Review by Karl Verhoven
Shadowman has been given makeovers since his 1992 introduction, but essentially remains Jack Boniface, New Orleans resident, cursed to protect humanity from demons that seep over from the Deadside. Jon Davis-Hunt’s spectacular sample spread accompanied by Cullen Bunn’s dialogue fairly well explains the premise.
If you believe Baron Samedi, and there’s no reason why you should, there are places where the partition between the Deadside and Earth is dangerously thin and “sooner or later the veil will become so weak it will no longer hold the Deadside back”. It leaves Bunn with the relatively simple plot of touring Shadowman around what are known as blights and having him deal with the problems.
That set-up leads to repetition of the monster of the week scenario, although they’re all astoundingly well designed by Davis-Hunt, as is his sinewy version of Shadowman. Davis-Hunt also supplies a charismatic Baron Samedi, here seemingly little more than a visual attraction and Shadowman’s sounding board.
When the revelation comes that the Deadside wants to engulf Earth, it’s hardly a stunner, much less a page-turning chapter ending leading to Book Two, cementing the impression that without Davis-Hunt this would be really ordinary and unimaginative. There’s no counter-plot, no diversions, just Shadowman and Samedi touring various cities and closing down blights. A mysterious woman is supposed to intrigue, but has so little relevance that they don’t provide the intended purpose, and when their identity is revealed there’s no more imagination than in the remainder. Davis-Hunt produces art good enough to drag Shadowman Book One up to an average rating, but Bunn is going through the motions. Book Two must surely be an improvement.