains, shields, and wings, enabling the wielder to fly. He may also become temperamental if the host chooses not to use him. When wielded, he can shoot energy blasts from the hand or sword, fire projectile darts, and whip-like grapples to attack or to climb. The Witchblade is also an excellent lock pick, and can heal wounds, even mortal ones. The Witchblade can re-animate the dead, empathically show the host scenes of great trauma, and allow the host to relive experiences from past hosts as dreams.
Following the events in the First Born mini-series, the Witchblade was split into two parts. One half belongs to Dani while Sara has reclaimed the other half. However, the Witchblade originally being the balance between the forces of Darkness and Light, it was revealed in the recent "War of the Witchblades" story-arc that each half of the Witchblade reprensented one of the two primal forces: Sara having the Darkness one and Dani the Angelus. This led to changes in the personality of the characters, especially Sara. Encouraged by the leaderless Angelus Warriors and the mysterious Tau'ma, both hosts eventually ended up in all out war for the complete control of the Witchblade which concluded with Sara victorious and once again in control of the full Witchblade.
Top Cow's world
The Top Cow universe is populated by demons,angels,vampires,werewolves,zombies,ghouls,dimensional gates,ghosts,magic,ect. Supers are generally enhanced humans from government,or private entrepreneurial projects. Both The Mafia and The Yakuza are prominent forces. Sara's old precinct, the 18th, or "the One Eight" is in the roughest part of New York, where murders and other crimes occur often.The uviverse is populated by it`s primal forces,The Darkness and The Angelus,both of whom use the corpses of varios humans as hosts,however they are ``balanced`` by their offspring,The Witchblade.
- A New York City detective, Sara is a disciplined, tough-talking woman of Italian decent, who first encountered the Witchblade while on a case with her ex-partner, Michael Yee. After both officers were mortally wounded by criminal Ian Nottingham, the entity suddenly left the possession of Nottingham's employer, Kenneth Irons, and gave his power to Sara, healing her wounds. Pezzini has since been thrown into a darker world in which she's encountered a number of mystical opponents and strange cases while hosting The Witchblade. Quite often, she has wished for her life to return to normal.
- Eventually, it was revealed that The Witchblade was actually the offspring of the universe's primal forces, The Angelus and The Darkness. When Jackie Estacado, the host of The Darkness, was ``possessed`` by his dark soul, he impregnated a temporarily comatose Sara as part of an effort to sway The Witchblade's balance. However, neither of them became aware of this until later. Eventually, Sara met and relinquished The Witchblade to Dani Baptiste, whom the entity had a strong affinity toward. Coincidentally, Dani also happened to be the daughter of Sara's police captain. Following the birth of her daughter, Hope, Sara's life was saved when she received half of The Witchblade from Dani. During this period, both women bore distinct visual effects when activating the gauntlet. Sara, formerly possessing the half infused with The Darkness, manifested a dark appearance and bat-like wings when flying, while Dani manifested a bright appearance with fairy-like wings during flight.
- She now possesses the full Witchblade, as Dani is now the host for The Angelus.
- The latest in the long line of bearers, Danielle is an impulsive but goodhearted young dancer of French decent, who was born in New Orleans. After moving to New York to pursue her career, she experienced a mysterious dream which foretold her destiny. In the vision, she saw herself inheriting great power by means of a mystical entity, though she was told that he would require much discipline to control. Perplexed by the message, Dani found herself taking a walk and wandering to an antique shop the next day. It was there that she encountered Sara Pezinni, the then-current host of The Witchblade. Having become pregnant, Sara realized that the time had come for her to relinquish the entity. She also noticed that he became quite animated in Dani's presence, constantly reaching out to her. Dani recognized The Witchblade as the same entity from her dream, and offered to relieve Sara of him upon learning what he was. Realizing that Dani was meant to become the next host, Sara relinquished The Witchblade to her.
