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by Alison H. Mayer

Top Cow continues its free relaunch of "Cyber Force" with issue 5!

Velocity goes head-to-head with her mother as the CDI corporation begins to execute members of the Cyber Force...Will Velocity stand aside her compatriots and accept death, or will she choose a more subtle end at the hands of her mother?! Check out 'Cyber Force' #5 to find out:

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Top Cow is continuing to release the first 5 issues of the great new "Cyber Force" run each month for free and we've got four issues for you to read right now!

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Top Cow is continuing its very cool policy of releasing the first 5 issues of the great new "Cyber Force" run each month for free with "Cyber Force" #3, and we've got it here for you to read. For free.

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Top Cow is continuing its very cool policy of releasing the first 5 issues of the great new "Cyber Force" run each month for free with "Cyber Force" #2, and we've got it here for you to read. For free.

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Back in July we told you about Top Cow's interesting strategy of relaunching its "Cyber Force" title by giving the first 5 issues away for free. In order to fund the endeavor, Top Cow turned to the indie artist's new best friend, Kickstarter and crushed its goal of $75,000 by raking in over $117,000.

Now the first issue has hit and Top Cow gave us the chance to share with you guys.

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Top Cow describes their plan to give away, via print and digital, the first five issues of the rebooted 90s classic "Cyber Force" -- using Kickstarter as partial funding -- as "unprecedented and revolutionary." And they might have a point. From their Kickstarter page:

"By funding this project, you will help Top Cow (along with comic shop owners in the US, Canada & around the world, Diamond Comic Distributors, our digital partners, and others) produce and give away the first full five issue story arc of the brand-new Cyber Force full color ongoing series. Sure, we could have done this the tried-and-true method and given our awesome hardcore fans a Cyber Force series that they’d be excited about, but we saw an opportunity to change how mainstream comics are produced and reach both new readers and lapsed fans. This isn’t just about making an amazing, action-packed comic series. It’s about changing the landscape of mainstream U.S. comics!" Read More...


Though Top Cow President Matt Hawkins is no stranger to writing comic books, a multi-issue series from the formerly prolific creator has been rare. Now, though, he's back, with a new book called Think Tank launching in August with artist Rahsan Ekedal. The four issue miniseries shows what happens when one slacker scientist in a military think tank decides he maybe doesn't want to make weapons anymore.

Steeped in accessible science, humor, and a healthy dose of action, Think Tank is a fun book we were excited to chat with Hawkins about. And you should be, too! So read on:

MTV Geek: Why was Think Tank the right book to get you to return to writing?

Matt Hawkins: I'm a science nerd with a few degrees that I don't use.  I love science and have a lot of friends who work in think tanks.  I've wanted to get back into writing comics for years, but this was the right project for me since I think I found a good voice for the character who has something relevant and interesting to say.  This book is sort of my commentary on American so called exceptionalism and the military industrial complex that fuels our government and military.  I was a military brat and grew up on military bases during the Cold War so I have a unique perspective on all this. Read More...

This week, Top Cow releases the first trade paperback featuring Hack/Slash writer Tim Seeley's take on the Witchblade, with Witchblade: Rebirth, Vol. 1: Unbalanced Pieces. Though you may have gotten a peek at the story on Free Comic Book Day, the trade expands on the myth of the Witchblade, as well as transplanting its wielder Sara Pezzini to Chicago for a healthy helping of Deep Dish Horror! That's our words, not Seeley's.

Anyway, we chatted with Seeley about the book, his take on whether Witchblade is just cheesecake, and the possibility of Sara Pezzini meeting Cassie Hack:

MTV Geek: So this week sees the release of the first Witchblade trade... Looking back on it now, did you accomplish what you wanted to with your first arc on the book? I imagine there was a bit of nerves playing into there, coming into a storied franchise like this - or not?

