Review: Valiant Free Comic Book Day Shadowman Special

VALIANT_FCBD_2018_COVER_DELATORRESuperstar writer Andy Diggle and high-octane artist Stephen Segovia present an all-new introduction to Shadowman as Jack Boniface reemerges from the Deadside to reclaim his birthright… and forges a new legend of magic, might, and malice for the long-awaited return of Valiant’s most-demanded hero! Then, New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt and legendary artist Ariel Olivetti return Aric of Dacia to Earth in X-O Manowar – just in time for the seismic comics event of 2018! Finally, Academy Award-nominated writer Eric Heisserer and artists Raúl Allén and Patricia Martín plunge the whole of the Valiant Universe into an epic power struggle in the prelude to Harbinger Wars 2!

If you pick up Valiant‘s 2018 Free Comic Book Day release on May 5th, you’ll be treated to snippets from three different Valiant series. Snippets from comics already published, but none of which have more than two issues out in the arc you would be starting with if you were to look further into the respective series after picking this taster up, and aside from the first issue of Shadowman all the comics this Free Comic Book Day Special encourages you to pick up have been released within the last couple of weeks.

Regardless, on to the stories.

The first taster you will get comes in the form of Shadowman. With seven pages from the first issue you get juuuuust enough to encourage you to go hunting for the first and second issues in the newly relaunched series, but not quite enough of the story that will make you feel like paying for the first issue is a waste of money. Andy Diggle (writer), Stephen Segovia (art) and Ulises Arreola (colours) have already delivered two issues of a high quality, and the seven pages you’ll see here are indicative of that. You can find reviews of the first issue here and the second here. For those interested, the first half of Black Sabbath’s first album makes an excellent audio companion (I say first half because I was listening to it on vinyl).

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Up next is an excerpt from X-O Manowar #14, which was reviewed here. This arc finds Aric of Dacia returning to Earth after a lengthy absence (possibly around two years) only to discover that things have moved on without him. But you don’t get that in this six page preview, you only get to see part of his journey from deep space back to Earth. Matt Kindt‘s  script is given a stunning visual treatment by Ariel Olivetti, and although there were some questionable backgrounds in the rest of the comic, what you get here is an utterly fantastic piece of art. Audio companion: the second half of Black Sabbath’s first album.

Finally there are the first six pages of Harbinger Wars II: Prelude #1, a comic that was released May 2nd (yes, this week), which you can find a full review of here. Valiant’s big summer event will kick off next month, and this preview will give you a perfect taste of what Eric HeissererRaul Allen and Patricia Martin have in store for you in the rest of the prelude comic. Audio companion: silence, because the record player doesn’t repeat the album. It was oddly fitting, however.

For those hoping for a new short story starring Shadowman in the same vein as last year’s X-O Manowar FCBD Special you will be disappointed as the comic is essentially just an extended print based preview of three of Valiant’s current series. Which, ironically enough, is perfect for Free Comic Book Day and those who may not already be reading all three of these series like myself. If you see this in your comic shop on Saturday, and you’re at all curious about Valiant, then this is a must… uh… pick up.

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