Saturday, July 16, 2016

SHADOWMAN by Garth Ennis and Ashley Wood

This darker version of Shadowman bares little resemblance the first (early 90's) and current (2012-) iterations of the character and title. The series was published following the Acclaim buyout of Valiant resulting in a shifting of substance; moving away from the super-hero nature of its predecessor to focus on mature and violent content. It worked for the first 4 chapters (issues) of Shadowman with story and art reminiscent of Frank Miller in full flight before loosing it's way a little with the Deadside chapters.

For the most, those Deadside chapters (1-3) are visually stunning; obscure and obscene styling that compliments the violent and hellish afterlife of the Deadside. Credit to Ashley Wood, his Deadside and characters are truly horrifying. Where this 'act ' drops the ball, so to speak, is with Paul Jenkins' storytelling. There is little to link Deadside with the early story (setting aside) which left the first act (Shadowman 1-4) reading a tad incomplete. While still enjoyable, Deadside (1-3) largely reads as three distinct standalone chapters highlighting the horrors of the Deadside and it's murderous inhabitants. I'd feel better about the Deadside act had chapter 4 been more than an unpublished script. I don't know what the people at Valiant, in reprinting these stories, didn't invest in an artist to ink the script for the purpose of this collection. 

The Garth Ennis and Ashley Wood Shadowman is a must read for Shadowman and horror comics/graphic novel readers. This collection is dark and violent with characters that leap off the page full of murderous intent. 

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Would I re-read? Yes

Fiction Filed under: Horror, Deadside, Shadowman, Graphic Novels

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