Written by Jenna Jameson and Christina Z. and Drawn by Mukesh Singh
Published by
Virgin Comics

Jezzerie Jaden has a bit of a problem. Since she was a young girl, she has been haunted by visions of horrible creatures, surrounding her, warring with one another, and generally being quite scary. But as she’s gotten older, and become an adult, they haven’t gone away. In fact, they’ve gotten much worse, to the point where she seeks the help of a “theological responsiveness researcher,” who hooks her up to some machines to get a picture of what’s in Jezzerie’s head. Unfortunately, all that does is unleash the full depth of Jezz’s problems: the demons and monsters are real, she seems to be able to manifest super strength, a sword that grows from her arm, and a new hair color, not to mention warrior skills way beyond her depth. Now she’s about to learn the truth about her real nature, and it isn’t going to be pretty.

I sat in on Jenna’s press conference at Comic-Con last year, and I think I was one of the few people in the audience who approached this project with absolutely no skepticism. No businesswoman as shrewd as her was going to go into this book with anything less than 100% effort, and I expected it to be a success. However, even if it is a sales success, it isn’t quite fully-baked yet on the story side and needs some developmental work.

The pieces themselves are fine: Jezzerie comes across as a genuinely decent and befuddled young woman trying to cope with a massive change in her life and not go batshitinsane; the truth behind her identity gives the story plenty of room to breathe; and Mukesh Singh’s art is in-fucking-credible. Never has his stuff looked this good. Full marks for being one of the best looking art turns in recent memory. But Christina Z’s script doesn’t quite match up with the story; the dialogue comes across kinda flat, there’s little in the way of zest in Jezzerie’s words, and you never get the fullest sense of panic you’d expect from a young woman thrust into her position. And it takes a bit too long to get down to the revelation of who she is, making 90% of the story basically about a girl with a sword growing out of her arm- ergo, WITCHBLADE-lite, Z’s former stomping grounds.

Plenty of time to fix these sorts of things, of course, and ultimately, sales success on this one has nothing to do with the individual issues. It’s all about the collection on this one.

Marc Mason