Writer: Andy Diggle
Artist: Stephen Segovia
Colourist: Ulises Arreloa
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Review by Josh Rose
Hello darkness, my old friend. We have a new Shadowman again. Because the Valiant Universe was softly creeping and begging for a book to go deeper with Jack Boniface. Shadowman #1 sees a woman named Alyssa investigating something in the bayou of New Orleans that’s making kids sick. When she comes face to face with a giant beast she accidentally summons Jack from the Deadside trying to escape. They succeed in escaping and Jack tells her what he’s been up to for the last 5 years. They summon a loa to try and learn some of the mysteries of the Shadowman, but they are left with just more questions. That’s when Baron Samedi, the loa of the dead, takes over Alyssa’s body and tells Jack to prepare for an upcoming war.
I really like how Andy Diggle has set this up. We are dropped right into a mystery, given the short-short version of the Shadowman story, and then dropped into more mystery. What is the Shadowman Loa’s name and what is this upcoming war? Diggle does a good job of introducing us to Shadowman and Alyssa. I feel like I know them and understand the world Shadowman lives in without having read any previous Shadowman stories. (I’ve read 2 volumes of Shadowman and then he appeared in Ninjak and Rapture as the Magpie, but it’s been a while.)
Stephen Segovia’s art is gorgeous! Big snakey loas, and I love how we can see Jack transform into Shadowman. Baron Samedi looks super creepy. The dude has a skull that’s half black and half white with white dots for eyes. But you know he has style because he’s wearing Victorian garb of the upper class, and he blows cigar smoke out of the hole where his nose should be.
Shadowman #1 had me hitting google, searching up some of the loa’s names. Some of the magic symbols that appeared when Alyssa was summoning magic were the very symbols that represented the loa she was contacting. I’m a big fan of the accuracy.
Ulises Arreola’s colours really seal the deal on it all. He makes light from flashlights looks incredibly realistic. Shadowman coming out of a portal from the Deadside would not be as cool without Arreola’s colours. He makes Shadowman’s white skull pop out against a reddish orange and black swirling portal.
The Verdict: Buy it.
If you are a fan of Shadowman, or are interested in voodoo or Haitian folklore, or both, you need to pick this up. If you’ve never picked up anything Valiant, now is the time. Shadowman #1 gets the series off to a great start and I can’t wait to see where this goes. My excitement for this series is definitely not the Sound of Silence.