Written by: Cullen Bunn, Art by: Pedro Andreo, Colours: by Jordie Bellaire.
Jack Boniface is a musician from New Orleans. He has a power passed down through his lineage, through a voodoo spirit called Shadow Loa. His alter ego gives him reduced fear, enhanced strength, endurance and reflexes, as well as other voodoo powers. He is one of only a few people who can protect the Earth against the evils from the Deadside (another realm). He is…. Shadowman.
In a jazz club in New Orleans, Jack Boniface entertains the crowd with his skills on the saxophone. Unbeknownst to him, his old friend Alyssa was at the club, and she wants to help Jack. Meet the new Abettors, a team set up by her with one goal: to help Shadowman. However, Jack doesn’t want to pull anyone else into this line of work. But with the barrier between our world and the Deadside world wearing thin, and a new very powerful enemy rising, he may need all the help he can get.
It’s been almost 6 months since we had the last issue of Shadowman, and this series has been on my mind since I was lucky enough to read a preview copy of the first issue. There’s a reason why it was one of my standout series of last year (despite us getting issue 1 in December of 2020). The way the character was handled and the story being told in just a few issues, I didn’t feel like I was lost (as I was unfamiliar with the publication history of the character); there was enough of a story to keep me interested. The creative team had done a fantastic job of creating an action book with horror elements that could resonate with long-time and new fans alike.
Cullen Bunn has clearly started something special here. We have the set-up to the Deadside war, with a villain who looks even more powerful than Shadowman could handle, by the fact that she has made even Baron Samedi and the council (the people he reports to) look weak. I’ve said it in previous reviews, but I truly think that this should be Valiant's flagship book at the moment. It’s consistently good and seems to have something for everyone. I cannot praise the team enough for what they have done with this character in such a sort amount of time, from the latest issue's perspective. From a time perspective, it’s been over a year and we only have 5 issues. Any other series and I would criticise it heavily. I do believe that it could be released more frequently (COVID allowing), but when the book is this good, I would much rather a good product than a rushed, average one.
On a quick side note, I do want to highlight how good this alternate cover is (shown above). I’m a sucker for a movie poster variant, and to see The Thing played out here with Shadowman was a surprise, and I loved it.
The first thing I noticed about this book was the art; we have a new artist in Pedro Andreo. Now, I thought the art in the first 4 issues was good, but this takes it to another level. The realism in the panels is highlighted by the amazing shading. This adds to the depth of characters and heightens the emotions within the book. There’s a moment where a child has to watch his mum die, and that in itself is emotional enough, but factor in what the child goes through during the book and it’s given even more heart by the close-ups and the art. It just looks stunning, and I’m even more excited for what I hope to be a very good arc.
Overall, I’m disappointed by the time that it’s taken for Valiant to get this issue out (for whatever reason), but if it’s this good, then it's worth the wait. It was highlighted by me last year for being so good, and if the current arc is as good as this issue was, then this title again will hold a high spot on my yearly rankings.
Shadowman issue 5 will be released from Valiant Entertainment on 19th January, from your Local Comic Shop as well as 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.