An American comic book series published by Top Cow
, from 1995 to present. It centers around Sara Pezzini, a detective and the current wielder of the Witchblade. This supernatural, sentient weapon has bonded to various women through history, such as Cleopatra and Joan of Arc. While Sara struggles to master the powerful weapon and fend off those who would use it for evil, she also tries to maintain a personal life. Pezzini and her weapon first appeared in the one-shot Cyblade/Shi
#1 (1995), which featured a crossover between two previously established heroines.
The Witchblade itself is an ancient, conscious, and intelligent weapon
with supernatural origins. It is one of thirteen artifacts of such a type (of which five have been named so far), and the offspring of The Darkness
and the Angelus (the darkness
and the light, respectively). The Witchblade is a masculine aspect, designed to balance with a female wielder, but an unworthy user who tries to wield it will lose her arm. When a worthy host is found, it forms a symbiotic relationship with her, allowing her to hear it. When activated, it expands over the user's body, shredding clothes and replacing them
with armor in direct proportion to the immediate threat
. It can also form weapons, like swords, darts, and grapples, and it can be used in such diverse situations as picking locks or healing injuries. It can reanimate the dead, show the user scenes of great trauma, and allow the user to experience memories of past users.
In the First Born
miniseries, the Witchblade split into two parts, one wielded by Sara and the other by her "understudy" Danielle Baptiste. This later turned out to be a really bad idea, and Sara is currently wielding the reunified Witchblade. Danielle went on to serve as the host of the Angelus
As of issue #150 of the series, following the general reorganization of her universe following the Artifacts
plot, Sara quit the NYPD following a (frankly long overdue) investigation by Internal Affairs, and moved to Chicago to pursue a career as a private investigator. This followed a switch in writers, as Ron Marz left the book after several years and was replaced by Hack/Slash's
Marz has since returned to the monthly Witchblade
book, in a new arc that finds Sara, two years later
, as the new sheriff of a small town in upstate New York.
In addition to the original comic, Witchblade has also been adapted into an anime
, centering around Amaha Masane from the far future, and a live action television series
This Comic contains examples of:
- Ambiguously Bi: Sara and Lara Croft of all people.
- Anti-Hero: Sara Pezzini is a Type III.
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Cleopatra and Joan of Arc, among others, also wielded the Witchblade.
- Breast Plate: Witchblade was the ultimate example of this trope throughout the 90s. Recent artists have made attempts at giving Sarah armor with more coverage.
- If you like to know, it now looks like a semi-form-fitting silver and gold bio-mess that fully covers everything, more like the Darkness's armor rather than a metal thong.
- Lampshaded in the new Artifacts arc: "What about you?" "I'm wearing ARMOR, not a bikini. What do YOU think?" Especially ironic coming from someone who essentially did wear a bikini for the better part of a decade (and still does on the occasional cover).
- There's also the fact that it is capable of shifting instantly to respond to threats. This includes being able to form a bullet-deflecting helmet in the time between the bullet being fired and it reaching Sara.
- Break the Cutie: Lisa.
- Church of Happyology: The Path of Prosperity.
- Clingy MacGuffin/Clingy Costume
- Clothes Make the Superman
- Clothing Damage: Not entirely necessary, according to one retcon - the Witchblade is just a pervert.
- Covers Always Lie: In current issues of the series, Sara has enough control over the Witchblade's powers that it rarely shreds her clothing and usually manifests as a nearly-impenetrable second skin, as opposed to the chitinous bikini she's known for. The cover artists frequently do not take this into account, to the point where an uninformed observer could be forgiven for thinking Witchblade was an out-and-out adult comic.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive
- Cross Over: With many other Top Cow series, most notably The Darkness, for obvious reasons.
- Also with the Tomb Raider comics, for other sort of obvious reasons.
- In issue #92, Sara goes on a vision quest through the lives of past wielders of the Witchblade. The final "wielder" she encounters is the goddess Dawn, who claims to be Sara's mother ("I'm mother to you and so many others...").
