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"Shadowman #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Valiant Entertainment


Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Jon Davis-Hunt
Colored by Jordie Bellaire
Lettered by Clayton Cowles
2021, $3.99, 32 pages
Comic released on April 28th, 2021


Jack Boniface is back, ready to take on some all-new supernatural forces that threaten our world. He's used to this kind of thing during his tenure as Shadowman, however there's something far more sinister at play than he's encountered before. When a group of rich folks try to break into the Dead Side in a blood-soaked party, things go horribly wrong, unleashing a new kind of evil.

Although this new Shadowman series picks up with an established character, you can definitely jump right in and have a solid understanding as to what's going on and the basics. This is very much a jumping on point for the supernatural side of the Valiant Universe. Writer Cullen Bunn peppers in just enough background to get new fans up to speed without annoying long-time readers with exposition dumps.

There's a bit of a supernatural detective vibe in this new Shadowman, although Jack isn't necessarily taking on cases. Instead, he gathers clues to demonic dangers and looks to take them out any way he can. He is unflappable in this work and clearly prefers to go it alone, but he does need help on occasion. The thing is, that help usually comes with a price and he's wary to pay it, especially when it comes with those that are offering assistance.

Click images to enlarge

The real star of Shadowman is artist Jon Davis-Hunt. I was a fan of his work with Clean Room and his skills have only improved from there. This debut issue is a terrifying wonder. The creatures Shadowman faces off against are varied and absolutely horrifying. The opening sequence has him fighting a...I don't even know how to describe it. A caveman monster? I lost count of the rows of teeth this thing has in its massive jaws. It's clearly capable of biting your head clean off, yet Jack jumps into the fray without hesitation.

Letterer Clayton Cowles puts these creatures over the top with some gruesome-looking dialogue. You can imagine their voices coming from the fiery pits of Hell. This is matched with some choice sound effect placement. There's a great one later on when a man explodes in a burst of blood and corpse-locusts that has a buzz that stretches across the whole page.

Click images to enlarge

I love the look of Jack as Shadowman. His face takes on a skeletal appearance with a permanent scowl that removes all emotion. This speaks to his direct nature when it comes to these threats. He's not going to throw out some jokes and toy with his prey. He's going to take it down and move onto the next. His scythe forms out of the shadows in some really cool effects. Davis-Hunt creates a wispy smoke that becomes solid over the course of a few panels.

We're dealing with the dark corners of this shared universe here and it shows. Colorist Jordie Bellaire fills this debut issue with shadows and there's an ominous palette throughout. These are not the bright lights you might see in X-O Manowar, this is some gritty, foreboding stuff. I particularly like Bellaire's use of red when we get to the weird rich people party. It conveys a sense of danger as these people suddenly realize they went too far and are staring at the ends of their lives.

Shadowman puts horror front and center in the Valiant Universe. It's a great introduction to the character and the terrifying monsters he encounters on a regular basis. This is an intriguing mystery to start off this new adventure and it's full of potential.


Story: fourstars Cover
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Art: fivestars
Overall: 4.5 Star Rating

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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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