Early Review: Shadowman #1
Jack Boniface is Shadowman, a powerful protector who keeps humanity safe from the demons that claw at the fabric of our reality. In Shadowman #1, the forces of darkness are awakening and they are hungry for life. Will Shadowman be able to save us all, or will the darkness devour the world as we know it?
I initially read this book in preparation for an interview a couple weeks ago, and I’ve been thinking about it pretty consistently ever since.
If I had written this review then, you’d have seen me raving about the comic, saying things like how amazing it was. I would have said that Jon Davis-Hunt‘s artwork is everything I didn’t know I needed in a Shadowman comic, just as Cullen Bunn‘s writing is everything I had hoped it would be and more. It may have sounded hyperbolic, but it would have at least started out with honest intentions.
Eventually, I’d have gone on to say how one of my favourite aspects of the comic was in how it told an almost complete story that made me question who the real monster was (and honestly, I’m still not entirely sure). Bunn’s story is, appropriately enough, steeped in the grey shades of morality. There’s no real clear cut villain in the comic, though there’s a lot of people you wouldn’t be upset to see at the wrong end of Shadowman’s fists, and so watching the title character navigate his way through the events of the comic with compassion and humanity only reinforces what you’re seeing on the page as being tragic.
Davis-Hunt’s artwork is brilliant on its own, but his heavy inks are given spectacular life by Jordie Bellaire‘s use of colour, who contributes an underrated and unstated character to the pages; the judicious use of deep blues and greys in the slower scenes juxtapose with the reds used during the more frantic set pieces to a wonderous effect. I didn’t notice how much Bellaire’s contributions to the comic influenced my speed of reading.
The fact of the matter is, had I written this review when I first read it, I’d have been gushing about the book. I’d have pointed out that Shadowman was always a character I struggled to get into because I’ve never been as drawn to the mystical side of things (it’s why I could relate to Ninjak so much during the Rapture miniseries), and yet I really love his story. It’s an odd dichotomy where I like the idea of Shadowman, but haven’t yet found a story that defines the character for me. The more I think about this comic, and the more I read it, I’m beginning to think that this has the potential of becoming THE Shadowman comic for me.
Of course, I didn’t write the review immediately after reading it the first time, and have allowed the book to sit in my mind for weeks as I reread the pdf every couple of days to work out whether a horror book (something that I usually don’t find myself as drawn to) really is one of my Must Read books to have come out this year.
The answer is an unequivocal yes. Shadowman #1 is an absolute fucking triumph of a comic. It was absolutely worth the wait.
Story: Cullen Bunn Art: Jon Davis-Hunt
Colours: Jordie Bellaire Letters: Clayton Cowles
Story: 9.7 Art: 9.7 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy
Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review