Tim Seeley: Yeah, for sure. Fortunately, I have these sort of blinders doing stuff like this. I'm always aware of the pressure, the rabid fans, the potential for massive failure in the eyes of people who I respect... but, at least while I'm working, I pretty much never think about it. It's not until maybe a day or two after a book comes out that I go "S**T! I should've been nervous about that!" and then I collapse into a gibbering, trembling mass on the ground and can only be consoled by Mallo Cups.

Geek: Let’s talk about the first arc a bit, which really hit the grossness/sexiness dichotomy that I think is at the heart of any great Witchblade story... What was your idea here? What was the thought process?

TS: My thought was that we had to hit the ground running. Though there was a larger back story going on due to the effect of ARTIFACTS, the focus had to be establishing a new city with it's many new characters and a new vibe, and doing it fast. I think Ron's run really defined the character, and he built her up before taking her apart. I wanted to write about a Sara who was looking at a life in pieces, trying to figure out how they went back together. I think Witchblade has always been a sort of dark urban fantasy story with elements of horror and superhero genres, so I cooked up a tale I thought drew from all of those things. I first read Witchblade as a teenager, so I know how important the sexiness is to the story, and wanted to make sure I didn't avoid it!

Geek: Who is Sara Pezzini, to you? Other than a cop, and the bearer of the Witchblade, what makes her such a unique and enduring character?

TS: Sara is first a foremost a survivor. No matter what situation she's in, she just takes a deep breath, and figures out how to get through it. She's kind of zen that way. And, I think most importantly, she's a very moral person. To Sara, there's good and bad. She doesn't think of thinks in terms of moral grey areas, and she rarely doubts herself.  Read More...

Free Comic Book Day is Saturday May 5, 2012 and we've got an exclusive extended preview of Top Cow's offering!

Witchblade: Unbalanced Pieces is the debut of Sara Pezzini's new caretaker, Hack/Slash creator Tim Seeley and according to Top Cow, the prefect jumping-on point for new readers.

With a brand new creative team and a fresh new direction, now is the time for new and lapsed readers to try out Witchblade! Since the events of Artifacts, Sara Pezzini's entire life has been altered in immeasurable ways. Not the least of which is she's living in a new city and has a new career, but one thing remains constant - the Witchblade. A mysterious, ancient Artifact which often takes the form of a powerful gauntlet and serves a magnet for all things supernatural. In this Free Comic Book Day edition, fans will get a look at the first complete story, "Unbalanced Pieces," by the new creative team Tim Seeley (Hack/Slash, Bloodstryke) and Diego Bernard (The Man With No Name). This issue serves as a perfect introduction so readers can either pick up the new trade collection or dive into Witchblade #156!

Click the image below to read the exclusive preview:
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The biggest question going into Dynamite and Top Cow’s new crossover series Witchblade/Red Sonja, which brings modern day cop Sara Pezzini together with barbarian Red Sonja is: does the title pass the Bechdel Test? Do the bearer of the Witchblade, and the least clothed warrior of all time actually talk to each other, and not about men? Happily, the answer is yes... Though they do fight a big old snake monster, so take that as you will.

Okay, glibness aside (for probably half a sentence), whatever has been done with the characters over the years, I think we can all accept that both Witchblade and Red Sonja started off as cheesecake, pure and simple. Over time, writers like Ron Marz (Witchblade), and Brian Reed and Mike Oeming (Red Sonja) have transcended the origins of each title, and made the characters something special and unique. There’s a problem, though, and that’s at the end of the day, the Witchblade still rips all of Pezzini’s clothes off when she puts it on, and Red Sonja is dressed in what could generously be called two bicycle chains. Read More...

The Darkness is not finished with Jackie Estacado and we're not done with our Twitter Giveaways! This week, we've got a darkly awesome prize pack to celebrate the release of 2K's sequel to the smash-hit Darkness video game! Read More...

