Written by: Cullen Bunn, Art by: Jon Davis-Hunt, 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. He is one of only a few people who can protect the Earth against the evils from the Deadside (another realm). His alter ego gives him reduced fear, enhanced strength, endurance, reflexes, as well as other voodoo powers. He is…Shadowman.
Jack finds himself traveling around, and landing in London. He’s in search of a Blight, a supernatural being from the Deadside that can cause spontaneous drug overdoses in people who haven’t even touched any substances. It’s creating havoc on the city, so it’s up to Shadowman to send it back to the Deadside. However, has he met his match in this Blight, who can cause hallucinations even without coming into contact? Will he ever see the mysterious woman who appeared to him mid-battle again? And why does she seem so familiar to him?
This series is a constant surprise; I’m only four issues in and yet I feel like I’ve been following Jack’s adventures for a while. Cullen Bunn is doing a fantastic job of pushing the narrative forward with this series. We learn a lot about the Deadside and the progress that it’s making in removing the veil to our world completely. Any other writer would make this devolve into a monster of the week serial, but what we have here is a world traveling thriller mystery that can jump from a western theme —as it did last issue— to a contemporary psychedelic trip this issue. Bunn shows both the range that he has for writing but also creating the diverse situations that Jack can find himself in, including definite elements of horror. Within four issues, Bunn has been able to prove that no book needs to be defined by just one genre, and I think that proves how good he is with writing this character. The mystery factor is also driving the narrative, and it’s being done in an intelligent way by giving us enough information to make sure we don’t forget month to month, but also not too much that it would take away from the fact that Jack has a serious issue on his hands: Blights are showing up all over the world, and it’s getting easier and easier for them to cross the veil from their realm into ours.
When it comes to the art, Jon Davis-Hunt is quickly becoming a favourite of mine. Just like Bunn is able to swap genres on the book, Davis-Hunt is able to adapt to these changes and mimic the chosen genre within the art style. The result is shown below in full force. We have a few good panels that are very good at showing the psychedelic art style, but then we get treated to two full page displays one after the other. Gloriously colourful and exquisite in their presentation, yet equally painful for what they are depicting. These four pages clearly make this the standout issue of the series so far.
Overall, I can’t praise this book enough. Four issues in and this is not just a favourite book of mine, but Jack is becoming a favourite character. The creative team here are doing some extraordinary things, and I can’t think of a better team to have on the book. I’ve gone back to read previous runs (see my previous reviews on the POP site), but so far this issue is head and shoulders above them all. I hope the team are willing to continue this run, as this could end up being something very special.
Shadowman issue 4 will be released from Valiant Comics on 28th July from your Local Comic Shop as well as comixology