Artifacts #5- Top Cow marketed this issue as Act 2 of the miniseries. After reading it, I can see why. It’s not a case of false marketing as the issue start with Cyberforce and Hunter-Killer who had not shown up yet. When the Top Cow U first started out, they were known for series like Cyberforce, Ripclaw and Strykforce. As the years pass, they moved away from series with a sci-fi bend and more on series with a supernatural feel to it like the Darkness. I guess we can call Cyberforce introduction as a return to the Top Cow U. Their introduction by writer Ron Marz also made sense. As the battle lines were drawn last issue, it seem only natural that a team like Cyberforce would be involved in a crisis that threaten the world. This issue also mark a return to form for Whilce Portacio. I haven’t been that impressive with his work in the past few years but the artist did great here. I don’t know why but the artist seen to be enjoying his work again here. If this issue is any indication, Act 2 will to be even better than Act 1.
X-23 #5- Thus far, writer Marjorie Liu had been making X-23 into an interesting character. In truth, far more interesting than I thought she would be. This issue, she decided to move the action away from Laura and focus on the supporting cast. Gambit and Ms. Sinister are two characters which had been out of the spotlight for awhile and Liu made the most of it by throwing new things at us. Ms. Sinister especially got good treatment as the emphasis on how similar Ms. Sinister and X-23 are was great. Both are clones, female clones of men, and both have little choice in the matter. Another solid issue in a surprisingly promising series.