Review: Shadow Service #2 (Vault Comics)

Writer: Cavan Scott
Artist: Corin Howell
Colorist: Triona Farrell
Letterer: Andworld Design
Designer: Tim Daniel 
Cover: Aaron Campbell
On Sale: 9/23/2020

Shadow Service is a gruesome look into the world of magic and espionage. 

PLOT AND STORY

Gina is a witch who spent her life believing she was the only person with these types of powers. Getting by as a private investigator Gina was just about coping with her life until she is kidnapped by supernatural secret agents. She requires all her skills to escape Hex, the mysterious head of MI666.

The writer Cavan Scott has created an interesting character in Gina who I would compare to being a female John Constantine. There are many similarities between the two characters whilst having their own unique personalities. Plagued with memories of a dark past has kept Gina alone with her only companion being a talking rat called Edwin.

Set in England and predominantly London makes a wonderful change in comics. Being British myself means all the humour and pop culture references really connect and has me completely engaged in where this journey takes us. I really like Gina and care about what happens to her which is a huge compliment to the writer after only 2 issues. 

Now having met the agents from MI666 I’m keen to see where this story takes us and how it affects Gina’s working alone dynamic. Will this become a team up story or will MI666 not be quite what they seem? I for one can’t wait to see what happens.

This is a story about magic but it’s no Sabrina or Harry Potter. What makes this story stand out is its use of horror and dark magic. We are not talking about pantomime monster of the week type ghouls, we are treated to evil, disgusting looking creatures which jump out of the page into your nightmares.

ARTWORK

Artist Korin Howell and colourist Triona Farrell have created a dark, detailed and quite simply beautiful book. Sticking with the Constantine comparisons which followed through in some of the artwork,  this series feels reminiscent to the great John Ridgway run on Hellblazer. Shadow Service has that same feel and tone with a modern setting and color scheme.

This book does not shy away from blood and guts while not relying solely on it for impact. There are moments when we are presented with a shocking scene of a dead body or an injury but it’s the detail that draws you in and that’s what stands out. 

Letters are by Andworld Design who have been a favourite of mine for a while having enjoyed their work on Justice League Odyssey. Often the forgotten member of a creative team but the letters at times are just as important as the art. The art gives you the journey but the letters give you the context and the inner feelings. I in particular like Andworld Designs use of dialogue boxes for the running inner monologue from Gina as it feels like two levels of story are happening simultaneously. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Shadow Service is another surprise hit from Vault Comics who continue to deliver fresh new comics. This story connects with me because of my admiration for Hellblazer and Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics while creating something new that excites me. I like a cliffhanger and issue number 2 has left me dangling dangerously on the edge where I don’t even think Sly Stalone could save me from. I need issue 3 now!

I read this via an advance preview copy issued by Vault Comics and received no incentive to review this comic.

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