This was a good issue, but it mostly serves as a transition issue for the conclusion of the arc. There isn’t a ton of action and the plot barely moves forward and yet it was a good damn issue. It was a character building issue and that’s just as important to inject into a series as plot or fighting (depending on the genre). We learn about the characters, about their alliances and we see just how fragile Jack’s entire world is. We begin in the Deadside following a little girl chasing her rabbit. Suddenly the little girl (who’s a ghost in case you were confused) is grabbed and pulled into the shadows. Three “eaters” appear and grab the rabbit and try to eat it. We see the little girl watching with our talking monkey covering her mouth. From there we see another ghost being captured by the eaters and brought to Darque. He then transforms the ghost into an eater while rattling off some exposition to Dox. That’s right; Dox is still captured and speared against Darque’s “tree”.
Back in the real world Shadowman and the gang are looking over Dox’s body. Something Alyssa says sends Jack’s mind back to a moment he shared with Dox. It’s a great character building moment and it gets Jack’s head on straight. Instead of being out to kick the world’s ass, he realizes that he had a family that he could have been protecting, even if that family had no blood relation to him at all. He grabs the Baron and jumps to the Deadside with the intention of saving Dox and stopping Darque’s plans.
Like I said, there isn’t a lot that happens in this issue. It’s basically just a handful of conversations, but the conversations do wonders for the story and plot. It’s something the series really needed because it’s been non-stop action and excitement from the beginning. The slower pacing of this issue allows for the reader to reset their action expectations and latch onto Jack and company emotionally. It also establishes that Jack can think and plan which is something that has been missing since he took over the mantle of Shadowman. He’s been content with hitting his way through every problem, but now that he can’t do that we have to wait and see what other tricks are up his sleeve.
There are three artists on the issue and while I’m not a big fan of it, it still works. Each artist is given their dedicated section with one of them working on the opening, one of the flashback and one for everything else. It works, but I couldn’t tell you who the main artist was. I know from the announcement that it’s Neil Edwards (though technically he’s not the main artist on this issue), but it doesn’t feel as if he’s truly taken the reins from Zircher yet. That’s hopefully something that will happen in the coming issues. Even still, none of the art was bad or hurt the issue, but it has the potential to hurt the series.
I said last time that when Shadowman began it was just good; meaning that while the art was fantastic to look at the story just never made it over that cusp of greatness. I think it’s there now, it’s a great series, but I doubt everyone will be able to see that until this arc is done. If you missed the beginning of this story arc then I would definitely say that it’s worth going back and picking up either in back issues or digitally.
Writer: Justin Jordan
Artists: Roberto De La Torre, Neil Edwards and Lewis LaRosa
Publisher: Valiant Comics
Release Date: 7/3/13