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Review: Shadowman #11

The final showdown!

Shadowman #11

At long last, Shadowman is unbound…and it couldn’t have come at a worse time! Finally free from the Boniface lineage after generations of torment, the loa that once shared its gifts with Jack Boniface must now be convinced to join his cause willingly…or else the Brethren will lay waste to everything Jack holds dear!

Whenever a series ends prematurely – whether that’s due to a lack of sales, or not – there’s always the fear that the story won’t end as well as was originally planned if the number of issues allotted are shaved down. While I’m not sure if that’s the case here, there is a lot of story packed into the pages of Shadowman #11 than there has been in the last couple of issues. This has the effect of giving the comic a very retro feel; comics from the 90’s and before always seem to pack a lot of dialogue and text within the pages in comparison to more modern offerings.

Whilst I’m a fan of older comic

s, where Shadowman #11 stumbles is a lack of clarity in some sequences as the scenes transition – the art, while astonishingly brilliant to look at, doesn’t always have the backgrounds necessary to indicate a transition without narrative explanation. Unfortunately, his left me reeling a couple of times during my read through wondering if I’d missed a page, or a text box, or if I needed more caffeine.

That being said, the issue’s pacing is relentless, and hits you with one development after another – it’s the kind of comic that feels like it’s absolutely worth the money you’re spending on the book, even with the occasional stumble.

Andy Diggle closes out his time with Shadowman on a high after taking the character on a journey full of revelations and character growth as he fleshed out the mythology and history of Jack Boniface and the shadow loa. It was a successful run, and one capped off with an explosive and action fueled issue that ties up enough loose ends that you’re not left with a sense that too much is dangling in the ether waiting for a resolution that’ll probably never come, but rather with anticipation for Shadowman’s next stage.

As has been mentioned already the art by Renato Guedes and Eric Battle is spectacular, although the comic would have been stronger had there been a few more backgrounds used during scene changes or passages of time. For the most part, though, there’s very little to bemoan in regards to the artistic offering here, and credit for that should also be given to Ulises Arreola‘s colouring that goes a little way toward helping the eye follow the story breaks if you pay attention to the background colours.

As a conclusion to an eleven issue run, this is a strong comic. Diggle puts a cherry on top of a run that’s added a lot to Shadowman’s lore whilst wrapping up the story satisfactorily. Although you’re not likely to buy this issue if you haven’t at least read the final arc, you can at least rest assured that once you’ve caught up, this is a really solid cap to a brilliant run. I’m looking forward to seeing what Andy Diggle has in store for us next.

Story: Andy Diggle Art: Renato Guedes with Eric Battle
Colours: Ulises Arreola Letters: Simon Bowland
Story: 8.8 Art: 8.1 Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Shadowman #11

SHADOWMAN #11

Written by ANDY DIGGLE
Art by RENATO GUEDES
Cover A by TONCI ZONJIC
Cover B by KERON GRANT
Cover C by JOHN BIVENS
Interlocking Variant by RYAN LEE 

The final showdown!

At long last, Shadowman is unbound…and it couldn’t have come at a worse time! Finally free from the Boniface lineage after generations of torment, the loa that once shared its gifts with Jack Boniface must now be convinced to join his cause willingly…or else the Brethren will lay waste to everything Jack holds dear!

The conclusion to “RAG AND BONE” unleashes anarchy as Andy Diggle (Green Arrow: Year One) and Renato Guedes (BLOODSHOT SALVATION) build to a brutal breaking point that will change Shadowman’s fate forever!

SHADOWMAN #11

Preview: X-O Manowar (2017) #22

X-O MANOWAR (2017) #22

Written by MATT KINDT
Art by JUAN JOSÉ RYP
Cover A by KENNETH ROCAFORT
Cover B by ALAN QUAH
Cover C by AJ JOTHIKUMAR
Interlocking Variant by RENATO GUEDES

The thrilling finale to “AGENT!”

