Shadowman has always been unique to the Valiant Universe in the sense that while he is in their world, he is not of it. While Toyo Harada’s Harbinger foundation conflicts with Bloodshot in Harbinger Wars, or XO Manowar & Eternal Warrior in Unity, Shadowman is always down in New Orleans with more than enough conflict of his own.
Even in the original Valiant Comics Unity from the early ’90s, Shadowman enters the foray by swimming underwater through a side hatch into an alternate universe. The whole Valiant world is a party, and Shadowman is lurking in the alley outside, uninvited.
All the better. As a comic book, this offers Shadowman consistency and uninterrupted storylines as Jack Boniface tries to figure out what the heck to do with the power of this legacy.
Legacy. That’s the driving force behind the new three part miniseries, Shadowman: End Times, from Peter Milligan & Valentine de Landro.
All the way back in Shadowman’s opening #1 issue, we saw the heroic death of Josiah Boniface, Jack’s father, as he banished Master Darque to the Deadside for the sake of all of mankind.
Or did he?
“End Times #1” finds Jack battling both with his inheritance of the Shadowman powers, and the reality of parents he hardly ever knew. The Loa, or force behind the Shadowman persona, threatens to consume Jack as he turns darker, more violent, and more focused on killing any and all occult threats. When Jack even turns this violence on his girlfriend and mentor, it’s up to her to bring him back from the brink and keep the Loa from eating him alive.
Milligan continues his work on Shadowman here, and while it’s a bit odd for readers of the counter-cultural satire of X-Statix to see Milligan towing the character caretaker line, he writes a strong Shadowman. This issue is steeped deep in Voodoo and Bayou culture, with talking skulls, canoes in the swamp, and a whole lot of sweet face paint. Artist Valentine De Landro captures the vibe of the swamp and the occult perfectly.
It’s clear that the End Times are going to mark a significant shift in the status quo for Shadowman. Although the series has been strong since inception, more than twenty issues in this is a welcome change, and I look forward to what it means for Shadowman’s place in the Valiant Universe.
Verdict: 7 out of 10