The 13th Artifact (Image/Top Cow)


Rating: 3.5/5 – Twilight Zone-esque Done-in-One Sci-Fi/Horror Tale.
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall

When I saw the title I originally thought this was tied into the Top Cow universe’s artifacts seen in books like Witchblade, The Darkness, and Angelus.  It actually may be, but I’m not steeped enough in Top Cow artifact lore to be sure and the story didn’t beat me over the head with any overt connection that would be obvious to a casual reader, so I’m going to go with this being a standalone one shot from the winners of the Top Cow 2015 Talent Hunt, Amit Chauhan and Eli Powell.

We open on a spaceship splashing down in the water on a planet that may or may not be Earth, and only one astronaut survives the landing.  I must say I got a really strong Planet of the Apes vibe (1968 version) from the opening, but there were enough twists and differences that it warrants only an “inspired by” in the end.  Chauhan’s story is a mixed bag of sci-fi & horror tropes shaken up and put together in a way I’ve not personally seen before.  The story was a pleasant enough diversion and as a one-shot I’d compare it to a Twilight Zone episode; not one of the all-time classics, but one of the mid-tier ones where you get some social commentary along the way (in this case a bit of an environmentalism mixed with corporate/government greed) and then a twist at then end.  The ending isn’t something that was completely unexpected, but there was one element that caught me off guard.  Eli Powell’s art was effective throughout.  He has a kind of scratchy, rough around the edges style that reminded me a bit of Sean Murphy, it fit well with the story and kept things flowing clearly throughout the issue.

Ultimately The 13th Artifact was a nice diversion for 15 minutes or so.  I’m glad I read it and it served as a good showcase for the creators.  If you’re a fan of sci-fi/horror mash-ups with a Twilight-Zone-y feel to them, it’s definitely worth checking out.  I’ll be keeping my eye out for artist Eli Powell’s work in future; I’m including an alternate cover he did for IDW’s Infinite Loop #6 to give you a visual of his style, that was very appealing to me:


Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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