Monday, September 1, 2008

Super-Powered Prose: Witchblade Talons

I picked this one up at my local Half Price Books (to which I suggest anyone in the area of one immediately go check out for their awesome selection of old goodies). It came in a two book “combo” with another Witchblade novel, which I will cover sometime when I finish it.

Talons is written by John DeChancie whose name sounds familiar, but I really couldn’t remember from where. (A quick Amazon search makes me realize I remember him from a so-so Castle Falkenstein novel from years back. Not exactly the best pedigree for good super-powered fiction.)

The novel is a strange blend of the below average Witchblade TNT series from a few years back and the above average Paul Jenkins-era comic series. It works in some ways, but in others not so much.

Sara Pezzini, bearer of the Witchblade, finds herself embroiled in a mess of a story involving the Triads, the Russian mob, a hitman, an interdimensional cult, a dragon, a techno-sorceror named Merlin, and semi-regular villians/allies Ian Nottingham and Kenneth Irons. All this is slammed in to a two hundred fifty page story that sees Sarah framed for crimes she didn’t commit. It isn’t a bad story, but it falls flat on its face as too many disparate elements try to connect but never really manage it.

The witchblade itself barely plays a role in most of the story, only popping up for the big battle at the end with a surprise legendary villain. She ends up using the weapon in one of the worst thought out ideas I think I have ever seen: to (somehow) fly. I know the witchblade is impressive in its power, but that definitely isn’t anything I have ever seen it due outside this book. And let’s all be honest with yourselves, if the magical artifact grafted to your arm could make you fly, you would almost certainly use it more often.

Talons isn’t a bad book, and considering I got it and A Terrible Beauty in one collection for three and a half bucks, it was a pretty good deal. But I think ibooks, who in their day made some far better licensed super-powered fiction in their time, could have made a far better first effort than this one.

Here’s hoping Wild Cards veteran John J. Miller can give us a little more to work with for the next book.

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