- After receiving possession of the balance, Dani faced a string of challenges in learning to control both him and her emotions. While exploring her power, she also faced and overcame a number of mystical opponents. Eventually, Dani returned half of The Witchblade to Sara in order to save Sara's life following the birth of her child. She currently does not have any portion of the Witchblade, as she is the present host to The Angelus.
- The Angelus is a female entity of light which represents order. Throughout history, She has chosen various women on Earth to serve as her host, each of whom are joined in battle by numerous winged soldiers known as Angelus Warriors. Along with The Darkness, The Angelus is one of the two primal forces of the universe that created The Witchblade.
- The Darkness is a male entity of dark which represents chaos. Like The Angelus, he is one of two primal forces of the universe that created The Witchblade, though he has chosen male hosts throughout history. The most well-known host is Jackie Estacado, an ex-mob boss who has had many run-ins with Sara. While under The Darkness' influence, he impregnated a temporarily comatose Sara, which made him the father of her child, Hope.
- The warrior of the Catholic Church. A direct descendant of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene.
Detective Patrick Gleason
- Sara's partner and boyfriend. He is of Irish decent and is a policeman. He takes care of Hope when Sara is away. He is also her sex partner, as a result of this, he is somewhat of a rival to The Darkness (Jackie Estacado) which has clearly stated his sexual/romantic feelings for Sara.
- A mysterious owner of an antiques shop, The Curator is a sage-like spectator and occasional informant. One of Dani's most trusted confidants, he knows much about The Witchblade, the other entities, and the ongoing matters surrounding The Angelus and The Darkness.
- Brother of The Curator, and just as mysterious. Unlike his brother, who tries to keep the balance intact, Tau'ma is clearly on The Darkness' side. He is an ``ally`` to The Darkness however he and Jackie have never met face to face. He can pull out darklings from his head to attack or spy on others, and wields a powerful cane with a gem-encrusted hawk head. His current location is unknown.
- Sara's daughter, who was fathered by The Darkness himself, using Jackie Estacado for the necessary "biology", which makes Hope technically the half-sister of The Witchblade himself. She is a hybrid of The Darkness and human.
- Sara's sister. She was romantically involved with Jake but the two broke up when Jake discovered that she was running drugs. Under the effects of a hope-suppressing evil, Jake later returned and shot Julie, but she survived. As of issue #130, Julie has just come out of her stay in prison for her dealings with drugs.
- Formerly a Captain of the British Special Air Service regiment, Ian subsequently joined MI5. He underwent behavioural modifications for the purpose of infiltrating The Yakuza. Afterward, he forgot his past, and became a bodyguard for Kenneth Irons. Ian has phenomenal skill, both with archaic and modern weapons, bordering on the supernatural. In issue #1, Ian kills Sara's partner, Michael Yee. For a time he underwent a great change, allowing Ian the capability to absorb great quantities of energy and even to drain energy from entities, even going so far as to temporarily host both The Witchblade and The Darkness. For a time, he wielded Excalibur, The Witchblade's twin, but it was revealed that the entity was merely a shard of The Witchblade, which quickly reabsorbed it. After he lost The Excalibur and was defeated by Sara in issue #75, Ian was taken to prison where he still is.
- A rich entrepreneur that discovered The Witchblade in Greece, Irons' age is undefined. It was eventually revealed that he was a Templar Knight of the third crusade and that he'd once drank from the Holy Grail,granting him a healing-factor and ``immortality``, establishing him as older than 800 years. However, due to his exposure to The Witchblade during an attempt to host him, Irons does not age at a normal rate, appearing to be no older than 35. Initially, Ian Nottingham served as his close and trusted bodyguard, until both Irons' and Ian's fascination with Sara Pezzini drove a wedge between them. In a failed bid to gain control of The Witchblade, Kenneth Irons lost his hand and sacrificed his wife. In issue #75, Kenneth Irons was one of two characters left in the Deathpool. As a result, Chief Joe Siry killed Irons for all of the troubles that Irons had unleashed on Sara.He is the father of Geraud Irons.