- Unusually for comic book crossovers, the events of the Marvel crossover Unholy Union are apparently canon, at least in the Top Cow universe. (Dani refers to it in passing during First Born.)
- Cursed with Awesome: Sara has never wanted anything other than to be a good cop, just like her father was. The Witchblade has saved her life multiple times, gives her healing powers and general bullet resistance, and has habitually put her into conflict with forces that she would be happier not knowing about, and which she struggled to have to explain to the rest of the NYPD.
- Dark Age: Pezzini was a typical early '90s "bad girl" archetype (despite being a Lawful Good cop) in the beginning.
- Dark Age of Supernames
- Dating Catwoman
- Dark Is Not Evil: Kinda. The Darkness user is a lot nicer nowadays (thanks to the game), but the Darkness itself is an ass.
- Subverted between "First Born" and "War of the Witchblades," where Sarah reclaims half of the Witchblade from Dani after Hope is born. Only, it's the half tat is the Darkness-lite, and it starts to drive her literally crazy, leading to the aforementioned war.
- Empathic Weapon
- Fanservice: At an average rate of 3.8 panels per page.
- Fusion Dance: All three variants.
- Gothic Punk: Played with. New York City is shiny on the surface, but with a chewy evil center.
- Heroic Host: Sara for the Witchblade.
- Hybrid Power: The Witchblade itself is a living weapon that has been used by females, and some males, over the generations. It was the offspring of the Darkness and Angelus. It has the power to create a blade, fire energy beams, create wings for flight, and can cover the host in body armor, most of the time. It also doesn't have any of its parents' weaknesses; The Darkness can't function in light, while the Angelus can't fight in the dark.
- Leprechaun: Encountered (and stomped on) in Medieval Spawn/Witchblade #2 (not one issue of each, a single crossover).
- Light Is Not Good: The Angelus. Lawful, yes. Nice, no.
- Subverted in "War of the Witchblades" and its aftermath: Dani's half of the Witchblade was the half spawned from the Angelus, while Sarah's "dark" half drove her mad and needed to be stopped; Dani also becomes the new Angelus, and seems to be aiming to try and keep subverting this trope.
- Magic Pants: Inexperienced users of the Witchblade tend to find their clothes shredded during a transformation (see Clothing Damage, above), while more experienced users can make it transform their own clothes instead. The result tends to be varying degrees of Stripperiffic regardless.
- Mundane Utility: Being a superstrong cosmic warrior comes in darn handy for moving furniture...
- Sara always has a corkscrew when she needs one.
- New York City Cops
- Nineties Anti-Hero
- Not Wearing Tights: Or much of anything at all, really...
- Off with His Head!: In Tales of the Witchblade #6, Cecilia's lover Gerald gets beheaded. Samantha, the Witchblade of that era, was not fast enough to save him despite standing near him and the executioner.
- Only the Chosen May Wield: The Witchblade will eat your arm if you're not a worthy user (or if you're a man unless you are Ian Nottingham or Gerald Irons who have both been wielders of the Witchblade).
- Out-of-Clothes Experience: Of course.
- Public Domain Artifact: Excalibur shows up as a male counterpart to the Witchblade.
- Shapeshifter Baggage: Just where does the Witchblade get the extra mass to change from its bracelet configuration to a full suit of armour?
- Stripperiffic: And how!
- The Magdalena deserves special mention. She's the distant granddaughter of Christ and Mary Magdaline, and is raised and commanded by the Catholic Church itself. She used to dress like this.◊
- Urban Fantasy
- Wham Shot: At the end of part two of Absolute Corruption it shows part of the Witchblade on the arm of Katarina Godliffe.
- Yin-Yang Bomb: Witchblade has elements of both the Darkness and Angelus, therefore acting as a balance keeper between the two.
- The above trope was the result of the Darkness being sick of the balance.