Shadowman. Eternal Warrior. Punk Mambo. Doctor Mirage. The supernatural protectors of the Valiant Universe unite for the very first time to stand against a terrifying ancient threat: Exarch Fane. No one is safe as the fearsome foe has his cold hands on the Book of Shadows.
Master of horror Cullen Bunn and bone-chilling artist Vicente Cifuentes present Book Of Shadows, a supernatural event that forms a brand-new team in the Valiant Universe… but will they be enough to stop Fane’s wrath?
Continuing on from Cullen Bunn‘s brilliant run writing Shadowman comes the first issue of Book Of Shadows. I’ll admit to be very excited about this one not only because Bunn’s run on Shadowman is one of my favourite things to have come from Valiant recently (in fact, I don’t think there has been a bad run on Shadowman since 2012, if I’m honest), but also because of the inclusion of the Eternal Warrior – one of my favourite comic book characters across all publishers.
The story itself centres on the invasion of our world by demons following what has been written in the Book Of Shadows; fairly straight-forward stuff, yes, but it’s the way in which Bunn has framed the script that will keep you hooked. The narration boxes add more to the action than you would expect seeing as how they’re at times often unrelated to the goings on with the page’s art. Book Of Shadows #1 features art by Vicenty Cifuentes, colours by Nick Filardi and lettering provided by the ever-reliable Dave Sharpe; a creative team who unite to pull off a comic that plays on Bunn’s horror elements without shying away from some of the more traditional heroic images as characters do their thing within the pages.
As the debut issue of an event/miniseries book, this can be read alone; Bunn has structured the opening so that (assuming you have a passing knowledge of Shadowman) you’ll be more than able to enjoy the book (even if you don’t have a passing knowledge, you can still enjoy the book, in all honesty) – but it’s when this is read as the culmination of Bunn’s Shadowman run that it really comes together. Little plot hints and previous threads, character relationships all build upon what we’ve read before and they make sense.
Book Of Shadows is only the first issue, and while I can’t help but compare it to the earlier story Book Of Death because of the name, the new series is already starting to pull itself away from anything the Valiant universe seen yet. With this creative team at the helm, Book Of Shadows has earned its place as one of the series I’m most excited to read over the next few months.
Writer: Cullen Bunn Artist: Vicente Cifuentes
Colourist: Nick Filardi Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Story: 9.1 Art: 8.9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.