Today we get to talk about yet another unique blade, wielded by an equally deadly siren of comic and film. Here is the gauntlet blade from the live action TV series Witchblade:
Now having actually read a few of the comics that the Sara Pezzini character (played by Yancey Butler) was based on, I have to say that the live action TV series sucked all of the freakin’ “witch” out of the “WitchBlade“. The comic book Witchblade was awesome purely because of the sheer versatility and resulting coolness of the Witchblades armor.
In the comic, when activated, the WitchBlade protected it’s wearer with a kind of H. R. Gigeresque organic armor, which could make scorpion fish-like spines, blades and whatnot emanate from the arms, hands back, legs, shoulders, etc. Much like the comic book Spawn armor, except the Spawn movie got the armor right (with the help of a lot of CGI effects). The Witchblade armor could be mentally willed to form bladed appendages and weapons of various forms, as well as fire energy blasts, darts, etc. Just episode after sweet episode of sheer, unadulterated wearable wickedness.
So, given a chance to make a live action version of this marvel of comic book weaponry, what do they do? Bollox it up. As you can see from the pic above, in their infinite wisdom, they turned the glorious Witchblade into little more than a medieval suit of armour, with what can only be described as a rather simple gauntlet sword as it’s primary weapon. Pointless. Silly. Bah! What a waste. Yeah, yeah, the blade gauntlet could retract into a small unobtrusive bracelet. Big Whup. For all it’s usefulness as a sword, they might just as well have given her a rapier and said “have at it!” against the baddies. Compared to the immense flexibility, power and, more importantly, the unique aesthetic presence of the comic book Witchblade armor, this was a point of great disappointment for me.
But considering the amount of CGI it would have required to make comic book accurate, Spawn-like WitchBlade transition sequences every episode, coupled with the fact that, in order to be comic book accurate, Ms. Butler may have been required to run around half nekkid with naught but some very cool (albeit sparse) prosthetic biomechanical armor to keep her warm on many a cold NY night, I can see why they chose to take the brain-dead route. However, as irksome as this all is, there is a silver lining, in that it makes an excellent segue into a look at a very similar traditional blade, called the Pata:
The Pata is a sword gauntlet from northern India which, As you can see, bears an uncanny resemblance to the live action WitchBlade sword. However, unlike the WitchBlade weapon, the Pata is not a full hand gauntlet. It simply covers the top of the hand and forearm. As you can see, the handle is set in the middle of the semi-spherical hand guard, and a brace at the top of the forearm guard helps gives the wielder better control of the weapon.
Perhaps not as convenient as a blade gauntlet that retracts into a small bracelet, (a-la-the movie WitchBlade), but it would probably a safe assumption that it’s fairly lethal in it’s own right. And did I mention that this particular Pata had a blade of damascus steel? A dark, stylish and sinister blade. What more could one ask for? Well, actually a proper, well made, CGI enhanced live-action Witchblade movie, for one thing. But I’d settle for a Pata. Heh. I’m easy like that.