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"Court of the Dead: Shadows of the Underworld" Graphic Novel Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Insight Comics

court of the dead shadows 00

Story by Tom Gilliland
Written by Jacob Murray
Illustrated by Ivan Koritarev
Lettered by Pat Brosseau
2018, 112 Pages
Graphic novel released on February 12th, 2019


A war is raging between Heaven and Hell that we aren't even aware of until we die. Death is stuck in the middle, gathering souls and he's tired of all this destruction. He renames himself Alltaker and plans a rebellion to restore balance to the universe. Of course, this doesn't go over well so this ongoing war only gets more complicated.

There's a lot going on in Court of the Dead: Shadows of the Underworld. Most of this graphic novel is spent explaining the complex rules of this battle between good and evil. It makes for a very dry read as everyone is very long-winded. Each character really likes to hear themselves talk so they're constantly droning on and on. Do you remember all those talks about trade regulations from The Phantom Menace? Set those in the underworld and you have a rough idea of what I'm talking about.

Click image to enlarge

This is a shame as the book is gorgeous. Artist Ivan Koritarev does a tremendous job establishing this world and all the monsters within it. Even the panel layouts stand out as no two pages look alike in their setup. Any panel could be taken out and used as a cover for the sickest metal album ever.

Koritarev's line work is impressive as there is a tremendous amount of detail in every image. You can see the individual creases and cracks in the bones of skeletons or the horns of demons one moment and the next will pull back to reveal an epic landscape of the dead.

Click images to enlarge

While the text itself can be rather dry, letterer Pat Brosseau makes it look great. I don't think there's a standard word balloon in the book. Everything is customized, giving each character a unique voice. This adds to their personalities too, although they're all frightening.

Court of the Dead: Shadows of the Underworld is visually stunning, but falls short on the story. I'm sure there's something interesting in here, but you have to slog through a whole lot of bland dialogue to get to it. There's a deep mythology in this and a ton of world building. Unfortunately, it comes across more like a textbook than a supernatural action story. Granted, it's a pretty awesome-looking textbook.


Story: onestar Cover
Buy from Amazon US
Buy from Amazon UK
Art: fourandahalfstars
Overall: 2 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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