With the help of Atom-13, X-O Manowar has succeeded in beating back the forces of the Unknown… But the militant leader of New Eden, now known as the Cartographer, may have yet another surprise up his sleeve.

Eisner-nominated writer Matt Kindt (Mind MGMT, NINJAK) and insatiable artist Juan José Ryp (BRITANNIA) push reality to its limited in this show-stopping fight to the finish!

$3.99 | 32. Pgs. | VALIANT PREMIUM | T+ | On sale DECEMBER 19th

Review: Shadowman #10

Shadowman #10

Darque Destruction!

Sandria Darque’s vile plans are finally clicking into place… With his allies incapacitated, it’s up to Jack Boniface to stop the machinations of this vengeful sorceress – but can he trust in his ability to control the loa spirit bound to him, or will he have to face an ageless enemy completely alone?

Shadowman #10 is a comic so close to excellence that it is oddly frustrating. The  comic, written by Andy Diggle  with art by Renato Guedes and Eric Battle, and colours by Ulises Arreola, is very interesting to look at. The art in this comic, primarily handled by Guedes, is fantastic. There’s a lifelike realism to the pages where details jump out at you, grabbing your eyes by ink-stained fingers and pulling your attention to each and every page in your hand.

Ultimately, though, it’s within the intricately layered story where this reviewer’s frustration with the comic lays. Diggle brings a lot of the elements he had introduced earlier in his run back to play a part here (which is fantastic), but also relies upon the reader having read most, if not all, of Shadowman’s previous appearances since the Valiant relaunch in 2012. Material that, I haven’t fully read (specifically the first Shadowman series). So while there is just enough info provided for me to enjoy the series couple with my previous reading of Rapture and Operation Deadside (a self contained miniseries and an arc in Ninjak respectively), if you’re unfamiliar with either of those then you may struggle a little here – but if you’ve read the series thus far then there’s every chance that you’ll be more than able to follow the book along to a rather brilliant pay off that’s been building for several issues. 

Although it will undoubtedly be a benefit for you if you have read the entire Shadowman saga to date, it won’t be a gamebreaker if you haven’t. But, because of my annoyingly innate desire to know everything, I was a touch frustrated with the seemingly casual references to things I had no idea about, but can’t deny enjoying that Diggle has spent time researching the character and his previous appearances.

Ultimately what bothered me mot about the book may not be on your radar at all (like I said it’s an annoying desire), and so being aware of that I tried not to let that influence my judgement of a comic that propels the story forward into what promises to be at the very least an interesting and powerful conclusion that will set Shadowman up for some freaking amazing stories in the future.

Story: Andy Diggle Art: Renato Guedes and Eric Battle
Colours: Ulises Arreola Letters: Simon Bowland
Story: 8.3 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review, but I picked up my own copy.

Preview: Shadowman (2018) #10

SHADOWMAN (2018) #10

Written by ANDY DIGGLE
Art by RENATO GUEDES
Cover A by TONCI ZONJIC
Cover B by KERON GRANT
Cover C by SAINASIX
Interlocking Variant by RYAN LEE

Darque Destruction!

Sandria Darque’s vile plans are finally clicking into place… With his allies incapacitated, it’s up to Jack Boniface to stop the machinations of this vengeful sorceress – but can he trust in his ability to control the loa spirit bound to him, or will he have to face an ageless enemy completely alone?

Prepare yourself for an action-packed thrill ride as superstar writer Andy Diggle (Green Arrow: Year One) and sensational artist Renato Guedes (BLOODSHOT SALVATION) launch the next suspenseful segment of the “RAG AND BONE” story arc!

