Great writing and great art make great comics. Valiant continues to produce great comics. Shadowman may have been the last book introduced by the publisher, but it is far from being the least.
Shadowman introduces a darker side of the Valiant Universe. A fantastic, deadly side that goes on beneath the surface. Magic and monsters are all the rage these days. This isn’t just an attempt to cash in on the rising popularity of the horror/fantasy genres. Shadowman is one of the pillars of the Valiant Universe. Co-writers Justin Jordan and Patrick Zircher have, in the span of 2 issues, reintroduced all the major elements of the story. While doing that, they have also updated it, making it fit our world of smartphones and smart bombs.
They have created a Jack Boniface that we can easily relate to. He’s just this guy who wants to know where he came from, who he is. It just happens that he is the latest host to a powerful Shadow Loa that will give him superhuman strength and powers. Luckily for us, the reader, Jack is finding out all about this stuff at the same time we are. Like any young man who is setting off on a journey of discovery, he finds a mentor to help him along the way. Enter Alessanlro Paradojo Dek Verdad, but just call him Dox; a man who may have many of the answers Jack has been searching for. He knew Jack’s parents but, more importantly, he knows what Jack is.
It must be a challenge for Jordan and Zircher (who also handles the art chores). One of Valiant’s hallmarks has always been to root their fantastic elements in the mundane of the real world. They follow the laws of physics that other publishers don’t always adhere to (X-O Manowar’s time dilation aboard a superluminal space ship, following Einstein’s relativistic model, is a great example). With magic, rules are harder. I like the approach they are taking with it. It’s science, just science so advanced that it’s indistinguishable from magic. (Yes, that’s Arthur C. Clark they are quoting.)
Shadowman appeals to a wide range of readers. If you like books like Animal Man, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Walking Dead, you’ll find a book you’ll enjoy here. It’s superheroes. It’s fantasy. Its horror. The thing is, none of the genres is watered down by the others. It is a perfect blend of spandex, blood and magic. I rarely give books a 5 star rating. For me that perfect score is something to aspire to. This book is as close to it as any book I have read in years.
If you are not reading Shadowman, you are missing out.
A $3.99 comic, 32pgs
From Valiant Comics
Written by Justin Jordan & Patrick Zircher
Art & Cover by Patrick Zircher
Variant Cover by Dave Johnson