Review by Frank Plowright
Prevailing is certainly the case of the cover giving you the story. Pretty well most of it, actually. Luscious, pouting police officer Sara Pezzini has a symbiotic relationship with the Witchblade, a powerful weapon that regularly removes most of her clothes, decorates her in fetish armour and lets her set about those who want to take it from her. Except in Family Ties Ian Nottingham did, despite it previously being established that only women could wear the Witchblade, so contradicting a fundamental principle of the series.
Primary artist Michael Turner sets the appropriate tone with his sample art showing Sara in something she just threw on for a day at the office. The plotting team of Christina Z, David Wohl and Turner then bring Prevailing back on track by introducing the guy who once sang for a rock band before quitting to devote his efforts to ending the Vietnam War, which led to the Nobel Peace Prize. That done and dusted, he decamped to Hollywood where he won an Oscar for playing himself in his life story. Yet D. Gavin Taylor believed he had so much more to offer mankind, so he founded a church. He’s been away for three years and no-one’s seen him, so perhaps he became the first man to walk on Mars, or developed the cure for cancer.
Yeah. It’s very, very silly, but presented as if credible. After establishing Martin, the creators return to Sara, where the page turns from a conversation with her partner, to her chained up in the sewers beneath New York. There’s no good reason for this, so possibly it’s just something Turner wanted to draw. Sara’s personality and reactions change according to what any individual story page needs, as do those of others, and to start Prevailing it’s her partner’s turn to display completely uncharacteristic behaviour.
Attempts to dredge up something positive come to almost nothing. The best that can be pointed to is Martin being a powerful man abusing his position years before the real world caught up. Prevailing doesn’t even have the saving grace of all being Turner’s art like previous volumes. He draws some pages of the first few chapters, all of the last, and some layouts for the other artists who attempt to imitate his style, with varying results. Jason Pearson’s by far the best of the other artists with his scene of Sara’s lunch hour, yet in the same chapter Randy Green takes the objectification of women to a new low. Whoever was in charge was impressed enough to have him appointed the regular series artist. Turner’s final chapter and series swansong reminds how well he can draw, but it’s way too little, way too late.
Very little makes sense about Witchblade during this era, but as long as enough people believed the art was great there was no incentive for anything to change. However, until the Witchblade Compendium was issued in 2008, gathering, god help us, the first fifty issues, no further graphic novels continued the series.