ARTIFACTS Prologue 6: The Wheel of Shadows

ARITFACTS Prologue 1: The Trinity

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.

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 6 weeks remaining until Artifacts begins.

The Void of Time

By Gretch

Twilight Alternative Staff

Now that New York is hung over from its latest boom and we’re no longer stuffing our pink cheeks with $8 pieces of shrimp, it’s surprising how remarkably few “crazies” walk the street wearing “The End Is Nigh” sandwich-boards.  Perhaps most of them gave up preaching to deaf pedestrians and took a different strategy, securing themselves a job on Wall Street to add fuel to the fire so we might finally look up from our cell phones and put down our tall-soy-double-white-chocolate-mochas and pay attention to the burning smell.

There is a rumor consistent among the most devastated stock speculators and infamous risk-takers who couldn’t open their golden parachutes before landing in a holding cell.  Many mention playing a different form of gambling.  They say they were offered split-moments of their lives back to them so on the exchange floor they could sell where in the past they bought.  And they purchased this mean toward their temporary fortunes in exchange for their souls.  Now all they can afford is to laugh about it.  Fortune was not granted.  Only a second chance was.  And they whisper about the Wheel of Shadows.

I dare all of my readers to walk into Bouley on any weekday after the Stock Exchange closes and say “Wheel of Shadows.”  Amid all of the fast talk and no-nonsense, the sweat drenched day traders on Wall Street will tip their tortoise-shell glasses to make sure you see their raised eyebrow as they slow down to slice an obscenely large bite from their slab of bleeding-rare steak.  These are men who await their doom at the Wheel of Shadows. Hellfire flickers in the gilded brass of their luxury condos.

Like money, the manipulation of time can buy people a second chance and the illusion of a better life.  But maybe time is not meant to be manipulated.  And despite our efforts, even changing history itself will refuse to give us what we want.  Bubbles burst and pyramid schemes implode.

Is there anything left worth discovering from a rereading of Dante’s Inferno?  I’m a journalist, so my Comp-Lit days are a fuzzy blur to me compared to the visceral “now” of a potential lead for a headline.  With the Inferno, however, the structure is more memorable than the content.  We’re familiar with the conceit that there are multiple circles of Hell.  And we know each circle provides a progressively more horrible fate than the previous.  But what other secrets could Hell keep locked up in the icy safety deposit box of its Ninth Circle?  Could Hell ever become full?

There is horror and there is fear in the dark.  And no place looks darker to us than space.  And no place in space is darker than a black hole.  If we could somehow capture the density of a black hole and manipulate a fraction of its power into a tool, nobody knows what havoc could be wreaked.  But who is to say that power doesn’t exist?

I’m not insisting that we assume a George A. Romero Dawn of the Dead-style paranoia and arm ourselves for an imminent zombie uprising.  My query is based on a solid misinterpretation of Dark Energy and its ability to manipulate spacetime.  Compared to the unimaginable horror of being absorbed into the mass of a black hole, the medieval demons painted by Hieronymus Bosch look especially corny with their multiple pairs of red eyes and bat-wings and bison-fur.  Stanley Kubrick couldn’t imagine what spacetime horror would look like, so instead we, as a 21st century audience, are left the impotent and disappointing climax of cheesy ‘70s camera and editing effects to an otherwise startling portrayal of the terror and loneliness and incomprehensibility of space travel.

Hell and outer space go hand in hand more than we would think.  If you are damned and condemned to Hell, you languish there for eternity.  Space would seem to extend for an eternity as well.  But physical cosmologists know our universe has boundaries and hypothesize various scenarios for the ultimate fate of the universe.  Would then the eternity of Hell also have a finite duration – even if existing in a dimensional plane separate from our world? Hell is the universe, it seems.

I can’t answer these questions; much less hold my end of the conversation with any second-year astronomy undergraduate at Colombia University.  Heck, I can’t even figure out why pizza and bagels taste horrible once I take a trip across the George Washington Bridge!  All I can believe is that when it comes to Nostradamus and talk about 2012, is that it’s best to look straight up and straight down simultaneously.

Even time can lose its way in the dark.

Want to know more about the Wheel of Shadows?  Pick up Angelus #4 next week!  Come back next week to find out more about the different Artifacts and their bearers!  Until then, pick up Magdalena #2, Witchblade Origins Volume 1, Witchblade Volume 7 and The Darkness Accursed Volume 3, all out this week.  Witchblade #136, Darkness #84, Broken Trinity: Pandora’s Box #2, and Artifacts #0 out now!

The Artifacts are almost all revealed. Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks!

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