- Sara's former captain when she served at the 18th Precinct. He was the partner to Sara's dead father, Detective Vincent Pezzini, and has a tendency to dote on her as if she was his daughter. He is married to Dalia. It was revealed that Siry had a hidden agenda with Irons, which forced him to kill Vincent Pezzini in order to protect Sara.
- Jake was Sara's best friend and partner. He grew madly in love with Sara, but his feelings were unrequited. While a cult was trying to summon a ``god`` from Hell. Sara killed the devil,unfortunately another demon from Hell came to Earth and entered into Jake`s body,killing him while he was wounded defending a weakened Sara. Though he was dead he appeared in a ``coma`` so he was placed in a hospital. When he awoke in issue #100, he was possessed by the devil that had entered his body and replaced his soul. The devil was bent on destroying the world, he even began re-writing Jake`s genetic code to match his own allowing the devil to fully fuse with his new body. Sara drove the devil`s influence out of his mind, but Jake committed suicide to ensure that he could never return, sending the devil back to his home, Hell.
- Daughter of Maria, a deceased friend of Sara's. Sara promised Maria that she would keep an eye on Lisa. She makes her living as a model.
In reverse chronological order (fictional chronology, not publication dates) save non-canon and alternate realities:
- Persephani (fictitious, wielder in the far future)
- Masane Amaha (fictitious, from the Witchblade anime, near future)
- Yuri Miyazono (fictitious)
- Takeru Ibaraki (fictitious, from the Witchblade manga)
- Akane Nakiko (fictitious, from Witchblade/Dark Mind: Return of Paradox, near future)
- Debbie Santalesa (fictitious, from Dark Minds/Witchblade, near future)
- Selina Alice Lauren (fictitious, wielder, circa 2100)
- Ivy Pezzini (fictitious, Sara's daughter in a possible future)
- Danielle Baptiste (fictitious, the wielder after Sara)
- Ian Nottingham (fictitious, second male wielder. Only wielder to so far combine the Witchblade with either the Darkness or the Angelus)
- Sara Pezzini (fictitious)
- Tasya Federova (fictitious)
- Josephine Valmont (fictitious)
- Elizabeth Brontë (fictitious)
- Anne Bonny
- Roxanne Laroque (fictitious)
- Yuka-chan (fictitious)
- Joan of Arc
- Annabella Altavista
- Leung Lin Yao
- Zara, Queen of Bones (fictitious, from Dark Crossings)
- Hua Mulan
- Samantha McRenald (fictitious)
- Princess Raquel (fictitious)
- Katarina (A user before Sara Pezzini, from Medieval Spawn/Witchblade teamup)
- Una, the first bearer (fictitious)
Other identified wearers include Cathain, who is remembered as an Irish Celtic war goddess by history in the live action TV series of the Witchblade. Cathain is connected to the historical Irish Celtic King, Conchobar.
- Kimberly Tossovova (alt. reality, fictitious)
- Wonder Woman (JLA/Witchblade)(co-op universe with DC: non-canon to Top Cow or DC Universe)
- Sister Midnight (Fictitious, from Aliens/Predator/Witchblade/Darkness: MindHunter Crossover)
In reverse chronological order:
- Fiona Irish Counter Terrorist (fictious)
- John Sansman (fictitious)
- LaFemme Danette Boucher (fictitious)
- Kenneth Irons (fictitious)
Following a pilot film in August 2000, the cable network TNT premiered a television series based on the comic book series in 2001. The series was directed by Ralph Hemecker and written by Marc Silvestri (who also wrote the comic book) and J.D. Zeik. Yancy Butler starred as Sara Pezzini. Although critically acclaimed and popular with audiences, it was canceled in September 2002. Announced as a production decision, the cancellation nevertheless provoked widespread speculation that the true reason was Butler's alcohol addiction. Butler was ordered to enter rehab for alcohol addiction a year later, after being arrested for wandering intoxicated amidst traffic.
