Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Pedro Andreo
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Release Date: 13th April 2022
Whilst some bibliophiles may well be scratching their heads as to just how the exorcism of something so incredibly vast as the Deadside actually worked, or just why the successful spiritual practice resultantly causes Persephone to physically manifest herself on Earth, the vast majority of this comic’s readers should still enjoy an absolute roller-coaster of a thrill-ride with Cullen Bunn’s narrative to Issue Eight of “Shadowman”. Indeed, as cataclysmic comic-sized conclusion’s go the American author’s plot for this twenty-page periodical is pretty much faultless, courtesy of the title’s considerably-sized leading cast all having a crucial role to play in the battle against a dimension packed full of soul-hungry, grotesquely-shaped ghouls.
Furthermore, the Cape Fear-born writer doesn’t simply resort to relying upon this series’ anti-heroes unconvincingly summoning up the power to topple a seemingly undefeatable foe from within, but takes the opportunity to demonstrate the competing politics which are at play amongst the Valiant Universe’s nefarious deities instead. This decision by the ‘powers that be’ not to resist having their supernatural sovereignties temporarily siphoned away into the likes of Punk Mambo and the Abettors, definitely helps establish the unified, fictional world which the New York City-based publishers are trying to create across their various book titles, as well as provides the storyline with a ‘believable’ explanation as to how Jack Boniface’s alter-ego can suddenly wield such god-like abilities.
Equally as engaging is the notion that despite all this non-corporeal clout, Shadowman’s victory over the Deadside is far from assured. In fact, this comic’s already palpably tense atmosphere is distinctly raised a notch or two higher once some of the more formidable blights return to their home world so as to confront Victoria Greaves-Trott and the British magic-user’s friends for a final time; “Oi! Darque! Over here! Like the bauble? I believe you were trapped inside for a bit, yeah? Well, mummy’s cross with you. And I’m sending you back to your room!”
Also adding plenty of additional flourishes to this book’s storytelling is Pedro Andreo, who does an incredible job of cramming a planet-wide invasion of horrible, nightmare-inducing monstrosities within the confines of a single publication. The Spanish illustrator’s redesign of the Abettors once they have become invested with the powers of the Gods is a particular highlight, as is the artist’s penciling of Mambo’s aforementioned battle with “the world’s most powerful necromancer” and his hordes of multi-toothed minions.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]