Some people turn to booze when life gets them down. This is one of the reasons why bars and liquor stores are still in full swing during downtimes and recessions; well, that and college students. After reading this current issue of Shadowman, I can honestly say I would have preferred seeing old Jack Boniface just stop all his sulking and develop a habit of visiting the demon in the bottle.

Shadowman is about an orphan discovering where he came from while fighting back the creeping forces of evil magic and voodoo. This is a horror and Harry Potter fan’s dream! Fighting literal inner demons, ancient gods, and deranged humans is just a bag of story that can go on for days, but this issue needed some help.

This issue just felt like it was all over the place. It picks up where issue #15 left off, but beyond that it jumped around too much. It was disorienting and a real disservice to the story itself. If there was ever an issue with pacing, this was it.

The Abettors think Jack is a threat to the world because he cannot control the Shadowman loa (another term for spirit). They took a whip called “The Screaming Whip,” made from the flesh of slaves, and went to town on him faster than Quentin Tarantino directing a period piece about slavery. Jack even had the scars on his back and admitted how painful and raw the experience was. What was the comeuppance for the Abettors that did this to him? Nothing. Not. A. Thing. After a panel of him hunched over and probably in need of some hospitalization, he just smokes a cigarette and acts like it’s just a thing that happens.

More of this is needed after someone tries to take a whip to you.

Mixed in all of this we get a loa called Tremble that is starting to wreak havoc on all of New Orleans. The loa comes off as a big bad terror that will take at least a whole issue to tackle. We get  a few sprinkles of Tremble ruining lives — people killing mates, losing faith, dying from their wealth, and others hiding from the world in a dark corner. The showdown ends with six-ish pages of some dialog, being teleported to the Darkside and Tremble being forced to look down in the abyss and… well that was pretty much it. We get something about Jack/Shadowman now knowing how to use the scythe, Tremble nearly sobbing on said knees, and that was about it for that conflict.

The Shadowman loa is all kinds of creepy.

Let’s not forget the ongoing issue of Jack facing the longstanding turmoil from the damage he inflicted on a childhood bully. Yes, Jack was harboring guilt over crippling a bully that picked on him and repeatedly tried to throw fist sandwiches at him. This was an interesting story point that I am glad wrapped up nicely. It did show that you’ve got to own up to your mistakes and try to make amends. This process is never going to be easy and it is a humanizing endeavor. This was a nice focus to show that there is more to the story than just the Shadowman loa, but that Jack is just a man that is flawed and struggling.

Final Impressions:           

The writing of Peter Milligan is just not up to par with the previous issues that he’s scripted. Everything in this one felt rushed, disjointed, and full of gaps that have no sign of being filled. The art of Roberto de la Torre is still well used here with the coloring of David Baron that helps add to the tone of the series.

I really like the Shadowman series and the character. This issue just didn’t satisfy me. This should have been spaced out into at least one additional issue to wrap things up better. What little character development there was (besides Jack’s) was a little shallow. I didn’t feel the resonance between other characters that should have presented in contempt, fear, admiration, and even a helping of love for Jack once it was all over.

There were some good messages in here but not enough to want to have someone else pick it up. Hoping the next issue will be more memorable and impactful.

If you want to pick up this series, do so from the following outlets:
Comixology, Comic Shop Locator, TFAW, My Comic Shop, and Midtown Comics

Overall Score
70% %

Great visuals and a sense of humanity can only do so much to help a story.

Story 70%
Pacing 70%
Art 95%
Head Shake In Dismay 90%

About The Author

Blake writes reviews for DestroyTheCyborg! on all manner of fun and geeky things. He is a unique mixture of snark and sarcasm sprinkled atop an extensive knowledge of pop culture, particularly in the way of comics, music, and literature. He has amassed a collection of books and comics large enough to land him a starring role in an episode of "Hoarders" and often requiring a trip to close out furniture stores for yet another bookshelf to house them all. But with all that collecting comes knowledge…of damn near every character or story arc in all things comic related (even the stuff he hasn't read... at all). Seriously, just ask him. When he's not writing reviews or reading comics, usually he can be found with his other love, music, particularly of the jazz and blues variety. Or regaling those around him with completely random yet super detailed stories or factoids picked up from god only knows where.

One Response to Shadowman #16