Even if you flip a coin and call a side, you won't be able to guess which side the Coin of Solomon is going to land on.
The Coin of Solomon is one of the final, more mysterious Artifacts lurking about the Top Cow Universe, joining its place alongside other deadly Artifacts such as the Witchblade, the Darkness, the Angelus, the Rapture, the Spear of Destiny, the Glacier Stone, the Ember Stone, the Blood Sword, Pandora's Box, the Wheel of Shadows and the Heart Stone.
Although its true nature remains unknown at this time, the Coin of Solomon will cash in with a pivotal role in "Artifacts," the upcoming 13-issue limited series from writer Ron Marz and a team of illustrators including Michael Broussard. CBR News spoke with Marz and Top Cow Publisher Filip Sablik to learn more about the Coin of Solomon and how it might factor into the ongoing "Artifacts" saga.
The Coin of Solomon's true powers and purpose are currently unknown, but, Sablik told CBR, "Like everything else in the Top Cow Universe, the name of the Artifact is a pretty good indication or clue as to what it is.” Readers already received their first clue about the Coin in Top Cow's "Artifacts" #0, released on Free Comic Book Day, when a mysterious antagonist provided the captured android Aphrodite IV with a dossier on the various Artifacts. In that scene, the antagonist stated, "The Coin of Solomon and the insight it bestows was already under my control. I've used it as I've seen fit."
That's not to say the Coin of Solomon is under the "Artifacts" antagonist's direct ownership. "The antagonist was in possession of this at a certain point in time, but the Coin of Solomon will actually be revealed to be in possession of another existing character — and that character doesn't even know it," Marz told CBR. "It's out there and it's part of the story. It's involved in the storyline without the knowledge of the bearer, really. Its discovery will eventually play a pivotal role in how everything unfolds."
Based on the antagonist's words, however, it appears that the Coin is under his influence in some capacity. Speaking of the shadowy nemesis at the center of "Artifacts," Marz and Sablik were hesitant to describe this character as an outright villain. "It's the same way that all of our Artifact bearers are characters of gray, not black and white, our antagonist is a character of gray," Sablik remarked.
Additionally, like the eventually revealed Heart Stone bearer, the person pulling the strings on "Artifacts" is a character that's already familiar to Top Cow readers. "We're not going to pull a ‘Hush’ here and have the villain be somebody who at the end of the story you're going, 'Huh? Who the hell was that?'” said Marz, referring to the controversial conclusion of the well-known Batman story, “Hush.” “It's going to be somebody that's been known. It's going to be somebody that has some relationship with some of the other characters in the Top Cow Universe. We're not going to peel back the curtain and do a big reveal and have people go, 'I don't even know who that is.' We wanted to make sure that there was going to be something meaningful about the antagonist's revelation, both for longtime readers as well as new readers."
In Sablik's eyes, the inclusion of this particular antagonist speaks to the fact that "Artifacts" is bigger than any one Top Cow title. "One of the things that was really, really important to all of us is that the story grew organically and naturally out of stories we were already telling," he said. "What I think makes a successful event is that this is a story that's not a Witchblade story. It's not a Darkness story. It's a story that is bigger than all of those individual storylines, and that's what makes it worth telling as a thirteen issue event. This is a Top Cow Universe story, something that is too big to tell in those individual series."
Whether or not readers find themselves sympathizing with the antagonist's plight, one thing is for certain: this character's plans hold potentially catastrophic consequences for the entirety of the Top Cow Universe. "Ultimately, I think that the goal of the antagonist is fairly obvious from the get go: the goal is to bring together the thirteen Artifacts," said Marz. "As we sort of have the sense already, bringing together the thirteen Artifacts is a really bad idea from most people's point of view. Part of the reveal is why would this antagonist think that putting together these thirteen Artifacts is a good thing? What about his or her makeup makes this the right choice to pursue?"
"Artifacts" #1, written by Ron Marz and illustrated by Michael Broussard, launches next week, but Comic-Con International attendees can pick up a copy this week at the Top Cow booth (#2629) in San Diego.
Check back next week for the final installment of our ROAD TO ARTIFACTS series!