By Robert Lazauskas
Like the rest of Valiant’s relaunches, Shadowman was better than I could have expected. I wasn’t familiar with Justin Jordan’s writing ( Sorry Strode fans! ) and when I think of an artist to handle a New Orleans based voodoo horror story, Patrick Zircher doesn’t jump to the top of the list. I love being wrong.
The story is fast paced and exciting. Jordan uses a lot of superhero themes, ( dead parents, mysterious past, elder mentor, feisty sidekick, etc. ) and showcasing them in a horror setting makes the book seem fresh yet familiar. Jordan sets up mysteries and gives just as many questions as answers as the story progresses without any heavy-handed talking-head-dialogue or over-exposition.
Valiant seems to be following DC’s New 52 formula of stripping away anything too retro or goofy from their characters and freeing them up from past incarnations’ “baggage”. Gone is the psuedo-Vampire vigilante saxophone player from the original Valiant run. Gone is the tight blue spandex onesie and Mardi Gras mask. Jordan steeps him deep and fast into the realm of Voodoo and necromantic magic.
Patrick Zircher’s re-design of Shadowman‘s costume, like the rest of the art in this book, is amazing. He matches Jordan’s fast paced story with cinematic page after cinematic page. His characters are all individuals with their own sets of expressions and features.
His depictions of The Deadside and The Lyceum are stuff of Clive Barker level imagining, and his use of warping anatomy in the villain Mr. Twist is detailed and over the top, picture a ten foot tall multi-eyed demon composed of the muscle tissue of six dead men being fit for a white gangster suit by an elderly shaking tailor surround by his eviscerated co workers.
And how do you take Master Darque, arguably Valiant’s coolest designs ever, and make him cooler and more sinister? If your Zircher you take the tattooed albino monk, give him some wicked skull to face scars and put him in crimson armor reminiscent of Coppola’s Dracula. Well done Mr. Zircher.
I recommend Shadowman, like the I do the rest of the Valiant Line (X-O Manowar, Harbinger, Bloodshot, and Archer and Armstrong), to both fans of the original Valiant run and new-comers looking to enjoy well written, well drawn books without getting bogged down in the history and weight that comes with collecting superhero books of the Big 2.
Preview of Shadowman #4 on sale today!
SHADOWMAN #4 – ON SALE FEBRUARY 6th!
Written by JUSTIN JORDAN & PATRICK ZIRCHER
Art & Cover by PATRICK ZIRCHER (DEC121268)
Cover by DAVE JOHNSON (DEC121269)