Book of Shadows #2 Review: Bunn assembles ghoulish Valiant characters for a horrific crossover event



Written by: Cullen Bunn, Art by: Vincente Cifuentes, Colours by: Nick Filardi, Letters by: Dave Sharpe.

 

The Necromancer, Exarch Fane, has managed to get himself the Book of Shadows. Going from place to place for a Dark Feast, he and his hoards devour all living beings, not even leaving their souls. Shadowman and his gang of powerful dark heroes are hot in his trail, trying to figure out why but with the power of the Book of Shadows, are they even enough to stop him?

 

It’s been about 4 months since I last read a Shadowman book, and my life hasn’t been the same. I loved every issue with Jack as he was roaming around New Orleans dealing with the ghostly spirits. Teasing the crossover event, the Book of Shadows. Me being me, I missed out on reviewing the first issue. I did however catch up in time for the release of this one.



Bunn continues to show that he’s the best person to deal with this character. Now with an ensemble cast of characters, he can show off how much he knows of the Dark side of the Valiant universe. So far so good, with a disturbing story that manages to give all the supporting cast time to shine. I’ve read many crossovers in my time and I was starting to get bored of the ones by the Big Two. Here however, despite the premise being a very simple one, of a Big Bad that wants to take over the world, so different characters have to team up to defeat the bigger menace. This still feels fresh, as we are seeing characters that aren’t so well known and diving into the morbid side of the universe. I’ve had very little interaction with Dr Mirage, but the way she’s dealt with here by Bunn makes me want to read more of the character, which is exactly what he did to me with Shadowman. We also see a villain that seems to stop at nothing, which could include the very destruction of himself, making him rather complex.

 

Along with the great character developments, we have some humour thrown in, and at one point Shadowman takes them all away from the fight to a cave, and when asked where they are, he jokes: "the Shadow Cave". Moments like this that make fun of other characters just increase the enjoyment for me and again prove that Bunn is exactly where he should be, writing weirdly ghoulish characters where he can play with the horror genre.


One thing that I noticed straight away about this event was the art. We no longer have the gritty slightly dark art from Pedro Andreo that perfectly matched the writing by Bunn, but also the realism of New Orleans. Now we have something that’s slightly more polished. It’s very strange to me that normally I would prefer this kind of art. However, with the way the state and characters were portrayed, they benefited from that grittiness. Having these characters with such sharp and polished art just doesn’t match for me. Although the art is glorious in its own right. I don’t know if Pedro Andreo wasn’t available for the crossover or they wanted something different, but I personally would have preferred the same style.


Overall, this is a fantastic crossover event, utilising some of the weirder characters from Valiant and I’ve been looking forward to it for a while. So far it hasn’t disappointed, but it’s never the start that’s a let down, it’s always the landing. I’m excited to see where this goes, but with the change of art that doesn’t suit, I can’t go for full marks, so it’s going to be a 4 POPs out of 5.


Hopefully we will see a crossover that compares to the well written series which the titular character is from. Book of Shadows issue 2 was released by Valiant Comics on August 24th from your Local Comic Shop and comixology


 

Andrew Carr was blessed to grow up watching the animated series of Batman, X-Men, and his favorite, Spider-Man.This started his dive into the comics world, which resulted in meeting his amazing cosplaying wife Imogen. They live in England with their Sinister Six dogs.





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