Review by Frank Plowright
Justin Jordan’s run on Shadowman ends here as he supplies the origin stories of Master Darque and his twin Sandra, before taking a look at a 19th century incarnation of Shadowman. After the disappointing Darque Reckoning, Jordan’s back on form, offering tragedy, heartbreak and evil in repurposing Shadowman and his main enemy for the use of others. It’s a clever form of new origin, one borne of desperation, and Jordan pulls all the right strings.
However, it’s a story afflicted by the same problem of multiple visually distinct artists that impacted so poorly on Darque Reckoning. There are jumps from someone with an open realistic style to someone with a scratchy expressionistic style, and while there’s nothing that qualifies as poor art, the clashes can be jarring. Valiant aren’t keen on providing individual credits, but it seems to be Roberto De La Torre’s decorative art standing out on the earliest pages, although Mico Suayan is also admirable.
The only artist to complete an entire chapter is Miguel Sepúlvida (sample page), although on a story written by Jim Zub, and he shines when it comes to presenting a parade disrupted by some spirits possessing revellers. They’re obnoxious types, though, so don’t feel too sorry for them when they get theirs. Zub supplies a plot with enough visual cues to ensure it’s different looking, but it’s definitely filler rather than the full Shadowman. The same applies to the following three short stories by assorted creators.
Duffy Boudreau and Diego Bernard supply someone messing with something they know they shouldn’t, while Aleš Kot and Cafu have Shadowman in Deadside with Jaunty encountering a surprising menace. The best of the trio is Christopher Sebela and Matthew Southworth’s crime story, although a valid complaint would be Shadowman only turning up for the final pages.
This is a bitty collection really only for people who love the entire concept of Shadowman and his world, as there’s nothing poor, but beyond some nice art, nothing that really stands out either. If you’d prefer just to have Jordan’s work, his complete run is presented in hardcover as Shadowman Deluxe Edition 1.