Every Artifact within the Top Cow Universe is shrouded in some degree of mystery, but few Artifacts are quite as enigmatic as Pandora's Box.
Currently at the center of its very own miniseries, Pandora's Box is one of the thirteen deadly Artifacts lurking about in the Top Cow Universe, joining the ranks of the Witchblade, the Darkness, the Angelus, the Rapture, the Spear of Destiny, the Glacier Stone, the Ember Stone and the Blood Sword. Although the Artifact itself remains shrouded in mystery, the very provocative name of Pandora's Box is a good indicator that this item holds great destructive potential - potential that could be realized within the pages of "Artifacts," the upcoming 13-issue series written by Ron Marz and illustrated by a team of artists including Michael Broussard. CBR News spoke with Marz and Top Cow publisher Filip Sablik to learn more about Pandora's Box, its ties to the Glacier and Ember Stones, and its overall role in the world of the Artifacts.
According to Marz and Sablik, Pandora's Box itself has ties to the famous legend of its namesake, if only symbolically. In Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman on Earth. After receiving a box that she was warned to never open under any circumstances, Pandora succumbed to curiosity and opened the box anyway. As a result, terrible evils contained within the box escaped out into the world. The frightened Pandora closed the box, accidentally trapping hope inside. It's a story that's been told in various incarnations over many generations, though how it relates to the ongoing "Artifacts" saga remains to be seen.
"I don't think it takes too great a leap of logic to say that it does end up having [a link to the] historical and mythological idea of Pandora's Box," said Marz, who added that Pandora's Box also goes by other names within the Top Cow Universe, including the Obsidian Stone. "Pandora's Box is only one of the names that this Artifact is actually known by. The fact that it's been called other things and it's been seen in other forms might lead you to believe that it's somewhat malleable in composition."
Although the exact nature of Pandora's Box remains unclear, both Marz and Sablik confirmed the Artifact has deep ties to the Glacier and Ember Stones, currently in the possession of Michael "Finn" Finnegan and Gloriana "Glori" Silver, respectively. These Artifacts were initially introduced in "Broken Trinity," a title that readers initially viewed as a reference to the death of Angelus-bearer Celestine - but in reality, "Broken Trinity" hinted at the dissolution of another trio of linked Artifacts.
"When we did the original 'Broken Trinity' series, it referred not only to the breaking of the trinity of the Witchblade, Angelus and Darkness with the death of Celestine - who was the current Angelus - and the fact that the Angelus shifted its tactics by giving its next bearer, Dani, an element of free will," said Sablik. "It also referred to the fact that there was this other trinity made up of the Ember Stone, the Glacier Stone and Pandora's Box - or the Obsidian Stone, which is one of its other names. How those three interconnect and matter in the Top Cow Universe is something that's going to come into play in 'Artifacts.'"
It's also something that's currently playing out in "Broken Trinity: Pandora's Box," the current miniseries from co-writers Rob Levin and Bryan Edward Hill. In that series, a man named Elias Legion and his fanatical followers - called the Disciples of Adam - are actively seeking Pandora's Box. Glori tells Finn that if opened, the box could bring about Armageddon. Fortunately, Glori and Finn have the power to stop Elias thanks to their respective Artifacts' connection to Pandora's Box. Unfortunately, Glori and Finn's ability to thwart Elias' plans also makes them a target for elimination.
"In the 'Broken Trinity: Pandora's Box' series, there's a fanatic by the name of Elias Legion. He believes that he can use Pandora's Box to create a new world," said Sablik. "This should be kind of an indication to readers that we're building towards something big and it's happening over a lot of stories coming together. It's not pure coincidence that [Elias and the Disciples of Adam] have sprung up now at this time. It's not a coincidence that someone's looking for Pandora's Box now as opposed to five years ago or ten years ago or fifty years ago. "
Whether or not Finn and Glori's attempts to stop Elias are successful remains to be seen, but one thing is already certain: Pandora's Box won't remain in the shadows for too much longer. "It will definitely wind up in the possession of someone during 'Broken Trinity: Pandora's Box,'" said Marz. "By the end of 'Broken Trinity,' it'll firmly be in someone's grasp. Without spoiling the end of that series too much, that will reveal who will get the Artifact and what the thing does."
For now, the specific powers of Pandora's Box aren't what's important - it's the implications of what the Artifact can do that Finn, Glori and the rest of the Top Cow Universe should be concerned with.
"Obviously, it has some tie to the end of the world," teased Sablik. "That makes it a pretty big nuke on a field of guns, I would say. "
"Artifacts" #1, written by Ron Marz and illustrated by Michael Broussard, launches on July 21, 2010. Tune into CBR every week leading up to the issue's release for further insight from Marz and Sablik.
Check back next week as we spin the Wheel of Shadows!