Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Shadowman #1 (New Valiant)

He is the walker between the worlds, immortal Voodoo warrior. He is...The Shadow Man!...

Jack Boniface is living a normal life in New Orleans when he finds records convicting his parents of multiple violent crimes. Angry, Jack discards a family amulet he's always won around his neck, which turns out to be a bad mistake... Elsewhere in the city, a gruesome monster is born into the world of the living, in servitude to the sinister Master Darque...

Before I talk about the latest iteration of this character, I've one thing to talk about first.

I don't actually know what to think of the Acclaim era Shadowman. From what I've read in some previews on Comixology, the writing seems crap, and the artwork is terrible for about a dozen issues, but Acclaim's Bloodshot and XO Man-O-War are both really good, and easily surpass their original Valiant counterparts, so who knows, maybe it's a good series. I'll give it a shot someday.

As for New Valiant's Shadowman, there was no room for interpretation. I knew I hated it!...After a phase of sorta liking it, followed by indifference. So for several months, I had zero interest in reading this series, but you know what? I think I've flip-flopped back around, and actually don't think it's too bad now. So in other probably can't trust my opinion at all when it comes to this comic. Although I'm definitely glad that I like it a bit more than I previously did, because I absolutely want to like Shadowman, and I'd be a pretty sorry case if literally the only entry in the franchises I enjoy is the N64 game*!

*As for the sequel, I've no idea. I got it off of eBay, but I've never played it due to Sony's 'Fuck you, give us money' tactic of removing backwards compatibility (that is, the ability to play PS1 and 2 games) from the PS3...and it's not even on their virtual store...Granted, most things aren't on there, which makes the FYGUM tactic even more infuriating.

The story in this opening issue is minimal, but serviceable. It introduces the lead character decently, but that's practically all it does, as we don't really know anything about Deadside, Master Darque, the Abettors, or what they're fighting for, or what a Shadowman even is. That was what originally made me hate this issue, but now, I find it a bit more tolerable.

One positive is that at least we know a bit about what's going on here, as opposed to Classic Valiant's Shadowman, which started off with much less. There, Jack is a guy who suddenly feels badass at night, and becomes a vigilante. And vigilante is the only V word that the supposedly voodoo themed series ever had, whereas this Shadowman's Voodoo might actually be Voodoo, go fucking figure! (Since New Valiant lacks the character of Solar, that means there's no death of the first universe stuff, hence no 'death energy' from the event to seem like magic, but really be science.).

As well as Jack, this issue also introduces the characters of Dox and Alyssa, two members of a group called the Abettors, who have something to do with the Shadow Man lineage (it's not explained in this issue). I think Dox is meant to be a little person, but I can't be sure if that's the case, or if the artwork's perspective is just not very good with him. As for Alyssa, so far, she seems like a pretty generic psychic chick.

This issue does have some pretty goofy stuff happening, and I would say that having a meat demon named Mr. Twist who makes jokes about chicken and later wears a white tux is way too stupid...but frankly, this isn't the goofiest the Shadow Man franchise has ever gotten...

He may be goofy as all Deadside, but Jaunty is awesome! The same can also be said for Marco Cruz.

While my recommendation of anything Shadowman is always first and foremost for you to track down the game, this series so far is a decent take on the character. And I've certainly seen worse done with the franchise...

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