Comic Book Review: Shadowman #9
This is the issue that many of us have been looking forward to. When Jack Boniface and Alyssa Miles will finally come face to face with the woman who set them on this path of theirs. Every fight, loss, struggle with love is all because of the curse she placed upon the Boniface bloodline to save herself.When Jack and Alyssa have impressed us so far with what they can accomplish together, you have to be anxious to see what happens when they face someone who can be just as formidable as Master Darque.
I’m glad for the pacing of this book, because everything is always getting from one point to the next. Not a lot of time relying on build-up for something we’re already prepared for. So it was wise that when getting back to Jack and Alyssa, they were already there and ready for what this place had in store for them. How they located this place, how they were welcomed, and the overall feeling of unease about the difficulty was great for the mental state that everyone needed to be in for what lied on the other side of the door to Sandria’s tower. The opening scene to what lied beyond that door was astounding. It really was nothing like what you pictured to see on the inside. The view and vastness was a testament in how far she has clearly come herself since splitting from her brother. These developments are the way to go about blowing us away with the limited potential of magic users in this universe. Especially those who are hyped up to be among the most powerful. Just those small hints here and there from Alyssa with her new ability to feel magic made a statement itself.
As we approached the meeting between Jack and Sandria, I do also enjoy the way we were teased as to whether or not this was a trap or not. Obviously this was never going to be as it seemed on the surface, so even the small things that sent red flags were something you could act upon until the charade was dropped. The tactics used by Sandria were smart for someone who was prepared for her approaching guests.
Seeing Sandria again like this was different. The last time any of us crossed paths with this sorceress, she was much more interested in a mission that would make sure that her brother remained six feet under. Without such motivations, there was a difference presence to her altogether. She was a lot more open to discussion than she was with others. She was speaking a lot more openly about the line that is drawn in the sand between herself and her brother. It even caught me off guard that she was even so forward about something that wasn’t exactly asked of her initially. All these things flowed so effortlessly that you could also see then that there was something to fear about this encounter. What does Sandria get out of the good graces of the Shadowman? What is she trying to keep them from that she is willing to grant such a big favor? Who knows, but the answer to what we had to fear was an excellent set-up to what the next issue will have in store for us.
For this issue, we have the additional work of Eric Battle and Ulises Arreola added to the interior art with Renato Guedes. I was a bit worried with this choice because these were two very different styles of art that could easily clash if not used correctly. Fortunately Valiant is very good about the way that they use their artists. They had two different artists to capture two different parts of the ongoing story. Eric Battle and Ulises Arreola’s rough cut properly captured the scenes involving the Brethren and their actions following the events of the previous issue. The you had the other half involving Jack gorgeously rendered by artist Renato Guedes. Eric Battle’s pencils were great for the kind of craziness that Deveraux got himself into with a new friend. A chilling scene with a lot of blood spilled for the kind of magic used by this friend of his. When I saw rough, I mostly mean the way he uses brush strokes to bring out the detail in the characters and their actions. As for Renato, I was blown away by what he created through our small tour of Sandria’s home. Bigger on the inside took a whole new meaning. It was fancy, it was sinister, it definitely looked a bit old-fashioned in color as well. Up her alley for the kind of life she has lived.
Shadowman #9 was just how you hoped for things to turn out from this confrontation. I think we all knew how things would go down, but it all came down to the execution of scenes up to that point. That I would say made a big difference when everything comes down to setting an atmosphere for the supernatural world and showing us things we aren’t actually prepared for.