Comic Book Review: Shadowman/Rae Sremmurd #1


Shadowman/Rae Sremmurd #1 is a one-shot, standalone crossover written by Eliot Rahal and featuring stunning painted interior art by Renato Guedes. Truly this was a book to look forward to if you saw the artwork Guedes produced for this issue. I was intrigued by the decision to do a book like this, but I like the idea that a story like this can take place in the Valiant Universe. Brothers Slim Jxmmi and Swae Lee find themselves pulled into an epic race through the past and present of the Valiant Universe, that only the uncanny paranormal adventurers known as Shadowman and Dr. Mirage can help them complete.

Now before even getting into this story, there’s not much if at all that I know about Rae Sremmurd. Nothing about them personally or really their music. Unfortunately their kind of beat isn’t my taste, but that’s nothing concerning as there are probably a fair number of others who are in the same boat reading this. While I don’t know them, I did like getting to know them within the context of the Valiant Universe. The one place where artists like them could rise to fame and riches given the right encounter. Throughout the history of the Valiant Universe we have seen a number of characters rise to power and glory through extraordinary means. Rae Sremmurd offer a new perspective when you are trying to become stars rather than heroes. There’s no actual power or safety net either as they are quite literally signing their lives away. When we understood that these two got everything they wanted through a deal, the next question was the specifics of these terms and the cost that would follow.

Their reaction to understanding what exactly they got themselves into I liked because it always hurts the story when the characters are ignorant to what is real. The fear from them sold you on the dangers of this corner of the Valiant Universe.

From the first page they were quick to jump into the lore of the crossroads. Only a place like that in this world could bring you a chance to experience something otherworldy. Now this guy that Rae Sremmurd run into was a strong representation of what evil can be produced when you look in the wrong places for help. He has the appearance of someone you would trust, but clearly someone who looks to prey upon human desires.

Before picking up this book, I really didn’t look deep enough to figure out that Dr. Mirage would be a part of the story. That is actually a treat to have two professionals in the field of life and death. This was also a good book to pick up if you have been interested in the current fate of the Shadowman. I don’t think a new reader should have trouble understanding who these two are either as the gist of them is that this is their wheelhouse. As for old readers, this was exciting to see Shadowman back to doing what he does best after breaking free from the control of Master Darque and detainment by MI-6. He has purpose now and that gives him a power he didn’t have before. The confrontation these two get into with this demon was brutal, which was what I came to expect from Shadowman and what happens when you step over to the Deadside. At the same time it was exciting as the action sequence was quick and to the point.

Renato Guedes was perfect for a story like this. Painted interiors tend to be my favorite because those artists breathe life into their artwork. Not everything has to have that realism to it, but when you do it and you do it right, even stunning feels like an understatement for what they produce. Renato Guedes’s style worked here just for the fact that we are dealing with two people who you want to actually capture their likeness. It looked like them, their actions and expressions were organic, as well as the settings around them. The settings in particular grabbed my attention since this is also a story centering around supernatural activity sourced from the Deadside. It was nostalgic to take another trip back to the Crossroads, even though set in a different period of time. The color work was beautiful when addressing the atmosphere around hip-hop artists, and more than anything else I loved that we always get to see something new from the Deadside. Every time we jump back into the Deadside you find out that there is much more to it. You have the actual dead/bleak areas, the more fantastical, exotic, the structural or city-like, and now you see something more along the line of domains. A creative place to take us that made the statement that with enough power you can make a space your own. The colors in particular there clashed, but they worked well using bleak colors to represent the dead, and vibrant colors to represent the liveliness that music creates.

Shadowman/Rae Sremmurd #1 at first I was skeptical about for what I didn’t know about these two artists. Though by the end of the story I feel I would have missed out on a lot that is regrettable when a fan of the supernatural elements of this universe. Not to mention this crossover is satisfying if you want more Shadowman before March.

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