Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Pedro Andreo
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Release Date: 16th February 2022
Strangely reminiscent, at least to begin with, of William Malone’s 1999 horror flick remake House on Haunted Hill, Cullen Bunn’s script for issue six of Shadowman grips the reader straight from the start, and doesn’t let them go until the twenty-page periodical ends with a truly alarming cataclysmic conclusion. In fact, even this comic’s more sedentary sequences, such as when Alyssa somewhat unwisely decides to investigate New Orleans’ graveyard during the dead of night with her new crew of Abettors, are still packed full of tension due to an all-pervading atmosphere of undead awakenings and ghoulish grotesques clamouring for the flesh of the living; “This cemetery is crawling with malevolent spirits. We’re not safe here. Not safe at all. Especially if the light goes — uh…”
Leading the charge for this book’s compelling narrative is the premise that the titular character has been drawn to a long abandoned sanatorium outside Dennings, Missouri, following reports of “innocent people” being abducted by some utterly insane surgeon who has subsequently been offering their mutilated corpses up as hosts to Deadside demons. This is a chilling concept that will likely send literal shivers down the reader’s spines and makes Jack Boniface’s battle against overwhelming odds even more petrifying, as it’s clear just what the so-called false priest’s ghastly fate will be should he be unsuccessful in his escape and have the Loa ripped from his flesh by his grisly-looking assailants.
Perhaps this publication’s biggest draw however, is the return of the “British magic-user” Punk Mambo, who quickly makes her mark upon the adventure by momentarily outwitting Shadowman’s all-powerful adversaries with the spectral smoke from a Ghost Lantern. Smart-mouthed and as sassy as ever, the Mohawk-sporting rocker with a penchant for Voodoo magic not only helps show just how out of their depth the likes of Alyssa and her friends are with their “fancy torches”, but also strongly suggests that Boniface himself may well be unlikely to succeed against the personification of the Deadside alone.
Undeniably helping all these terrifying trials and tribulations with his top-tier penciling is Pedro Andreo, whose sketches of the sewn-up victims of the aforementioned homicidal physician are genuinely the stuff of nightmares. In addition, the artist somehow manages to imbue Victoria Greaves-Trott with all the physical feistiness fans of Peter Milligan’s co-creation would expect, especially when a supposedly disinterested Mambo is cajoled into helping Jack by the ghost of Marie Laveau.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]