Comic Book Review: Shadowman #10
Like brother like sister! Well somewhat, but still I think it might be time to rename these sibling the troublesome children of the dark. It was inevitable that this would turn into Shadowman versus Sandria Darque, but let’s be honest with ourselves. This is exactly what we wanted. I know for a fact that this is something I wanted since the reveal of the type of person that Sandria had grown up to be from her recent adventure with Ninjak.
With that said, the clash between Shadowman and Sandria Darque didn’t quite go as I had imagined. I wouldn’t call this a problem, but certainly not what you had in mind when Jack finally had someone he could fight that didn’t require having a leash. For better or for worse, the first half of their confrontation was much-needed for those of us who might see it necessary to understand the kind of dangers that Sandria can pose. She may not have had the same access to power as Nicodemo, but there was no denying how powerful either one of them could be with only their own power. It was also very important that they wasted little time in the beginnings to grasp just what was driving Sandria to fight against someone who is willing to do away with her brother for good. Her reasons were believable, and drew the line in the sand between threat and ally if you thought there was still room for her to suddenly change her mind about these plans.
Round two of the action was a big step up when this turned into a battle on an equal playing field. You of course knew that this would be the moment where Jack showed what it means to work in sync with the Shadow Loa, and that moment of execution of the scene did not disappoint one bit. As far as character progression goes, this was perfect timing for everything to come full circle for Jack. He needed his resolve put to the test, his courage in the face of adversity, and ability to learn from the past. All of that was key in giving us a set-up for what will be a thrilling conclusion to this feud.
It shook me a bit to experience villainous monologue after the other from Sandria. In the previous story arc, you wouldn’t have wanted to believe that her heart could be so black. And yet, there was no word that passed her lips that didn’t strike like daggers. You would think her actions would say enough, but her words found a constant in assault.
Now on Alyssa’s end there was nothing but the feeling of being impressed by how she fought out of her situation. There’s one thing I’ve found consistent about this new volume of Shadowman, and it is her personal growth since left on her own. She is independent, she has fire, and she is not the kind of person you want to underestimate when crossed. Where Jack falters because he doesn’t understand who he is, Alyssa embraces her self-awareness and confidence in what she knows.
Renato Guedes again worked some wonders when it came to the fight between Jack and Sandria. I enjoyed the fire from both of them. Mostly Sandria who quite literally dropped her charade. She was nasty, she was mean, she had the presence of someone who clearly had become just as drunk for power as her bother. You saw it in her expressions, the kind of magic she commanded, and a general lack of humanity when acting upon her base instincts. Speaking of magic, I also did enjoy the way that things involving stood out with a stronger selection in color in contrast to everything else going on in a scene. I was wondering where Eric Battle and Ulises Arreola’s work would fit into this issue, and luckily it was nothing that would cause for distraction. Guedes has a pretty distinctive style to his artwork, so I was initially a bit on the fence about the way that someone else’s art could clash with his. Since their job was mainly to handle the flashbacks of this issue, it worked out very well. Innocent, yet emotional points in time for these characters that still kept the tone of the overall story.
Suspenseful was the right word to use for the events of Shadowman #10. This issue was eye-opening for anyone who thought that this meeting with Sandria Darque was going to be anything other than brutal. Her actions stun you, her words hit you right where it hurts the most. I’m glad that I could also say that the growth of both Jack and Alyssa popped out in a way that embraces everything good and bad that they have ever experienced up to this point.