Editor’s note before I write this review — I used to edit “Shadowman” back in the
famous infamous famous “VH2/Acclaim” version of the book. At that time, Garth Ennis & Jamie Delano were on scripts, Ashley Wood & Charlie Adlard handled art, and Shadowman himself was a hitman named Zero/Michael LeRoi. This version opened with the original Shadowman, Jack Boniface, horribly horribly horribly (horribly) mutilated and quite dead — as if to say, “to heck with that guy, it’s a brand new day and a brand new Shadowman.”
Well, “VH2” went the way of the dodo — and Jack is back!
The new “Shadowman,” as written by Justin Jordan (“The Strange Talent of Luther Strode”) and Patrick Zircher (“Captain America,” “Hulk”), with art by Zircher, is as slick and engaging as your favorite cable drama, and as wildly *sick* with demonic happenings as all get out. Our protagonist — again, named Jack Boniface — has a troubled past, with mysterious parents that suddenly exited his life, giving him only a strange amulet as a going-away present. Currently working (as luck would have it) in a New Orleans Voodoo museum, Boniface just knows there is some sort of larger destiny out there for him, one very much tied to his absent parents. But he ignores the Hero’s Call — to disastrous results. Will Jack embrace his true destiny in time?
What ensues is an epic battle against darkness and light that sees the likes of infamous classic Valiant villain Master Darque and what seems like the Legion of Hell. What could easily be the fodder for a cheesy “B” movie is written with realism and conviction by author Jordan, who has clearly read up on his Joseph Campbell. Zircher’s art has never been so razor-sharp as it is in “Shadowman,” rendering subtle facial characterizations and meaty hell-teeth-guys with equal aplomb.
Uh-oh, this will not end well…
As for whether this Shadowman will prove to stack up against the other versions? Admittedly, I’m a little biased (and I’ll always love that Lestat-pretty-pretty version of Master Darque I edited) — but the foundations are there. It’s time to go along for the ride with this new Valiant comic — or, as they say in Vodoun, be “ridden.”
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