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Shadowman #7 [Review]

Shadowman (2012) #7 [cover]Writer: Justin Jordan
Pencils: Neil Edwards
Inks: Matt Ryan
Color Art: Brian Reber
Covers: Patrick Zircher, Dave Johnson, Matthew Waite
Letters: Rob Steen
Editor: Jody LeHeup
Published by: Valiant
Cover Price: $3.99

I feel kind of like I missed an issue. Without going back to re-read the series-thus-far, I vaguely remember where the story left off before last month’s #0 issue, but jumping into this issue I found myself wondering if I truly remembered, or had a slight bit of deja vu from reading the catch-up text on the inside cover.

We find Shadowman and his compatriots facing Baron Samedi, and ultimately coming to a sort of “understanding” in their mutual goal of preventing Darque from crossing from the Deadside in to the “real world.” As the deal unfolds, not everyone is on the same page, and one of our heroes seems to make a bit of a mistake that looks like it’s going to cost the group next issue.

If my summary is brief and vague…there’s something about this series, where it’s one I’m enjoying…but it’s a sort of enjoy-as-I-read-it more than it is remembering-after-I’ve-read-it. As it is with much of what I read these days. I read an issue, and that’s fine, but it doesn’t stick with me much beyond the reading, until/unless I delve back in to construct a better summary for a review…but then I may be over-analyzing, and going back in to pick things apart isn’t “just” the “reading experience” of buying an issue and reading it and planning to continue with the next issue.

As said, I’m enjoying this series in and of itself. The art’s good–I’ve no trouble following what’s going on, there’s no over-fancy or complicated page layouts or funky, stylistic stuff to distract…it’s just good art conveying the story.

And the story itself continues to build on itself–we have the growing threat of Darque, continue to see the characters feel each other out and develop as a group: the duo already familiar with each other before Shadowman was with them, and the Shadowman himself, Jack, who is dealing with his new status quo and with being a new/outsider-y member of the “group” and all that.

As a continuing reader of the series, this is another solid issue. I’m not as “into” this title as say, X-O Manowar or Harbinger…but this is still a welcome part of my Valiant purchasing, and I don’t plan to leave it behind anytime in the near future.

Catching up with Valiant: Archer & Armstrong #0 and Shadowman #0

Archer & Armstrong #0

archerandarmstrong000Gilgamesh as told via Armstrong to Archer. Not a bad premise, given Archer’s virtual immortality, and Archer continuing to learn the “real” world after living the “sheltered” existence he had up to the beginning of this series. Though this is a #0 issue, this story fits in the ongoing continuity, as A&A have been through stuff together already, and are now having some downtime before their next adventure.

The art’s the usual enjoyable quality, mixing with a solid story for an enjoyable issue. This could easily have simply been #10 of the series, as a flashback issue…but given the original Valiant‘s penchant for #0 issues (and that in retrospect, 1993’s X-O Manowar #0 is one of the most iconic single issues I recall from my youth) I think it’s kinda fun having these zero-issues for the current Valiant books.

Even if you’re not following the series in general, if you know the basic concept–Armstrong’s immortal, Archer just escaped a cult and is adjusting to the world around him with Armstrong as his truest friend–this is a nice one-shot story that delves into Armstrong’s past, telling a tale that leads into a scene we saw back in #1 and sheds light on Armstrong as well as the Eternal Warrior.

Shadowman #0

shadowman000This was a rather dark (yet illuminating) issue, providing us with an origin story for Darque. We see his birth and that of his sister, as well as how the children grew up, and the events that led to him becoming what he is, and the character becomes slightly sympathetic in that he’s not JUST some two-dimensional baddie. Sucks what he went through, but there’s a motivation there that one can “understand” a bit.

The art fit the story, and the story fits continuity. While the Archer & Armstrong issue was sort of a flashback issue where we still saw the contemporary title characters, this is a Darque story, and we don’t actually see Shadowman. Which makes this a fine #0 issue–we get backstory on the main villain of the piece, which takes place long before the series, hence a #0 issue (takes place before the events of #1) and as a #0 issue it’s functionally its own thing and doesn’t take away from the ongoing narrative and throughline of the ongoing numbering.

 

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