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SHADOWMAN has been an iconic staple in the superhero
community since 1992, though few outside of the fan army remember him with the
same tenacity as his more famous Marvel and DC counterparts. Flickering in and
out of the spotlight, Valiant's own flagship superhero was at one point selling
100,000 comic books a month, rivaling that of Batman and Superman and penned by
some the greatest in the industry, like Garth Ennis, Frank Miller and Steve
Ditko. But, as many publishers found themselves in the early 2000s, Valiant's
owner company, Acclaim, shut down all production in anticipation of bankruptcy
and singlehandedly ended the careers of not just SHADOWMAN, but the entire
In 2007, a group of comic professionals bought up the rights
to the entire Valiant comic library and re-launched* all of the former titles.
Ladies and germs, I present to you, the brand-spanking new SHADOWMAN! A hero
for the new millennium, he is part man, part voodoo magic, all ass-kicking
demon slayer! Oh yes, he's back, and he is back with vengeance.
The new SHADOWMAN starts quick and dirty, greeting us with a
splash page of maniacal ghosts spiraling out of the realm of the dead and into
the middle of downtown New Orleans. The original SHADOWMAN, in defiance of his
pregnant wife's request, shows up amid a hail of gunfire and blasts all the
spirits to kingdom come, but at the cost of falling into the spirit world
himself. Two decades later, we are introduced to Jack Boniface, son of SHADOWMAN
who, like any good superhero successor, is now an orphan and unaware of his
most powerful destiny. While he spends his time working at a museum and
researching his parents, an ancient and violent demon has found his way to
Earth and has completely obliterated an entire bar. The creepy self-named
demon, Mr. Twist—now freshly adorned in the flesh of a few dozen people and two
cops—announces the coming of his master and begins to clear a safe landing path
to Earth, starting with the son of SHADOWMAN. As Jack's destiny becomes clearer,
strange creatures (both human and not) come out of the woodwork and muck up
what seemed like such a quiet, normal life.
SHADOWMAN #1 is a fantastic continuation of an already
strong superhero legacy, proving that even characters once tossed to the fates
of the fandom gods can come back better than ever. It also shows that
superheroes and horror can not only get along, but make comics that appeal to
fans of both sides. Author Justin Jordan does a great job of balancing magic,
muscles and mayhem while delicately handling the matter of rebooting such a
huge figure to a new audience. The art, by long-standing industry artist
Patrick Zircher, adds depth to the large, demonic fight scenes and sexy, sexy
ladies, crafting a whole new image of this classic title. An eerie, demonic, face-smashing
good time, SHADOWMAN is worth your time whether returning to the fold, or a
*Valiant is also rebooting the likes of Bloodshot and Harbinger. If you've been
missing your early 90s superheroes, keep your eyes peeled.
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