Witchblade ran for two seasons on TNT, each featuring 12 episodes. The first episode aired on June 12, 2001, and the last episode aired on August 26, 2002. On April 1, 2008, Warner Home Video announced a long-anticipated DVD release. Witchblade: The Complete Series — a seven-disc collectors set including the original made-for-TV movie, all 23 episodes of the series, and special features — was released July 29, 2008.
An upcoming American superhero film based on the series is currently in development. The film will be directed by Michael Rymer, who directed the 2002 film Queen of the Damned and various episodes of Battlestar Galactica, and written by Everett De Roche (who subsequently left the project because of creative differences with Marc Silvestri on how the movie should be). They recently hired a new writer and Top Cow is hoping to start filming late 2009 and early 2010.
The film is one of two being produced and financed back-to-back by Platinum Studios, IDG Films, and Relativity Media. The film will be produced by Arclight's Gary Hamilton and Nigel Odell, Platinum Studios' Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, and Steve Squillante of Havenwood Media. Top Cow's Marc Silvestri and Matt Hawkins will be executive producers with Platinum Studios' Rich Marincic and Greenberg Group's Randy Greenberg. Filming is scheduled to begin in September 2008, with China and Australia among the possible locations being considered for filming. Megan Fox was recently approached for the role of Sara Pezzini at the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con, but has not accepted or declined yet.
The film's website and teaser poster were released in May 2008.
In 2004 Japanese animation studio GONZO announced an anime version of Witchblade, with a subsequent manga adaptation. The anime version is considered controversial by some[who?] because GONZO has announced that the main character of the anime is of Japanese ethnicity but is not Itagaki, one of the previous bearers of the Witchblade. Instead it is a new character named Masane. This has caused some fans to cry out against what they see as a Nipponisation of the franchise. Although this series sets up an entire new story, with all new characters, it is considered canon.
The anime, which took place in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo, Japan; began broadcast during April 2006 and ran for 24 episodes (a standard series run). The lead character, and new blade wielder, is the kind-hearted Masane who, despite her good intentions, is fairly clumsy and not good around the house. After the events of an earthquake that struck her home six years before the series, "year zero", Masane has no recollection of her past prior to this date. When she comes into contact with the Witchblade, Masane also finds herself under the watchful eye of an organization called the NSWF (National Scientific Welfare Foundation), and struggles to hold onto her daughter Rihoko, whom the government is trying to take from her. Unlike the comic Witchblade, which only induces bloodlust when in a violent confrontation and creates armor, the anime Witchblade entirely transforms Masane, giving her different eyes and hair, and will ultimately destroy her body.
Likewise, a manga incarnation is being serialized, introducing a different story that features a unique plot & characters and with little similarities (except for the Witchblade and some other settings) with the anime, though the script is written by the same writer Yasuko Kobayashi (小林靖子).
Witchblade: Takeru (ウィッチブレイド丈流 Witchibureido Takeru?) introduces Takeru, who is an average Japanese high-school girl raised in a Buddhist convent by nuns. She has been experiencing recurring nightmares about the Witchblade calling out to her. This is due to the secret that the temple houses the Witchblade, sealed inside a glass box. Furthermore, her lineage keeps an unknown connection with the mystic artifact and the folklore of the Oni, hence explaining Takeru's strong attraction to the gauntlet which is locally called Oni-no-Te (鬼の手, "Hand of Oni"). Ultimately, Takeru's life suffers a drastic change when she becomes the next bearer of the Witchblade due to some circumstances that force her to randomly encounter it.
Witchblade: Takeru started serial run since March 2006 in Champion Red magazine under publisher Akita Shoten. Story by Yasuko Kobayashi (小林 靖子 Kobayashi Yasuko?) with art made by Kazuasa Sumita (隅田 かずあさ Sumita Kazuasa?), whose art and illustrations carry over an erotic style.
