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Review – Shadowman #1 (Valiant Entertainment)

Shadowman #1 (Valiant Entertainment) cover A (detail) by Jon Davis-Hunt
  • Writing - 8.7/10
    8.7/10
  • Art - 8.3/10
    8.3/10
  • Overall - 8.5/10
    8.5/10

Shadowman #1

Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Jon Davis-Hunt
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Maturity Rating: Teen +
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Release Date: April 28, 2021

Jack Boniface is the Shadowman. Keeper of a powerful voodoo spirit, he haunts the New Orleans streets not only as a talented musician, but as the only one that can keep the demons from the Deadside at bay.

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8.5/10
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Fight Off Your Demons in Shadowman #1

In Shadowman #1 we are introduced to Jack Boniface, a talented musician living in the “Big Easy”, New Orleans. Boniface is a regular haunt in the city, playing shows and living life, but he has a secret. His family line passes down a powerful Voodoo spirit, the Shadow Loa. He is blessed and cursed as the Shadowman. Jack Boniface is the only thing that protects us from the demons from the Deadside. Sometimes those demons like to play with humans. In Shadowman #1 we enter the wild world of the Shadowman and the horrors he faces.

Shadowman #1 (Valiant Entertainment) cover C by Dave Johnson
Shadowman #1 (Valiant Entertainment) cover C by Dave Johnson

Now, I know next to nothing about Shadowman myself, besides seeing the very cool design often. With writer Cullen Bunn coming on board, with talented artist Jon Davis-Hunt and colorist extraordinaire Jordie Bellaire on board, this seemed like the perfect time to read my very first Shadowman issue. Let us see how it goes.

Writing

As noted, Cullen Bunn takes the helm for Shadowman #1. Bunn seems like a no-brainer for the supernatural hero of Shadowman. From his work on Sixth Gun, Rogue Planet, The Unsound, an underrated Moon Knight run, and many, many other horror-themed books, Bunn is a perfect fit for the gothic, horror-filled Shadowman #1.

Bunn does have a tricky scenario with Shadowman #1. He has to introduce the character to people like me who have never read him and deliver a compelling story, but also try to please long-time Shadowman fans as well, while also creating his own unique story. 

For the most part I, as a new reader, feel that Bunn did a pretty solid job of diving me right into the Shadowman world. While maybe we don’t get everything we need to know about Jack Boniface, Bunn gets enough of his story across to bring you into the fold. 

I believe Bunn does an excellent job of mixing some horror and super-heroics in Shadowman #1. The story has this wonderful gothic horror feel and tone to it. Bunn plays well with Jack and what he is up against, while also delivering a compelling story that I am excited to follow along with.

Art

Jon Davis-Hunt handles the art duties in Shadowman #1. First great action to start the issue that you can see in the preview pages. That demon monster looks fabulous. Wonderful details throughout the whole issue. Jon brings the horror to visual life in Shadowman #1. Great overall character design, as well. That Shadowman look is a classic that has always been eye-catching since its 1992 debut. But, every character is wonderfully designed in Shadowman #1.

I do wish the action was a little more dynamic. The characters and action feel “stiff” through the issue. Jon does excel at building this horror narrative and theme. His scene set-ups are fantastic, and he does an excellent job of building up story tension with his panel structure and different scene angles. 

Jordie Bellaire does not disappoint on colors in Shadowman #1 (as if there were a question that she would). I adore the grainy texture she gives the issue. It adds a wonderful, almost dirty feel to the issue and captures the more horror-oriented scenes perfectly.

Conclusion

Shadowman #1 is a great introduction to the character for new readers and I feel a solid story for longtime Shadowman fans. Bunn does an excellent job of mixing horror and a bit of super-heroics. He makes Jack a compelling lead character and one I am interested in following. The art is very well done with a wonderful eye for detail. Shadowman #1 has an excellent horror vibe and tone that the character needs and fans will surely enjoy.


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