 $3.88 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On Sale DECEMBER 12th

Preview: Harbinger Wars 2 TPB

HARBINGER WARS 2 TPB

Written by MATT KINDT and ERIC HEISSERER
Art by TOMÁS GIORELLO, RENATO GUEDES, RAÚL ALLÉN, PATRICIA MARTÍN, and ADAM POLLINA
Cover by JG JONES

A seismic universe-spanning event! Nothing will ever be the same…

From New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt (X-O MANOWAR. DIVINITY, Mind MGMT) and superstar artist Tomás Giorello (X-O MANOWAR), the most powerful Valiant event ever attempted erupts in full force as X-O Manowar, Livewire, the Harbinger Renegades, Bloodshot, the Secret Weapons, Ninjak, and a cast of thousands draw their battle lines in HARBINGER WARS 2!

For the rare and immensely powerful subset of humanity known as psiots, their unique abilities have come with an enormous cost. Once, their existence was known only to a select few. Now, the revelation that thousands of these latent telekinetic “harbingers” secretly live among us – with the potential to be activated at any moment – has led the American government to a dramatic tipping point…

Armed with new extra-governmental authority, the deep-black military contractor known as Omen has been authorized to identify, evaluate, and, if need be, eliminate all super-normal threats to the homeland. H.A.R.D. Corps units have been deployed into cities and towns across the United States to enforce their orders.

In the East, one of the most powerful minds on Earth, Peter Stanchek, is leading his band of Renegades across the country, activating any potential psiots willing to join them, and building an insurrection force of ultra-powerful and unwieldy new abilities that will soon bring war to Omen’s doorstep…and the unstoppable force known as X-O Manowar raging back to Earth…

In the West, Livewire – the telekinetic technopath with the ability to bend machines and computers to her will – will be forced to choose between her former allies…or her newfound team of Secret Weapons. As the situation escalates beyond human control, the United States will be plunged into darkness from coast to coast, launching Bloodshot and Ninjak into a dangerous mission to neutralize their one-time teammate – and setting the stage for the most shocking, most violent, and most consequential clash of powers ever witnessed in the history of the Valiant Universe!

Collecting HARBINGER WARS 2: PRELUDE #1, HARBINGER WARS 2 #1-4, and HARBINGER WARS 2: AFTERMATH #1.

$19.99 | 160 pgs. | T+ | On Sale NOVEMBER 28th

Preview: X-O Manowar (2017) #21

X-O MANOWAR (2017) #21

Written by MATT KINDT
Art by JUAN JOSÉ RYP
Cover A by KENNETH ROCAFORT
Cover B by ALAN QUAH
Cover C by JIM TOWE
Interlocking Variant by RENATO GUEDES

The Brothers of the Bomb explode onto the scene!

The Brothers of the Bomb have invaded our world, and only the armored Visigoth vanguard known as X-O Manowar can stand between them and total devastation! But they aren’t alone…other fatal forces from the Unknown are fast approaching, too…

Visionary Eisner-nominated writer Matt Kindt (DIVINITY) and bombastic artist Juan José Ryp (BRITANNIA) return to ETERNITY…and bring it crashing down to Earth as “AGENT” continues!

$3.99 | 32 pgs. | VALIANT PREMIUM | T+ | On Sale NOVEMBER 28th

Review: Shadowman #9

SM2018_009_COVER-B_GRANTEvery family has skeletons in their closet…but these ones are ready to kill!

As Jack Boniface and Alyssa Miles hunt for the remains of Master Darque, their search brings them to the enchanted home of his sorceress sister – none other than Sandria Darque herself! Face to unearthly face with the sorceress responsible for binding his fate to that of the deadly shadow loa, Jack now stands at a crossroads… Will he achieve his greatest desire and free himself from the monster within?

Shadowman #9 begins to tie a lot of threads together that Andy Diggle has been letting dangle ever since he first took on the series. Whether it’s the early interactions between Jack and the Brethren, Jack’s journey through the history of the Shadowman or the growing threat of Master Darque, if you’ve been with the series for the past eight issues, you’re going to start to see a lot of things begin to come together. That’s not to say that new readers will be out in the cold – Diggle has still written a very compelling comic, and one that anybody can hop into. But he certainly is rewarding those who’ve been around the block with ol’ Jack Boniface.

