Top Cow has been running a Talent Hunt for two years running now, and this is the third year of them doing it yet again. They’ve found some really incredible creators in the last two years as a result of this search, as evidenced by the fact that the winners have had their stories and their art printed in Artifacts series, which kind of started off as a long-ish mini-series or such, but then went on to become a mammoth ongoing that has seen some big moments since Jackie Estacado and Sara Pezzini changed the whole world.
And now, this past week, we had The Magdalena: Seventh Sacrament #1, which is written and drawn by creators found during last year’s talent hunt, Tini Howard and Aileen Oracion. What this issue, which I think might be a one-off actually, does is explore the origins of the warriors known as The Magdalena, daughters of Christ who are chosen to become guardian angels over the Earth and fight the dark enemies of the Church everywhere. It is a fairly interesting story in most respects, with some good art, but it is also a bit too “freshman” at times, with some rather rough edges.
This issue is pretty much the origins of the entire Magdalena program with the Church. Tini Howard guides the reader through the many long years of successive Magdalenas, showing how it all started off and then how it was… solidified. And the interesting thing here is that Tini uses none other than Sara Pezzini, Top Cow Universe’s leading lady, to tell this story. The issue kicks off when Sara brings some really, really old manuscripts for Cardinal Everett Ramos in New York City, manuscripts that detail the origins of the Magdalenas as warriors and defenders of the Faith. And so we get all the good stuff.
This was a pretty interesting story, but to be honest, I was expecting something with much more punch to it. Tini tells a good story to be sure, but we launch it into in the middle of the proceedings and there’s no connection drawn between the first Magdalena and Jesus Christ. IIRC, in the Ron Marz-penned The Magdalena mini-series, the origins were explained as the Magdalenas being the female descendants of Jesus Christ. But we don’t see any of that.
Plus, there’s a bit of non-explanation in that the story moves so quickly that there’s little time for the reader to get caught up on things and really settle down with things. That ends up hurting the story more than it should have, but at the same time, I kinda liked this story. It isn’t often that we get to see origin stories like this with Top Cow, so it is kind of refreshing, and then, I loved the inclusion of Sara Pezzini too. Having the Witchblade’s bearer be a guest-star sure is a great kicker.
Aileen Oracion is the artist here with Ross Campbell on colours and Troy Peteri on letters. The art was almost a deal-breaker for me at first, since Aileen’s portrayal of Sara and some of the other characters really rubbed me wrong way. But then, once the story started flowing, I got lost in the ride, and by the end, it all turned out to be good enough, for now. A bit too much of the minimalist, with rough edges on the characters and the backgrounds, but the big action scenes make up for some of that.
A decent enough issue, and I’ll admit that I’m kind of curious for more too.