Top Cow is an imprint of Image Comics that was started by Marc Silverstri (Cyberforce) and their titles featured many fan favorite artists such as Michael Turner, Brandon Peterson, David Finch, and Joe Benitez. Top Cow comic titles were known for the longest time as being THE place for fans of hyper stylized art, with the characters all looking like super models. But for the last three or so years, Top Cow, in addition to still having a very stylized art style in their books, they now have writers on their titles, such as Phil Hester, David Hine, and Ron Marz, who are bringing more substance and richer characterizations to the Top Cow universe.
Consider one of their newest titles, Artifacts, which will be a thirteen issue series uniting a lot of their characters and titles. Artifacts is written by Ron Marz and drawn by Michael Broussard, with inks by Rick Basaldua and Sal Regla. Witchblade's daughter, Hope, gets kidnapped, and this coupled with a villainous quest to unite the thirteen artifacts of power from different characters within the Top Cow universe, serves as a great introduction of what the Top Cow universe is about. A person could read the first issue of Artifacts, without having ever read a Top Cow title previously and in addition to giving a new reader everything they need to know, also packs a lot of story and intrigue in its twenty-eight pages.
Another Top Cow character, Magdalena, also recently was relaunched as an on-going title, and like Artifacts, a person doesn't have to know anything about Magdalena before reading the first issue, because writer, Ron Marz, brings the reader up to speed and by the last page you'll know if Magdalena is going to be the kind of book you'll want to read regularly. Magdalena is a protector and warrior for the Catholic Church, but one doesn't have to have a religious background to enjoy this series, and like Witchblade, Magdalena is a legacy character, meaning there have been previous women that were their time period's Magdalena. The art by Nelson Blake II and Sal Regla has a stylized quality to it, but it doesn't have the house style that one usually thinks represents a Top Cow book (not that that's a bad thing).
Velocity is a speedster character (think of a female version of The Flash), and is also written by Ron Marz. The first issue of this new Velocity series was a lot of fun (I can't decide if I like Velocity or Magdalena more) and Ron Marz is really good at thinking outside of the box in regards to what it would be like to have speed powers.
I also read a recent issue of Witchblade (issue #131) and Angelus #1, both also written by Ron Marz (what does he think Top Cow is - CrossGen!? - grin) and while they weren't really my speed, I thought they had great art by Stjepan Sejic and I think that people who liked the fantasy comics Crossgen did, would like these titles. I highly recommend people take another look at Top Cow comics, especially if you haven't picked up one in a while (or ever), I think you'll be surprised at what you see and read (I was, pleasantly!).
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