Long ago, in the antebellum South, Master Darque’s evil spawned the one thing that could stop him: the Shadowman. Discover how the Darques’ depravity has intertwined with Shadowman for more than a century and the betrayal that forged them both in this special standalone bookend to Shadowman’s first year in the Valiant Universe.
From the bloodied battlefields of Gettysburg to the darkest corners of the Deadside, Harvey Award-nominated writer Justin Jordan (The Strange Talent of Luther Strode) and an all-star cast of comics talent expand the origin saga that Bloody Disgusting calls “simply flawless” on September 4th, only in Shadowman #10!
Cover- This is now my favorite Shadowman (2012) cover. Sandria Darque pregnant holding her womb adorned with rune symbols wrapped in the shadows of the loa.
Story- Our tale opens with Marius Boniface a soldier being saved by Sandria Darque. She then joins the army as a magical aid and falls for Mr. Boniface. When her evil brother comes for her the two manage to escape to New Orleans where she gives birth to their child. Master Darque arrives and Sandria uses her powers to destroy her child’s physical body to save his life and bond him to his father creating the Shadowman who has power to kill master Darque. They try to kill him but he lashes out with his powers and the house is engulfed in flame. Marius carries Sandria from the fire transformed, the very first Shadowman.
Emotion- One thing that this issue illustrates beautifully was the emotions of all those involved. Sandria’s fear of her brother, her brothers heartless cruelty and Marius’ love of Sandria. One of the most powerful scenes involved Master Darque coming to ‘rescue’ his sister, his very reason for living the one person who he would sacrifice everything for (See Shadowman #0 for details). His fear and panic that she had been captured was tangible and the realization that she had tried to escape him because of fear was heartbreaking. Justin Jordan has this pitch perfect portrayal of Darque that gives him so much depth and dimension; I would pay good money to read an ongoing on the character. Sandria’s longing to connect with the world was also touching and finding Marius who loved her beyond her appearance was simply divine. The shock on Marius’ face when he saw his none crying child and its later disintegration in his arms (Shadowman #0 has details on that as well) the shock, terror and righteous fury as he attacked Darque tethered me to these characters much more than Jack Boniface has managed so far.
Action-None of the over the top stuff but just enough to keep things exciting.
Art- The first half of the book was beautifully rendered and fit the tone and mood of the book very well.
Black Heroes- Introducing ladies and gentlemen the very first Shadowman, Marius Boniface! This guy I would follow in a mini-series or an ongoing.
The Origin- Finally the curtains drops and we know how the Shadow Loa came to be and it’s connection to both the Boniface Lien and the Darque’s.
Art- This issue was almost perfect. Then we had the sudden shift to another artist and it pulled me from deep inside the story and placed me back on my chair looking through the window. My biggest complaint about this book is the inconsistency of art. Comics are a visual medium just like movies and if the art detracts from the story or hurts the flow then you’re in trouble.
Jack Boniface- Some major work will be needed to make Jack half as engaging as Master Darque, Sandria or even Marius. Next month we are back to following boring one dimensional Jack Boniface, yay!
Shadowman #10 is another flashback and incidentally one of the best issues Justin Jordan has written for this series thus far. This is a emotional thrill ride with an absolutely stunning cover, complex and truly realized villains and the origin of the Shadowman line that makes perfect sense and springboards us into the next phase of Shadowman from Valiant! 4.5/5