In stores today is the inaugural issue of Top Cow's summer event miniseries Broken Trinity. Promising to have long-lasting ramifications in the Top Cow universe, the three-issue miniseries brings together the Darkness, the Witchblade and the Angelus to see the revelation that there's a new artifact and a new wielder out there. These unique artifacts are the pillars of the Top Cow universe and the strength from which those three characters draw – so to find out they're not the only ones anymore is a striking revelation for them and Top Cow fans.
Oh yeah, and did we mention someone dies?
Broken Trinity is from the same creative team as last year's First Born miniseries, writer Ron Marz and artist Stjepan Sejic, who have went on to handle the ongoing Witchblade series as the company's flagship title. Now as the pinnacle of this year's storyarc, Broken Trinity is a turning point for everyone.
Let's talk to Ron Marz for more.
Newsarama:Thanks for talking with us, Ron. If I may be so brash, I must say you know how to start out a comic…. Broken Trinity #1 begins with Vikings! What else can you tell us about this miniseries?
Ron Marz: You mean something other than it starts with Vikings? Seriously, what else could you possibly need to know?
NRAMA: Seriously. We could pack it in right now and go home for today.
But let's not. What's going on in the book, Ron?
RM: We did the First Born crossover last year, and that very much revolved around the birth of Sara Pezzini's baby. This time, the story revolves around a death. And it's a permanent death, not a "resurrected in six months" comic-book death. We have no Skrulls, no Flashes, but we do have what at least initially appear to be a Frost Giant and a fire-breathing dragon ... though appearances can be deceiving.
Broken Trinity follows the same format that First Born did last year. We have three main issues of Broken Trinity, and then three tie-in one-shots for Darkness, Angelus and Witchblade. The three main issues are written by me, with Phil Hester doing layouts and Stjepan Sejic painting over Phil's storytelling, which is making for a really nice visual mix.
The Darkness tie-in fits in between Broken Trinity #1 and #2, and is written by Phil Hester with art by Jorge Lucas. The Angelus tie-in fits between Broken Trinity #2 and #3, and is by me and Brian Stelfreeze. And then the Witchblade tie-in serves as an aftermath following Broken Trinity #3, and is by me and Nelson Blake II. You can just read Broken Trinity #1-#3 and get the whole story, or you can read the tie-ins as well and get the full experience. For the entirety, you're talking six issues and 18 bucks. That's less than you spend filling your gas tank to drive to the comic store. We were very conscious of keeping the story lean and mean, rather than one of these 37-part crossover deals where you're shelling out well over a hundred bucks.
Did I mention it starts with Vikings?
NRAMA: Vikings? Vikings!
This series promises to unearth more of the legacy of the artifacts of the Top Cow universe like the Witchblade, the Darkness and the Angelus. How does it all fit in together?
RM: Well, we already know there are 13 Artifacts in the Top Cow Universe. About half of them have been revealed, or at least named, and the other half remain a mystery. And we know that the Witchblade, Darkness and Angelus are considered the Trinity. The Darkness and The Angelus are the primal forces in the universe, the dark and the light, forever in conflict. The Witchblade is actually the offspring of the Darkness and the Angelus, and is meant to keep the peace between them.
That's what we know. What we don't know is what the remaining Artifacts are, and what might happen if they're all brought together. Broken Trinity starts to answer some of those questions.
But really, all that stuff is backdrop. The story is really about Sara Pezzini, who wields the Witchblade, and Jackie Estacado, who is The Darkness, and Celestine, who is the host for The Angelus force. It's about the two strangers who discover new Artifacts. It's about people and what happens to them.
NRAMA: This story goes into the past – do people need to read any previous Top Cow books to get up to speed?
RM: Nope. The story's constructed so that it's pretty accessible for new readers. I'm not a big fan of crossover storylines that demand the reader brings years of continuity knowledge with them. Crossovers are tentpole events, they should welcome everybody, not just preach to the choir. So Broken Trinity is accessible whether you've been reading my Witchbladerun for the last three years, or if you've never read a Top Cow book before.
This year's Free Comic Book Day issue from Top Cow was a prelude to Broken Trinity so it not only introduces some of the characters and situations from the storyline, it serves as a primer for the Top Cow Universe as a whole. There's a mini-site set up for Broken Trinity at http://www.topcow.com/brokentrinity/ and it includes the entire FCBD story. Everything a complete newbie would need to know is in there.
NRAMA: Let's talk about that new artifact to be revealed in the book. What's the story?
RM: At least one new Artifact ... and maybe even two. Part of the purpose behind the series is to add toys to the Top Cow playground. We wanted to come up with some characters and concepts that are going to be around for the long term. So by the end of Broken Trinity, we'll have put in place in place a couple of pieces that can stand on their own, and go forward and be integral parts of the Top Cow Universe. The intention is to have the readers care about these new characters just as must as they care about Sara or Jackie.
NRAMA: The trinity that the title refers to is Witchblade, The Darkness and the Angelus. Can you describe each of them from your point of view as a writer?
RM: I think the easiest mistake to make is to look at The Angelus as good and The Darkness as evil, just because they represent the dark and light. In First Born, The Darkness as embodied by Jackie ended up being almost heroic in his protection of Sara, while The Angelus was certainly willing to kill Sara and anybody else in the way. The Darkness and The Angelus are very literally cosmic forces, but they're embodied in very human, foible characters in Jackie and Celestine. I like that there are shades of grey to both of them. The Witchblade is generational, handed down to a succession of bearers through the years, and the relationship is symbiotic. The bearer influences the Witchblade just as much as the other way around.
NRAMA: Before we go, I wanted t talk big picture here. This is a continuation of sorts from last year's First Born miniseries and your work on the ongoing Witchblade. As a writer who's also played in the DC/Marvel playground with their crossover, what's it like to do it with Top Cow?
RM: Obviously the biggest difference is the sheer scope. With a Marvel or DC crossover, you're talking about a huge number of characters and a lot of history. You end up dealing with so many characters, the story can get away from being character-driven. It becomes mostly spectacle. Here I'm doing something that's a little smaller scale, without all the continuity baggage, so I can really concentrate on the characters. We still have our spectacle moments -- like Vikings -- but the stories can still be very personal to the characters. And really, if you're not making the readers care about the characters, what's the sense in doing this?