Top Cow's ARTIFACTS Prologue 9: The HEARTSTONE


The World Doesn’t End in 2012.  It Ends in 2011:

Countdown to Artifacts

Newsarama Note: This is the official prologue to the upcoming series Artifacts. The team at Top Cow Productions brings us an exclusive inside look at each of the mystical Artifacts, as Sara Pezzini, Danielle Baptiste, and Jackie Estacado give their unique perspectives on the sources of power. Come back each week for more information on the other Artifacts.

Part 1 began with the Trinity looking at their own sources of power, and the exclusive first two pages of Artifacts #1, and can be read by clicking here.

Part 2 had the Trinity evaluating Finn and Glori, the Ice and Fire bearers.

Part 3, they took a deeper look at Angelus, discuss the mysterious curator, and introduce the one chronicling these conversations.

Part 4, it's the religious artifact, the Spear of Destiny, and its wielder, the Magdalena, descendant of Jesus the Christ.

Part 5, The Blood Sword, the first Artifact wielded by someone who is already an Artifact bearer takes the focus.

With more than half of the Artifacts down, we turn in Part 6 to the Wheel of Shadows.

Part 7 belongs to The Rapture... and yes, that's as potentially bad as it sounds.

Part 8 explores the Coin of Solomon, and the legend of the man behind the Artifact.

Part 9 features a new Artifact, which has yet to be seen, the Heart Stone.

Separately, 13 Artifacts guide the fate of the universe.  Together, 13 Artifacts will end the universe.

This summer, Top Cow Productions, Inc. kicks off the 13-issue world shattering event series with Artifacts #1.  The first chapter, presented by writer Ron Marz and artist Michael Broussard, marks the beginning of the path that will forever alter the course of the Top Cow Universe.

Reporting from the underbelly of New York for the weekly Twilight Alternative is Gretchen Fullmer, byline “Gretch.”  She is the go-to-girl for late-breaking news if you believe in Angels, Demons, or Homicide Detectives who bear supernatural gauntlets.  Her dedication to unearthing the news that the other scandal tabloids deem too fantastic and unbelievable for print keeps her in the know of the forces that truly guide this world.

There are 3 weeks remaining until Artifacts begins.

A Blackened Heart of Stone

By Gretch

Twilight Alternative Staff

There is an Artifact known as the Heart Stone.  But the Heart Stone is not some corny plastic bead glued to a ring that you’d find in a cereal box.  It won’t offer sloppy kisses to lovelorn teenagers wearing black nail polish or bring pink teddy bears stuffed with Chiclets to children in the Pediatric Leukemia ward at Sloan-Kettering.  It won’t even inspire disaffected Gen-Xers to recycle via a thirty minute Saturday morning cartoon show.  It is the key to reading the currency of our souls.  But despite that vague power, what alarms me is that the Heart Stone seems to be the Artifact the CIA has most aggressively zeroed in on obtaining.  The government spooks have guaranteed that the Heart Stone has the least amount of recorded – even rumored – information circulating about it.

Who remembers Lieutenant Commander John Francis Dante?  Dante was a highly regarded Navy SEAL, decorated with the Bronze Star, the Navy Good Conduct Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal, to name a few.  But in a story fit for Dateline, the rape and murder of Dante’s wife and daughter during one of his deployments drove him to commit double murder. 

Several years back, Dante was a regular headline on the evening news.  After hunting down and abducting one of his wife and daughter’s murderers in Atlantic, Dante beat him within an inch of his life.  He stopped just short of killing him to guarantee that he wouldn’t be dead by the time he made it through the Holland Tunnel where he ultimately cut the man’s throat in front of the New York security checkpoint.  The federal punishment he received for carrying a man across state lines to kill him only enabled Dante access to another of his wife’s murderers: Pauly Rupe, who was serving time at Wilson P. Underwood State Penitentiary for a failed armed robbery.  Pauly was dead within a week of Dante’s transfer to the facility, his body discovered hanging from the exposed piping in a laundry supply closet from the elastic torn from his inmate uniform.

Mr. Black

Dante exhibited himself as a man of no remorse and was destined to idle the remaining years of a bitter life on Death Row.  But then he disappeared.

Anamnesis is the loss of forgetfulness.  It is also defined as the remembrance of events from a previous life.  As much as the world is starting to groggily rub its eyes and glance at the fire it has surrounded itself with, the world is not waking up fast enough.  Perhaps the ultimate gesture of love and devotion Dante displayed to his wife was his black heart.  He was a man who so ruthlessly refused to move past the murder of his family that he destroyed his own life.  And that is where things begin to get interesting.

Thanks to Freedom of Information, most of the declassified documents with Dante’s name not blacked out in them are completely blacked out everywhere else.  But rumor among the inmate population at Underwood is of the general consensus that Dante was literally sent on a mission to Hell.  Convenient, because readers following my previous articles already know Hell seems to be the place where the universe stores all of the mystic Artifacts.  Whether or not Dante was actually deployed to Hell remains a mystery.  All we know is he never made it back, wherever he went.

Lucky for me, I can guess what Dante was sent to look for: the Heart Stone.  Reoccurring mention of the “Jerusalem Portal,” “Mr. Black,” “key,” and “Heart Stone” in the fragmented declassified files on Dante give me enough information to run with.

I doubt I would have even heard of the Heart Stone had Dante’s name not come up through my research into the Rapture Artifact. While the Rapture is responsible for granting hope or bringing despair, the Heart Stone is noted to work as an accessory, bringing its wielder the ability to reveal true character.  I know, it sounds just like a variation on Lynda Carter’s Lasso of Truth.  But to wield the Rapture without having the ability to see if the true character of mankind is worthy of salvation is to leave the fate of mankind up to the indiscriminant whims of any flawed and myopic individual.  Again, all doom and gloom scenarios here.  But since less is known about the Heart Stone than what is understood about the Rapture, I wouldn’t be so sure to declare the Heart Stone an accessory to the Rapture so much as it is its antithesis.

    Be wary of where you place your allegiances, readers.


Want to know more about The Heart Stone?  Pick up Witchblade #137 out soon!  Come back next week to find out more about the different Artifacts and their bearers!  Until then, run – don’t walk – to get your hands on Magdalena #2, Witchblade Origins Volume 1, Witchblade Volume 7 and The Darkness Accursed Volume 3, all out now!  Angelus #4, Darkness #84, Broken Trinity: Pandora’s Box #2, and Artifacts #0 also available!

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