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Review: Shadowman #1

SM2018_001_COVER-A_ZONJICDON’T FEAR YOUR DEMONS… FIGHT THEM!

Orphaned as a child and raised on the margins of society, Jack Boniface never knew his place in the world. Until he discovered it waiting for him… in a darkness far older than the reign of men…

Unbeknownst to him, Jack was fated to become the next in a long lineage of Shadowmen – mortals bound to violent voodoo spirits of immense power – that could safeguard our world against incursions from realms beyond.

For years, he struggled to control the loa’s murderous urges – a battle he eventually lost.

But now, after years of self-imposed exile, the man once known as Shadowman is returning home to sharpen the weapon within…and unleash a reckoning on the evils of our world that will soon send shockwaves through heaven and hell alike…”

Shadowman is, finally, back on the racks. One of the first Valiant heroes I had ever heard of thanks to the N64 videogame, he was also one of the first characters I wanted to read more about when I got my hands on a bunch of early comics from Valiant’s relaunch. Aside from the odd appearance in Ninjak and the Rapture crossover, the character has been largely absent from Valiant’s line up for far too long.

But no longer!

With Andy Diggle writing, Stephen Segovia on art, and Ulises Arreola providing colours, my expectation for the first issue’s quality were high. But before we address whether those were met, why don’t I answer the question you’re not asking: Can I read this without having read anything featuring Shadowman before? Well… that depends on how much you are willing to pick up as you go along. Technically, yes you can. Aside from the aforementioned comics – which don’t really shed much light on Shadowman’s situation beyond what Diggle gives us in this issue – I hadn’t really read enough to know fully what was going on with the character. What I did have a slight idea about was the Loa that is bonded to Jack Boniface, and that is briefly touched upon here. Which actually bridges nicely into my sole complaint for the issue: unless you’re familiar with the character, there is a chance that you will feel a little lost; something that should never be an issue with the first issue in a series.

Aside from my niggle about the plot details, Diggle’s writing is well paced and his dialogue has a very natural flow to it; the writing shows incredible promise to reward readers as the series goes on, but the art rewards you now. Segovia and Arreola are brilliant; there’s really no other word to describe this visually wonderful book. The artists play with composition, and shadows in a way that (whether intentionally or not) ends up being a tremendous nod to the comic’s name.

Getting back to my expectations, although they were high, Shadowman #1 didn’t fall too short. The quality of the comic is of a high standard, and I have no doubt the series will go from strength to strength after this issue.

Story: Andy Diggle: Art: Stephen Segovia
Colours: Ulises Arreola Letterer: Simon Bowland
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.