Top positive review
The Return of Jack Boniface
Reviewed in the United States on July 31, 2014
The new Shadowman is the fifth title to be reintroduced by the new Valiant. The third incarnation of the character, Shadowman is arguably the most famous of the Valiant properties based on the successful videogame based on the concept back in the late ‘90s. This new version seeks to meld what was successfully about the prior two versions - both the costumed vigilante of the original series, and the mystic defender against the realms of the dead from the second. I appreciate the attempts to be inclusive of the prior visions, as I thought they were both strong points, and this title starts to fill in a long vacant supernatural corner of the Valiant Universe.
Jack Boniface was orphaned as a young boy, and spends most of his life in and out of foster-care till eventually getting out on his own. He knows little about his original parents; aside from an amulet his mother gave him with the instructions to always wear it. What is unknown to Jack is that his family line is cursed/blessed with the birthright of the Shadowman, mystical voodoo protector of the realm of the living against incursions from other realms, most notably – The Deadside, a horrible realm where dead souls can be trapped and all the nasty things that go bump in the night dwell. A horrible sorcerer named Master Darque, long thought banished by jack’s father, is making a play to return to reality, and part of that play is making sure there will be no Shadowman to oppose him.
This is the first Valiant title that I had mixed feelings towards. I’ll start off with what is truly awesome… the art. Patrick Zircher draws this entire first arc, and does an amazing job. Unfortunately, the story itself is the weaker aspect, which is what is so surprising for a Valiant title. Alas, too much of this was predictable, super-hero cheesy, or just downright bad scripting. While the story itself is compelling, the scripting surely suffers. But, as many have said before… the worst Valiant script is still leagues above some of the other junk that is available in the comic-book marketplace.
I do consider this volume of Shadowman to be an important purchase if you are a fan of the Valiant Universe. The VU is an interconnected place of many different flavors and genres, and Shadowman begins to flesh out an important one.