Moreover, at a press conference, Bandai Entertainment entered an agreement with Top Cow Productions to release an English language version of the manga. In spite of its violent and erotic content, Bandai Entertainment stated that they won't be censoring the manga.
Witchblade Lost Generation: Midori no Shōjo
Witchblade Lost Generation: Midori no Shōjo (ウィッチブレイド 碧の少女 LOST GENERATION Witchibureido Midori no Shōjo Lost Generation?) is another story published as a Japanese novel since August 2006 by Tokuma Shoten with art and illustrations done by Uno Makoto, who previously worked in the Witchblade anime as the lead art & character designer.
The main protagonist is a sickly 15-year-old Okinawan girl, Yuri Miyazono, who wields the Witchblade for her own survival. Not much specific details have been disclosed regarding the date and time when this novel takes place, besides the postscript which has explained that the novel takes place in the same timeline as the anime. It says that Yuri is the bearer who immediately precedes Masane Amaha. It also says she is the immediate successor of Takeru Ibaraki from Witchblade: Takeru.
- A parody of the witchblade, called the "Doucheblade" appears in Howard the Duck volume 2 issue 3, which was published under Marvel Comics' MAX imprint. The Doucheblade, empowered by the god/demon Pazuzu, endows the wielder with revealing and spikey armor just like the Witchblade, but also tremendously augments her bust size. The Doucheblade's metal component is uranium, however. The first wielder died of radiation poisoning, but the uranium appears to have become depleted, since its most recent user was Eleanor Roosevelt. It originally started to bond with a police woman named Suzi Pazuzu, but after a timely intervention by Dr. Bong bonded to Howard instead, whose DNA was unstable at the time, causing him to spontaneously change genders.
- In the Pazuzu entry of Marvel Zombies: The Book of Angels, Demons, & Various Monstrosities, the Doucheblade is given the alternate (and more PG-13) name of "Gub-gala-emegir," which in Sumerian roughly translates as "Cleansing Blade."
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Witchblade Teaser Poster and Site Revealed "; superherohype.com; May 26, 2008.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Official site of the 2009 feature film
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Witchblade #126. Top Cow Productions. Issue date, April 2009.
- ↑ First Born #2. 2007, Top Cow Productions.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Witchblade #120. Top Cow Productions. Issue date, August 2008.
- ↑ Witchblade #103. Top Cow Productions. Issue date, February 2007.
- ↑ Witchblade #107. Top Cow Productions. Issue date, July 2007.
- ↑ Witchblade #110. Top Cow Productions. Issue date, October 2007.
- ↑ Witchblade #117. Top Cow Productions. Issue date, May 2008.
- ↑ Josh, Grossberg (2002-09-05). ""Witchblade" Sliced by TNT". E! Online. Retrieved 2006-12-29.
- ↑ Josh, Grossberg (2003-11-24). ""Witchblade" Star Ordered to Rehab". E! Online. Retrieved 2006-12-29.
- ↑ Witchblade DVD news: Announcement for Witchblade - The Complete Series | TVShowsOnDVD.com
- ↑ Michael Rymer at the Internet Movie Database
- ↑ BD Horror News - 'Witchblade' Director and Writer Revealed!
- ↑ McClintock, Pamela (2005-12-12). "Pic trio wields Witchblade: Platinum, IDG, Relativity to finance, produce pics". Variety.
- ↑ "Witchblade sharpened for bigscreen". Variety. 2008-05-11.
- ↑ "Top Cow Announces Witchblade Manga in 2007". Anime News Network. 2006-12-12. Retrieved 2007-03-24.
- ↑ Manga Review: Witchblade ~ Takeru ~ Chapter 1
- Top Cow Witchblade page
- Unofficial Witchblade television site
- GONZO Witchblade anime site (Japanese)
- Air dates and episode guide
- Sara's Precinct
- Inside Bandai' Witchblade Manga collections
- Witchblade: Shades of Grey #1
- Witchblade #105, Witchblade: Takeru #3it:Witchblade