Review: Shadowman #4 by Justin Jordan, Patrick Zircher, and Brian Reber

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Review:  Shadowman #4

Published by Valiant Entertainment

Written by Justin Jordan and Patrick Zircher

Art by Patrick Zircher

Coloured by Brian Reber

The Plot

The story begins with Alyssa in danger from the ghosts and Shadowman making a timely entrance and he manages to save her.  Meanwhile, Devereaux is speaking with the Five Heads of the Brethren about Mr. Twist’s recent actions.  They also discuss the arrangement that they have made with Darque.  Elsewhere, Mr. Twist has Dox in captivity and tries to utilize the Veves on his chest to make a gateway.  Fortunately, Shadowman and Alyssa are on the other end of the gateway and this time he takes the fight to Mr. Twist.  However, Dox soon realizes what Mr. Twist’s true role is with relation to Darque.  They all end up in Deadside and Shadowman recognizes Darque even though he does not understand why.  Shadowman is then able to find a way to confront Mr. Twist in Deadside and he ultimately escapes with Alyssa and Dox.  Jack then re-emerges and he speaks with both Dox and Alyssa.  There is still a lot that Jack needs to learn about the conflict and they all head off to the diner that he frequents.  Over in Deadside Darque speaks with Jaunty (the monkey) and demands that he help him find a way out.,.

The Breakdown

Another enjoyable issue.  There’s a lot of mythos to get through in this series and once it’s all firmly established I think this series will really take off from there.  I liked the explanation of what the ghosts are and why they are.  I also liked that Alyssa directly stated that she doesn’t do the damsel in distress thing as she’s usually the one doing the saving.  I enjoy reading strong female leads and I think that she’ll be a good one.  Dox determining what Mr. Twist’s role was actually made him seem more useful in this issue as well.  I’m glad that Shadowman is starting to slowly realize his abilities as he was a much stronger adversary than he was a couple of issues ago.  I liked how he dealt with Mr. Twist.  Shadowman being able to recognize Darque makes me wonder how far back their conflict goes.  Shadowman’s “master” comment was a good one and I enjoy how Jack’s personality is not absorbed when he becomes Shadowman.  I wasn’t sure if he would be or not back in issue one when he first turned into Shadowman.  The one thing that I’m looking forward to with the return of Darque is how Jack will succeed where his father failed before him.  Now that they have a moment to breathe, Dox will be able to inform Jack of what happened in the past and perhaps help him get some closure with that.  I’m also like how Jack isn’t the reluctant hero.  I thought this might be the case before because of the nature of his relationship with Shadowman.  The art by Zircher is really damn fine.  Some of the pages are very well done and I had to do a double take with them.  He really tackles some difficult angles with his work and the end result makes for some better storytelling on his part.  Reber provides some awesome colours in this issue and the one panel where Shadowman is coming out of the portal was very well done.  His colours are what makes Deadside better visually.  This was a fairly quick issue to get through because it was action heavy and it wrapped up the Mr. Twist portion of the storyline.  All in all, I enjoyed the read.

BUT…

Other than seeing the upcoming battle with Shadowman, I just don’t have a lot of interest in Darque.  This could possibly be from not reading the previous Shadowman series, but I trust that more of his backstory will be explained now that he’ll be more of the focus in the upcoming arc.  I’ve noticed a trend of artists leaving the book after the first arc and I really hope that it doesn’t happen here.  Zircher’s art is a major part of why I’m enjoying this title right now.  I’ve avoided reading solicits because I’m scared to find out.

Buy It, Borrow It, Shelf Read It, or Ignore It?

Buy It.  This is one of the very best looking monthly titles on the market right now.  I’ve been enjoying this title and I think that it’ll pick up even more steam now.  Jordan and Zircher have made a compelling story about a hero embracing his role rather than rejecting it.  Valiant focuses on quality and not quantity and this has made their line so much stronger as a result.  I am hoping that Valiant will release another title this year, which will enable me to be able to buy their books every week of the month.

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