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Early Review: SHADOWMAN #1

Valiant's relaunch of Shadowman begins a new era here! Jack Boniface discovers he's more than just your everyday man. Check out what we thought in this spoiler free review!

On November 7th, Valiant relaunches their classic book SHADOWMAN for a whole new generation of readers. The original SHADOWMAN volume ran 43 issues and it ended in 1995. It's been 17 years since readers have a book starring this character, and Valiant introduces him in a whole new way.

The Good

Cover to issue #1

As someone who is new to SHADOWMAN, my main fear was that this book would not be new reader friendly. At the same time, sometimes older books cater way too much to the new readers, which, in turn, can alienate die hard fans. The first issue of SHADOWMAN seems to have a great balance of both. Sure, it's a contemporary reboot to the character, but it offers enough new elements to keep old fans on board. If anything, the creators made this book a bit more contemporary while keeping a lot of the old concepts in tact.

The art in SHADOWMAN is beautiful. Patrick Zircher (art) and Brian Reber (color) compliment each other wonderfully. There's a fantastic amount of detail in facial features and clothing. You get a great sense of depth from their work. Another thing I found very interesting, which I missed on the first read through is the use of the negative space between panels. It jumps from solid white to solid black. I haven't figured out the meaning behind this, and it could be just coincidence, but I thought it was pretty cool and it helped keep each page new.

SHADOWMAN 1 has a fantastic opening. The reader is thrusted into action on some great looking pages. By page 6, the reader knows who the good guys and bad guys are, they know some of their powers, and they know what makes these characters tick. While it may seem a tad rushed, it flows incredibly well on the page. From there, the pace slows down as we meet the protagonist of the book, Jack Boniface. We are introduced to his life and his world. Writers Justin Jordan and Patrick Zircher keeps the reader engaged from page one, which can be tough for a first issue when you have so much being thrown at you, all at once.

Shadowman's design is pretty awesome (above). It's a little bit Baron Samedi and a little bit covert-ops. It's a cool mixture and it works well. The same can be said for the incredibly creepy creature we meet here as well. Character design is pretty strong in this introductory issue.

The Bad

The one thing this book misses on is a few instances of bad dialogue. One of the villains in this issue has fantastic dialect, pacing, and rhythm within his dialogue. He speaks very "preacher-like." It's threatening and pretty cool, until it all gets ruined with one line. It happens again towards the end of the issue where one line of cheesy dialogue ruins a whole scene for me.

The Verdict

I've really been anticipating this series, and it almost lives up to my expectations; however, my expectations were set incredibly high. SHADOWMAN 1 is a great addition to the Valiant world both in quality and enjoyment. It will fit right in with the rest of the titles. This book has a lot of great things going for it, like a great creative team and a very interesting cast of characters. I love the look and design of this character and book.

On the down side, I felt some of the dialogue came off as a bit cheesy, which ended up ruining a couple scenes for me. The dialogue felt out of place and extremely out of character.

Overall, I really enjoyed SHADOWMAN 1 and I highly recommend you give this book a shot when it hits shelves at your LCS on Wednesday, November 7th.

I give this issue 4 Shadowmen out of 5
22 Comments
Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

Woooo Valiant FTW

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Posted by Cavemold

Glad you liked it cant wait for it.

Posted by inferiorego

I have been super-excited for this book. I was so stoked to get an early copy. Well worth the price of admission.

I'm sorry I used the word "stoked."

Posted by zackattack529

I'm glad there was an early review, now I'm sure i'm getting this :)

This will be my first Valiant title ever.

Edited by Decept-O

Nice review. I do like the design of his costume and face, looks great!

17 years, man that is a long time. Sheesh.

Posted by longbowhunter

With all the Valiant hype I added this to my pull. Really excited to check this out.

Posted by Fuchsia_Nightingale

I swear I seen him somewhere, intrigued !

Posted by SlickyMike88

I do remember there was a shadow man video game , not sure if this is somewhat bases on that....

Posted by Hancock89

Dear lord how did you manage to get an  early copy of this issue, you lucky bastard!!  
 
I can't wait to get a hold of it, his new character design is absolutely fantastic.

Posted by DonFelipe
I give this issue 4 Shadowmen out of 5

Shadowman looks great. Nice idea to use his face for the rating.

Posted by inferiorego

@SlickyMike88 said:

I do remember there was a shadow man video game , not sure if this is somewhat bases on that....

Two different properties, I believe.

@Hancock89 said:

Dear lord how did you manage to get an early copy of this issue, you lucky bastard!! I can't wait to get a hold of it, his new character design is absolutely fantastic.

I'm happy to say that Valiant is very VERY nice to us.

@DonFelipe said:

I give this issue 4 Shadowmen out of 5

Shadowman looks great. Nice idea to use his face for the rating.

Stars wouldn't do this book justice.

Posted by ripcurl

Never read the original volumes.

Looks like Chapel...

Posted by Cavemold

the faces rating is really nice now send my copy now!!!! pleasep

Posted by DonFelipe

Oh (shadow)man! Valiant is really rocking it... I love the idea of this teaser.

Here's another close-up.

not sure if it's your brilliant review, or Shadowman's looks but I'm really looking forward to #1 now. One more question. Is this a b/w comic? There's a preview on the net that is b/w and it looks fantastic.

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

It would be VERY reader friendly to me. Wow, I'm gonna thumb through this when I get to my LCS today. Awesome! ^_^

Posted by Cavemold

@RedheadedAtrocitus said:

It would be VERY reader friendly to me. Wow, I'm gonna thumb through this when I get to my LCS today. Awesome! ^_

next week bro

Posted by inferiorego

@DonFelipe: It's in color. There was a B&W preview sent out to a few people.

Posted by NodNolan

I find this comment frankly astounding.

As someone who is new to SHADOWMAN, my main fear is that this book will not be new reader friendly.

firstly the comic is a #1. secondly the company has just relaunched their entire universe/continuity from scratch. How is it even conceivable that this book might not be new reader friendly?

Posted by Cavemold

@NodNolan said:

I find this comment frankly astounding.

As someone who is new to SHADOWMAN, my main fear is that this book will not be new reader friendly.

firstly the comic is a #1. secondly the company has just relaunched their entire universe/continuity from scratch. How is it even conceivable that this book might not be new reader friendly?

this

Posted by inferiorego

@NodNolan said:

I find this comment frankly astounding.

As someone who is new to SHADOWMAN, my main fear is that this book will not be new reader friendly.

firstly the comic is a #1. secondly the company has just relaunched their entire universe/continuity from scratch. How is it even conceivable that this book might not be new reader friendly?

Because there have been times, during relaunches like this, where comics are not new reader friendly. The most recent example is Green Lantern.

It's a general concern of mine going into the book.

Posted by tomlikesfries

Now I'm excited as hell for my first Valiant title ever

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Posted by Hit_Monkey

This gonna be sick. Valiant is damn good.