The spectral star of the Valiant Universe, Shadowman finally starts to come into his own in the upcoming third issue.
With the third issue of Shadowman, Valiant finally gives fans a glimpse of the Deadside- the otherworldly home of spirits in transition and generally not all that great of a place. The issue is split soon after the first few pages as the demonic Mr Twist and Master Darque’s henchmen attack the home of Dox and crew.
Half the story follows Dox as he takes on Twist and the other half takes off after Jack Boniface, the reborn Shadowman, and his companion Alyssa as they plunge into the Deadside. There Boniface starts to learn exactly what being a Shadowman entails and what it’ll mean for him and his future. There’s also a pretty surprising cameo by a character from Jack’s past… and a talking monkey.
Yes, you read that right. Trust me though, it’s pretty cool stuff and isn’t at all goofy (at least not unintentionally). The little guy actually provides for some honest to goodness lighthearted moments that are really fun to read too, which is a nice bonus.
Justin Jordan and Patrick Zircher’s script flows well throughout and doesn’t get overly bogged down even with it’s dark tone. The horror elements that are so prevalent in Shadowman, while definitely front and center, aren’t so much as to overpower the superhero tone of the book either. It walks a really thin line and does it very, very well.
In addition to the co-writing chores, Zircher also continues to spin a mean visual tale as his pencils are top notch. Realistic meets fantastic as Zircher is quietly crafting a very cool niche in Shadowman’s spooky corner of the Valiant Universe.
His work in the Deadside portion of the story is particularly cool and gets a swift kick in the pants from Brian Reber’s color work. The effects are great and his work on the hungry ghosts that infest the afterlife is nothing short of spectacular. This is a pretty unique vision for the spirit world that that the creative team has put together, and a real treat for the eyes.
There isn’t much about Shadowman that’s not to like.
Quite honestly I’ve never been a big horror fan, but I love the monstrous elements that Zircher and Jordan have worked in to make up this book. As I said before, the super-heroics are stirred in well with the twisted visions of the writing team. They make a mix that I personally haven’t enjoyed this much since the hey-day of Marvel’s second Ghost Rider back in the ’90s… loved that book.
Without spoiling, the Shadowman does indeed ‘find himself’ (read it and you’ll get that reference) by the end of the third issue. It’ll be interesting to see the full scope of his powers and abilities get explored as this book kicks into high gear heading into the return of the hero’s big bad – Master Darque.
In short, if you’re not reading Shadowman- you might want to jump on now. Issue three will hitstands on January 9th.