The mystery of the 13 Artifacts has been brewing for years and we've discovered they will play a huge role in reshaping the entire Top Cow universe.
While we've had some enjoyable art on this series, I was surprised (and pleased) to see Dale Keown here. The 13 Artifacts first were mention during Marz's run on WITCHBLADE and over the years and the build up has been worth the wait. With the fate of the universe at stake, all hope likes with...Hope, the daughter of Sara Pezzini and Jackie Estacado. Decisions have to be made and what happens is something that needs to be seen.
The thing to keep in mind is this issue is where Top Cow's 'Rebirth' takes place. It affects the entire universe. This was a plan thought of before the idea of rebooting comic universes were all over the news. What's great about this is it makes sense. It's not a firm reset. We may be just seeing the very first steps but it is definitely intriguing. Let's just say that Jackie does some things and is someone to keep an eye on. Also not only is there a bit of a twist at the end, there's actually about three.
If all that wasn't enough, there's also a back up story featuring the origin of Heart Stone by Marz and Tom Raney.
As most likely intended, there will be some questions left unanswered after reading this issue. This issue is important in knowing why the Top Cow universe will have some changes but it's not exactly the best jumping on point for new readers (being that it's part 13 of 13).
I'm a little torn with how the big change happens. There was a lot of action and suspense building up throughout this story but it's a little anticlimactic the way it was executed.
This issue changes everything. The Top Cow universe will never be the same. "Rebirth" begins here and it's done in a way that sets up the characters for new readers but there are clearly hints that older readers won't get ticked off. You can see subtle hints that this is something that will have repercussions in the months to come. Marz planted the seeds of the 13 Artifacts years ago and it's great to see it finally come together. Having Dale Keown join in to handle the art was a great treat as well. If you're a fan of Top Cow comics or thinking of taking advantage of the "Rebirth," you'll want to get this issue so you'll be prepared for the big changes.