Universe 1B NM Image Paul Jenkins Clayton Crain 1st prnt Top Cow Witchblade Dar


SKU: 14526 Category:


Universe (2001 Top Cow) #1B

Published Aug 2001 by Top Cow
Cover by Dave Finch
(W) Paul Jenkins
(A) Clayton Crain
(I) Jonathan Glapion
(C) Steve Firchow
Full color, 32pg

The first issue of Top Cow’s Hell series is here and the world as we knew it will never be the same again! A tormented priest learns that he is the deciding factor in a huge spiritual war. But who do you pray to when you don’t know whose side you’re on? This premiere issue begins to unravel the mystery of what the Triad of Powers, The Darkness, the Witchblade, and the Angelus are really about!! Come along for an incredible ride as we turn our world upside down and witness the unthinkable as Top Cow goes to Hell!!!

Thomas Judge is man living a life of nihilism and despair. He is a former priest who became disillusioned when some of his counsel had disastrous results. He now consorts with prostitutes while getting high on cocaine, bourbon or whatever is available. His dreams are a disturbing mix of demonic images. When he discovers a necklace with a cross hidden inside the wall of his tenement apartment, his existence is irrevocably altered. In the next few minutes a number of demons appear, as well as a woman named Tilly who shoots the one who had been Judge’s paid companion. Oh yeah, then he becomes a demon and sees God.

This title is a mix of horror and religious mysticism with McFarlane-influenced art by Clayton Crain. As the name implies, this book will bring a unifying storyline to the Top Cow universe, tying in to The Darkness and WitchBlade.

The publisher is probably best known for the characters of Witchblade and the Darkness, but those characters represent just 2 of the 13 Artifacts represented in the Top Cow universe. A third one, and a personal favorite of mine, is The Rapture. It’s a double cross or patriarchal cross that give the wearer a few unique abilities… like turning into a large, brimstone monster, it can give or take away hope and it can show the true nature of things.

The Rapture is found by an ex-priest named Tom Judge who spends most of his time being very un-priest like. He left the calling after he advised a man who then went and killed his wife and children. He finds the necklace behind a brick in an old apartment once used by Horace Grimes who hid the Rapture after seeing the power it contained. Grimes’ granddaughter Tilly comes to Judge and tells him of the artifact. She is a numeromancer, she can predict the future through mathematical equations. Judge also mets the Devil who reveals that everyone goes to Hell when they die. Souls are power, the more you possess the more powerful you are. The Devil has left his job and is now on Earth as a human, leaving a huge battle between angels and demon for control of the infernal realm. Oh, and he lets it slip that Judge will end up deciding the balance of power in Hell.

It shows the journey of a broken man as he regains purpose in his life. Judge must fight against a warlock trying to take the artifact while he travels to one of the most desolate and horrifying version of Hell. Where humanity is nothing but a commodity to be traded between demons like brokers on the stock exchange floor. It’s a place of despair and hopelessness and we follow a man who has lost his faith but carries the one thing that can bring hope again.

Tom Judge is the American John Constantine and I don’t mean the Keanu Reeves version. From this series, Tom Judge went on to be a major character in the Artifacts comics even after Jackie Estrada rebuilt the world.

Near mint, 1st print. Bagged & Boarded.