2012 might be the best time to become a new Top Cow fan, just in time for its 20th anniversary. The company and its core titles -- Witchblade, The Darkness, and Artifacts -- are headed for a new era called, appropriately enough, "Rebirth." MTV Geek chatted with Top Cow publisher Filip Sablik to get the scoop.

MTV Geek: Witchblade and The Darkness are entering a new era on 2012 -- why is this the best time for new readers to hop on these titles?

Filip Sablik: I think you hit the nail on the head there, it is a new era for both character and the Top Cow Universe itself. It's something we've grouped together under the heading of REBIRTH. The REBIRTH initiative evokes both the literal rebirth the TCU is undergoing after the world-changing Artifacts event, but also the rebirth each of the titles are undergoing creatively. With Witchblade 151, Tim Seeley and Diego Bernard are offering up a ground level entry point for new readers by giving Sara a new status quo. Sara is starting a new life in a new city with a new job, so new readers will be discovering what her life is like at the same time as longtime readers are. The Darkness, beginning in issue 101, will offer up a similar departure from what longtime readers know when David Hine and Jeremy Haun take over. You really don't need to have read anything prior to these issues because it's a whole new world.

Geek: Reflecting on ithe publisher's 20th anniversary, why are Top Cow comics still so relevant to today's readers?

FS: Great question. We're telling stories that appeal to not only traditional superhero fans, but readers from outside of comics. The person who watches Fringe is much more likely to get pulled into Witchblade than The Avengers. The person watching Boardwalk Empire or American Horror Story should be able to make a quicker connection with The Darkness than Batman in my mind. I think because we focus on genre material - procedural, horror, action adventure - and our characters tend to be grounded with real names, spending most of their times in street clothes, and are the anomaly in their world rather than the norm. Readers get something they don't get in many other comics, which is actual change. Superhero comics are about the illusion of change, but in our titles characters grow, evolve, and actually change. Top Cow also offers up an alternative to the Big Two, with a shared universe that gives fans that soap-operatic quality we all love, but in a much more accessible fashion. I don't think it can be over-stated - we give fans an entire world of stories in three or four series. Read More...


Talking to Witchblade/Red Sonja writer Doug Wagner, it's clear he knows he's working against a template, here. The Top Cow/Dynamite crossover is bucking against decades of "they fight, then they team up" cross-company stories, and he's looking to do something a little different with his leads, pitting them against a common threat across their respective eras without falling into storytelling traps that it would be so easy to write his way into.

Here's the synopsis:

Red Sonja, the She-Devil with a Sword, pursues a cannibalistic monstrosity into the heart of a dead, black mountain. Meanwhile, Sara Pezzini, modern day bearer of the Witchblade and NYPD Detective, investigates the ghastly death of a Catholic Priest. Join Dynamite Entertainment and Top Cow Productions as they bring two of comics most celebrated heroines together in one terrifying tale of loss and redemption.

We got a few questions over to Wagner by e-mail recently about the project, working with these two characters, and teaming with artist Cezar Razek to get it told.
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Top Cow opens up their 2011 season of voting where you get choose which of the pilot books will get to continue beyond their first issue.
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I'm not going to lie: I was so itching to use a title that riffed on something like, "They fight, then team up," but then Witchblade/Red Sonja writer Doug Wagner took the wind right out of my sails during the course of the announcement from Top Cow/Dynamite:

"Let's get this out of the way right now, this is NOT your typical crossover," says writer Doug Wagner. "There's no time traveling, no merging of universes, no soul swapping, and no messages in a bottle. The first issue won't have the two heroes fighting against each other until they figure out who the real villain is. If that's what you're here for, you've come to the wrong place. WitchBlade/Red Sonja #1 is the beginning of a grisly trial for both characters. Red Sonja and Sara Pezzini are about to plummet into despair and hopelessness, both physically and emotionally. Their beliefs and courage will be tested, and it will take more than just either heroine brandishing their fabled weapons to overcome this threat. Humanity as they know it is at risk. And if one fails, they both fail."

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