Review: ‘Shadowman #9:’ Two Ways This Goes

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Shadowman #9

Creative Team: Writer: Andy Diggle ; Artist: Renato Guedes; Cover Artist: Tonci Zonjic; Variant Covers: Keron Grant, Ryan Lee, Jeffrey Veregge, Hannah Fisher

The Story So Far:

In Shadowman #8, Jack and Alyssa found themselves on their own and in possession of The Abettor’s most prized possession: a map showing where the bones of Nicodemo Darque.  Retrieving them from Darque’s sister, Sandria is their only chance at stopping The Brethren.

There’s no indication of what happened to Copeland after his noble albeit suicidal decision to draw The Brethren to him.

Warning: If you have not read Shadowman #9 There May Be Spoilers Below

Cover Art For ‘Shadowman #9’ by Tonic Zonjic

Series Rating: 4/5

I generally purchased a copy this comic when it comes out but not always on New Comic Book Day (NCBD). I like the range of variants on this issue and managed to score a Hannah Fisher pre-order variant of Shadowman #9. No, I didn’t pre-order it. I lucked into it. The pre-order cover grabbed my attention and reminded me how much I enjoyed the last issue I read.

'Shadow #9' Pre-Order Variant Cover Art by Hannah Fisher
‘Shadow #9’ Pre-Order Variant Cover Art by Hannah Fisher

From MAJK’s Coffee & Comics Corner:

I picked this series up at Shadowman #8 and I agreed to review it because it looked cool. Yes. I’m that comic buyer. I have more issues of random comics that I bought simply because of cool covers than I care to admit. I can own that – mostly because it has led to my discovering some really great series that I enjoy. While Shadowman #9 didn’t land this series on my pull list yet, it’s certainly pushing me that direction.

Someone is Serious About Food

This issue threw me for a loop because we start back in New Orleans. I had no idea who Devereaux was beyond the one who gives the orders. Since I hadn’t gotten around to finishing  Shadowman Vol 1 and Shadowman Vol 2 due to the holidays, I’ll fill in the gaps when I review those two trade paperbacks.

What I do know is Devereaux is the boss. He and his partner Nil are bad news, as in responsible for that mess on the highway in Shadowman #8 and that was when Copeland made his choice. Nil makes a reference to Copeland that indicates he is either dead or about to be but there’s no evidence of which. It’s pretty clear that Nil’s been through the wringer and is in a nasty mood. Apparently, hating Thai food and instantaneous mass slaughter go hand in hand. Good thing Devereaux is willing to head out for Mexican food instead. I feel bad for whoever is going to clean-up that boardroom.

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The Magic of Scotland

Jack & Alyssa have landed in Scotland. Orkney Isles looks like a lovely place to take a walk, especially if you are fond of rock golems, talking birds that morph into a bird butler, and hidden towers that spatially reconfigure themselves. Shadowman #9 is making me rethink that trip to Scotland my friends and I were planning. The TSA and Customs are not half as intimidating as a rock golem and water that doubles as a defense mechanism. We might need to bring along a superhero or two if this story is anything to judge by.

Yeah, I know, it’s a comic but admit it; Scotland looks so lovely, you can almost believe there’s a rock golem or two wandering around that beautiful countryside.

Thanks to Copeland’s map, Jack and Alyssa have found themselves entering the domain of the lovely and deadly Sandria Darque. With every hospitality afforded them, Jack and Allyssa are escorted to their separate rooms. Yeah, looks like Sandria’s got some old fashion notions about pre-marriage bed sharing. Unfortunately, we know Sandria is up to something because a trip to the ladies’ room leaves Alyssa trapped on the wrong side of the mirror as a skeleton steals her identity and meets up with Jack.

While Jack is on his way to meet Sandria with the skeleton Alyssa at his side, our favorite Mambo is facing off with a creepy bodiless head with some bizarre mental powers. The bad news is Alyssa, who is enough of a BAMF that she’s even saved Jack and hauled him from the swamp on her own, has no access to her powers. Worse news, the weird talking head that she’s trapped with doesn’t get the concept of consent.

In the meantime, Jack is facing a decision. Sandria is offering to set Jack free from the Loa. She claims to be capable of unbinding him from it permanently, thus removing Shadowman from existence. Whatever Jack chooses, “this will go two ways” as Jack is fond of saying.

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Art & Writing

While the portion of Shadowman #9 that focuses on Devereaux and Nil is nice. It’s very standard comic book. Good comic art, to be sure. It’s art that has a very modern DC look and feel to it. So I’m not complaining about it. I just noticed that when the scene shifts to Scotland, the art style shifts as well. This art style in whole is pretty nice. It’s not what you envision when you picture standard comic art but it is still very nice. It’s got softer edges and a lot more depth in terms of shades than your average Marvel or DC book. It’s a look I like in this series. It really adds to the atmosphere of this story.

My only complaint about the art is the fact that in some panels where Jack and company are speaking to one another – their lips are shut. It’s not telepathy but it really looks like it. This is most noticeable on the first Scotland panel where Jack and Alyssa have a fairly solid conversation with their lips sealed. I’m not sure why it stood out to me so much but it really stuck out and kind of annoyed me. Not enough to keep me from enjoying the book but it’s definitely noticeable.

The writing is solid, it’s an interesting story-line and a big part of why I’m getting closer to making this a pull list item. I love Alyssa’s character so much. She’s equal parts strong and soft. She’s smart and confident but as we see with the bathroom scene that comes with its own pitfalls. I can’t say enough good about her characterization in the two issues and part of the TPBs that I have read.

Jack’s cool but he’s a bit brooding for me. I’m liking him but he’s not stealing the show currently. I do enjoy his realistic internal conflict to be free of the loa or to have the power to help others. I think I’ll enjoy him more after I finish Shadowman Vol 1 and Shadowman Vol 2.

Best Line & Why

Best Line: “I hate Thai…”

Why: This is one of those dark humor moments. Nil slaughters an entire roomful of people immediately following this statement. My brain went “Hmm, she really hates Thai food.” It’s Darkly amusing and a great use of humor in an overall serious comic. I think it speaks to good writing to have moments like thing in a series like this.

Predictions:

Either Sandria is testing him for some reason or we are going to see Shadowman face off with Sandria. Whatever the result will be, I’m hoping to see Alyssa safe and sound by the time Shadowman #10 is out.

MAJK’s Age Recommendation: 17 and above. Shadowman #9 deals with very mature themes. There is graphic violence and gore.

Other Info: This comic deals with / discusses / and is based on what might be considered by some to be occult themes. Religious practices. Principles and terminology from the religion Vodou (also known as Voodoo) are commonly depicted in this series. Also, the headless body comes off a bit… well, for lack of a better phrase rapey, especially in the way he talks to Alyssa. he says nothing explicit; just pure creepiness. So, heads up there.

Next Issue: Shadowman #10 Dec. 12, 2018

Shadowman #10 cover

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