Zero issues are actually a lie if you think about it. While this issue can in fact be read without reading any of the other issues, the other issues are what make this issue so damn good. If you don’t know what Darque becomes it’s hard to appreciate where he came from. Even still, this issue serves two purposes: The first is to give new readers a chance to jump on to the series and the second is to treat current readers to a different look at the story, and what a story it is!
It begins in the year 1812 in Louisiana. Master Darque has just witnessed the birth of his two albino twin children: One boy and one girl. The daughter Sandria narrates our story as she talks about her father and brother Nicodemo. Their father raises them practicing magic and while Sandy is content with being as normal of a kid as she can, Nicky desperately wants to please his father. One day he asks Sandy to study and she ignores him; he lashes out and kills her rabbit while still in her hands. She runs for their father and when she comes back Nicky has tried to recreate the rabbit, but it’s a distorted creature at best. Their father sends them away while he deals with the rabbit and when he talks to them again he tells them about a place that they can travel to learn and practice magic. From that day forward he begins grooming them to help him reach Lyceum.
As Sandy and Nicky grow older and their freaky twin connection grows, they eventually grow… too close. Like Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch close if you know what I mean. No lines are crossed in this issue, but we can see it as the reader and so does the father.
I always find the villains side of the story to be very interesting. A lot of the times they end up a being the product of the “nature vs nurture” argument and Darque is a great example of it. He’s literally raised learning dark magic and taught nothing else of the world. Not morals, not even love really. Sure he loves his sister, but you can re-read the previous paragraph to figure out why that’s not so hot either.
The narration from Sandy is perfect for the story. She’s the right voice as she’s very innocent and almost naive in a sense. She can tell what her brother’s capable of, but ignores it due to his love for her. Jordan’s dialog is fitting of the story and he manages to tell the entire story in the confines of the house and the front yard. It’s pretty amazing to hold the readers interest with only a couple of settings, but granted the passing of time helps for sure.
I really couldn’t tell you when the art shifts in this book, but there are four different artists on the issue. Perhaps I was so emerged within the story that I couldn’t be bothered to notice. While there isn’t a ton of action, there is plenty to enjoy visually like an exploding rabbit… and then that same rabbit in a bloody grotesque form. Again, the scenes don’t really move around so I have to give the art team a lot of credit as well for keeping the story visually interesting as much as the writing kept the narrative interesting.
This zero issue might be a bit of a lie and really could have easily been the next issue in the ongoing numbering, but it works either way. I thought it kicked a lot of ass and showed off the range Justin Jordan has as a writer. Now that he’s solo on the series, I’m actually looking forward to seeing what he can do that’s outside of his norm and I think this is a prime example of it. If you’re new to Shadowman then this is a great issue to jump on board with.
Writer: Justin Jordan
Artist: Roberto De La Torre and Mico Suayan with Lewis LaRosa and Neil Edwards
Publisher: Valiant Comics
Release Date: 5/1/13