Well the happy family that Jack could have had is probably going to be facing a lot of consequences after the events of this issue. It may not appear to be an important issue at first glance, but it in fact wraps up this story line for the most part. There is of course the fallout and such, but I’m sure that will be in the next issue and set up the story for the issues that follow. Is this issue strong enough to close out the story arc? Let’s find out. Well if you’ve been paying attention then you know that Dox is stuck on the Deadside after falling victim to Darque. Jack and Baron Samedi jump to the Deadside to stop Darque and save Dox. What they discover is that Darque is destroying the Deadside in order to get it to burst so that he and the monsters he’s created can pour out onto the other side. While Jack fights Darque’s monsters Baron Samedi is led by the talking monkey to the souls that he’s been hiding from Darque. The Baron rallies them to join him in the final battle and they come to Jack’s aid.
It was an ending. The climax wasn’t that big and really it seems like we got here quickly. The build up of Darque being the “Big Bad” was kind of a letdown as well since he doesn’t really do that much. Now that we have the entire arc to look at it, it does come across as him being rushed into the story and rushed back out. My hope is that the next villain will be developed for longer or at the very least will exist in the same plane of existence so we can see them being evil. The writing itself was kind of by the numbers. They rally the troops, something unexpected happens in their favor and then the final battle. It’s the only way it could go, but even still it was kind of dull in its presentation.
There was a ton of help on the art and I’m not really sure why other than deadlines, but nothing stands out and in fact has gotten to the point that it hinders the story. There’s nothing fluid about the art and with five people working on it, it came across as a greatest hits rather than a cohesive team trying to present the same visual experience to the reader. It is unified by the coloring for the most part, but it breaks in style too much to not be distracting. I don’t know what it is about this particular issue that it doesn’t work, but it just doesn’t. It was like a scratch on the cd rather than a smooth track 9.
If you’ve been reading the series then definitely grab this issue since it holds all the resolution you’ve been reading towards, but overall it’s pretty average. I think the next issue might end up being a lot better because it will have some real consequences to deal with from this issue, but we’ll have to wait and see. If you’re a new reader I would go back to the beginning of the arc at the very least because the story will develop quite differently for you, but do not start here. I’m not ruling this series out, but I do think it needs to slow down in general and build Shadowman’s world more before throwing him at another big bad guy; right now he has nothing to lose and nothing to fight for.
Writer: Justin Jordan
Artists: Neil Edwards, Roberto De La Torre, Diego Bernard, Rocco Martellacci and Lewis LaRosa
Publisher: Valiant Comics
Release Date: 8/7/13