The overwhelming impression the last issue left on me was just how special the art was… well for the most part that’s true again. The art, by Renato Guedes, remains fantastic; blending a touch of the classical styles into a comic book script that compliments the mystical nature of the character. It’s undoubtedly the highlight of this issue, and watching how Guedes moves the story along was worth my price of admission alone. However, Guedes isn’t the sole artist this time around; the superbly named Eric Battle takes charge for a few interspersed pages (coloured by Ulises Arreola), and the effect is almost jarring. Battle and Arreola make a great pairing, but the team isn’t as complementary to Guedes’ style as one would hope.

There’s a touch more development when it comes to the plot with this issue than last, and once again the comic is visually spectacular. I said it last month and I’ll say it again – some of the pages here should make non-comics folks rethink their definition of fine art.  I’ve every intention of adding this to my collection on release day, because Shadowman #9 is another brilliant addition to the Valiant library – and is once again one of the best visual experiences I’ve had in comics.

Story: Andy Diggle Art: Renato Guedes and Eric Battle
Colors: Ulises Arreola Letters: Simon Bowland
Story: 8.2 Art: 8.8 Overall: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Shadowman (2018) #9

SHADOWMAN (2018) #9

Written by ANDY DIGGLE
Art by RENATO GUEDES and ERIC BATTLE
Letters by SIMON BOWLAND
Cover A by TONCI ZONJIC
Cover B KERON GRANT
Cover C JEFFREY VEREGGE
Interlocking Variant by RYAN LEE
Pre-Order Edition by HANNAH TEMPLER

Every family has skeletons in their closet…but these ones are ready to kill!

As Jack Boniface and Alyssa Miles hunt for the remains of Master Darque, their search brings them to the enchanted home of his sorceress sister – none other than Sandria Darque herself! Face to unearthly face with the sorceress responsible for binding his fate to that of the deadly shadow loa, Jack now stands at a crossroads… Will he achieve his greatest desire and free himself from the monster within?

Renowned writer Andy Diggle (Green Arrow: Year One) delivers a powerful portent of horror as “RAG AND BONE” creaks onward, gorgeously rendered by artist Renato Guedes (BLOODSHOT SALVATION)!

$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On Sale NOVEMBER 21nd

Review: Shadowman #8

SM2018_008_COVER-A_ZONJICAs Shadowman returns to New Orleans with a revelatory new understanding of the immense abilities within himself, he won’t have long to adjust…because a war for control of the ultimate magical artifact – the bones of Master Darque, his old arch-nemesis – is about to erupt out of the underground and into the harsh view of day!

On one side: The Brethren, a society of wealthy and powerful occultists obsessed with Darque’s resurrection and ushering in a millennia-long reign of darkness. On the other: Shadowman’s old allies from The Abettors…and Darque’s own sister, Sandria, who would like nothing more than to grind her brother’s bones to dust…

The overwhelming impression this comic left on me was… well. It was something special. The art, by Renato Guedes, was fantastic; blending a touch of the classical styles into a comic book script that compliments the mystical nature of the character. It’s undoutedly the highlight of this issue, and watching how Guedes moves the story along was worth my price of admission alone. Part of the reason for the delay in this review is that I needed to see the art in person, and so I waited until I had my print copy before confirming my opinion of the visual presentation.

Conversely, my love of the art didn’t quite translate to the story. Oh, it was good, but it didn’t have the same impact on me that the art did. And that’s not a complaint about Andy Diggle‘s script, but rather a testament to the quality of the imagery.

Unfortuntely, aside from trying to convey a senses of awe and wonder at the art, I really don’t have a lot to say about this comic. As I said, I’ve added it to my collection, not just for the art, but I did put my money where my mouth is. Shadowman #8 is a brilliant addition to the Valiant library – and is one of the best visual experiences I’ve had in comics in a long time.

Story: Andy Diggle Art: Renato Guedes Letterer: Simon Bowland
Story: 8.0 Art: 10 Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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