Comic Book Review: Shadowman #4
Its new story arc time for the Shadowman, and the fun is in everything that there is now to discover about the history of this loa. This new volume of Shadowman has something new around every turn between the things that came before our Shadowman, during the time that he was missing as the Magpie, and what has come of the here and now with a focus put back on the supernatural corner of Earth. Here is where you want to be if you have had a mountain of questions, and find yourself ready for the answers.
This issue stands out from the rest when quickly we are thrust into the story of some of these other Shadowmen. Little time was wasted and I appreciate that with the anticipation stirred up to get to the thick of this. Especially when this issue sets Jack up face to face with his forebears across the centuries. From the paranoia-addled alleyways of 1940s New York, to the fire-scorched plantations of the Civil War, and all the way back to the primeval height of the African savannah in 40,000 B.C.. Those are some intriguing points in time to choose from if you ask me. It was also interesting to see what the first Shadowman was like that Jack stepped into the shoes of. No matter who it tends to be, most of those who came before Jack always seemed to have a better handle of who they became. A big contrast to Jack who learned way too late, developed just as much rage as his loa, and still didn’t understand what he was dealing with fully.
Being an exploration focused through a story arc, there was only one Shadowman to follow this issue. That one being the 1940s New York. A lot of things stood out with the way this one operated. First was the connection to the Abettors. One thing that we never got too much of was a proper working relationship between them the way that this Shadowman has with his. The other thing was how this Shadowman wasn’t just dealing with supernatural threats. He had his foot out the door and a bit more integrated with the world around him. The troubles he faced were more fitting with the period of time
Through some of these moments in the past it was cool to be able to see how they tamed their beasts. For as many Shadowman who came before, it went without saying that they each had to have had some success in controlling the loa. At the very least more control than Jack ever had. There was also the introduction of a few tools that are now very significant to Jack.
I was surprised when seeing that this story arc would have a rotating cast of artists. Shawn Martinbrough was a surprising choice for artist this issue. More so unexpected that they would change things up for the period of time, though at the same time Martinbrough is fitting for the atmosphere. Considering this is the 1940s, he nailed the approach between keeping things for the most part simple, and adding a heavy emphasis on the shading to capture the night life of the big city. This also goes for the bold color selection from Jose Villarrubia that gave emphasis to this being the past. The darkness in particular worked in favor of this story since we were also seeing a Shadowman who is in control of what he can do unlike Jack. And speaking of Shadowman, the attire of this one was distinguished between the clothing style, the darkness that covers him, and other small details in the mask as well such as the lack of the bottom half.
Shadowman #4 is the start of Jack Boniface discovering the long-hidden history of the loa, and this trip through the past changes everything that is known so far. So far, this series has been worth the wait when there are no more distractions. Everything since the return of Jack and Alyssa has been rebuilding what has been neglected, and what has been ignored that brings answers to all that is wrong with the loa currently. This is one of those times where its hard to argue with the fact that knowledge is power.