Review: Shadowman #1 (Valiant Comics)

Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Jon Davis-Hunt
Colourist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
On Sale: 28th April 2021

Masters of horror CULLEN BUNN and JON DAVIS-HUNT present a terrifying tale that is unlike anything else you will read this week. 

PLOT AND STORY

Jack Boniface, aka SHADOWMAN, protects humanity from the demons that lurk in the alternate dimension known as the Deadside, but the barrier between the two worlds is ripping apart and portals to the Deadside are popping up all over the globe…Will Shadowman be able to save us all, or will the darkness devour the world as we know it?

This is Cullen Bunn at his absolute best by bringing the horror, the gore, the magic and the mystery all out to play in a thoroughly entertaining comic. As far as opening issues go this is about as perfect as you will get. We learn a little about Shadowman and what his job is while meeting an interesting secondary character in Baron Samedi who I’m sure will keep popping up to move the story in different directions. 

I really enjoyed how we don’t know the full origin of Jack Boniface and why he is now the Shadowman so the audience can decide if he is a straight up good guy or a bad guy righting some wrongs. I’m not sure I would class Shadowman as an anti-hero yet but the mystery surrounding him is one of the many things making me sure I return for issue #2.

ARTWORK

Jon Davis-Hunt has drawn a stunning opening issue and Jordie Bellaire’s colours are the icing on the cake. This is a busy book but in such a positive way. Every page is packed full of layered detail which makes you want to stop and study every inch of the page before moving on.

I admire the clean lined characters Davis-Hunt has created and especially the way he depicts Jack Boniface transforming into Shadowman with an almost cloud like mist which washes over him.

Jordie Bellaire floods this book with dark, somber colours complimenting the complexity and risky nature of the story. There are a few pages with some disturbing looking creatures which are given a Sharpe brightness to their bloody covered bodies which makes the gory pages really stand out.

On lettering duty is Clayton Cowles who does something quite simple but makes such a difference to the page which I really enjoyed. When Jack Boniface talks he has the standard black text in a white speech bubble but when Shadowman talks the colours are reversed displaying white letters in a black speech bubble.

FINAL THOUGHTS

If you are a fan of comic and TV characters like Constantine, Swamp Thing or Lucifer then you need to read this book. Captivating and well structured storytelling complimented by some brutal, detailed and graphic artwork. There is nothing I didn’t like and can’t think of any way to improve the issue so this series starts out with a big 10 out of 10.

I read this via an advance preview copy issued by Valiant Comics and received no incentive to review this comic. All images and artwork are courtesy of Valiant Comics and respective owners.

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