Shadowman is back with a new story arc and a whole new outlook on the Deadside. Instead of killing every loa or spirit, why not try to broker peace? There’s some purpose to it all — Shadowman has seen doing things differently has benefits, but he’s also facing off against a new kind of threat that’s stronger than anything he’s faced before. Out on February 16, Cullen Bunn and Pedro Andreo not only continue the latest story arc, but introduce Punk Mambo to the mix!
As a spoiler-free review, don’t expect discussion on story beats not shown in the preview, but do know it’s a solid second part in an ongoing story. Shadowman #6 also feels a bit self-contained in some ways, partly because the story opens with a new setup, but also because Punk Mambo is introduced as well. There’s a freshness you can go into this book blind with and enjoy it for being accessible.
The book opens with Shadowman entering a building that’s bereft of human life, but chock full of ghosts. Over the course of a few pages, Bunn draws you into the scene reminding readers appearances aren’t what they seem, and life goes on. It also sets up the fact that Shadowman is changing tactics and is ready to talk to the monsters instead of simply killing them.
Cut to a group of characters introduced the last issue wandering a cemetery. The rest of the issue introduces Punk Mambo well–her attitude and demeanor are spot-on–and it’s like she never left the page. She’s a great character for a book like this as Shadowman is so deadly serious, the stakes are super high, and the monsters are very realistic. Enter Punk Mambo who really just wants to be left alone to smoke and drink. It adds much-needed levity that humanizes the story and makes it more relatable, too.
As for art, Pedro Andreo tops the last issue with a lot of great storytelling techniques. Your eye moves around the page perfectly, drawing you in and mixing in interesting introspective ideas and scene-setting shots. In the opening, for instance, we see Shadowman walking around the abandoned building and instead of simply showing his path, we see him encounter a broken mirror, appear like a ghost himself in a doorway, or how he walks alone down a long hallway. Every panel seems to be telling us something about his personality while he speaks through captions.
The monster design is also great, and there are a lot of monsters in this issue, especially paired with Jordie Bellaire’s colors. There’s a ghoulish green used on the monsters in the opening with interesting details like weird mouths and stitches. Shadowman himself looks a bit monstrous with his angular face and there’s also good lighting on his white-masked face that adds a bit of dimension and atmosphere. I’m a sucker for purple, too, which shows up quite a bit later in the issue.
A slight gripe might be Shadowman being too naive given the situation. The opening scene certainly puts him in a dangerous position, and for a guy who has faced many monsters, it’s a surprising choice. It serves the plot and the eventual conflict, though, and is justifiable.
Shadowman #6 is even better than the previous issue in a story that’s playing with a lot of fun aspects. With the second issue out, it’s obvious this series is delivering with art and characters while playing against expectations as Shadowman navigates things in a different way. Shadowman blends action, colorful characters, and spooky moments to perfection.
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