It has all come down to this in the finale of Shadowman’s war against the embodiment of the Deadside. He’s not alone — he’s got Punk Mambo and the Abettors on his side, but how do you turn the tide in a war that’s nearly lost? The series has been great, but can it stick the landing? The Deadside seeks to cover all of Earth and Shadowman can’t let that happen. It’s time…for an exorcism!
Shadowman #8 is an issue that features some big turns in the story, emotional moments, and a conclusion you won’t see coming. As far as the big beat moments go, this issue is a delight. Pedro Andreo and Jordie Bellaire crush it on magical effects and supernatural figures. You’ll feel like the world itself hangs in the balance.
Andreo has been great at blending superhero stuff and supernatural, which you can see on the opening page. Valiant has a mega team up in a while, but it’s cool to see characters like Bloodshot pop up on the opening page. It’s a good montage to reveal the Earth itself is close to destruction as even these heroes can’t stop it. It’s also a cool moment when we get to see Shadowman’s friends get an upgrade. Who needs X-O Manowar when your friends can power up with Loa abilities?
Unfortunately, the general plotting and exposition can be way too heavy. It feels clunky getting to the actual conflict as the heroes must explain what they will do. The Deadside villain is also very explanatory in what they want and why they shouldn’t be vanquished. It’s a lot of overly dramatic speeches.
It doesn’t help that the Deadside is generally easy to defeat, or at least that’s how it’s depicted here. Shadowman’s friends could have had battles on their own, and while that does happen, the majority of it is off the page. We get about three pages of that before it turns to Shadowman fighting Deadside alone. The general setup is a bit messy, so it’s hard to track what is going on.
I will say though, Shadowman’s captioning and internal monologue is solid. The final page in particular is well done and it looks cool to see many smaller captions split up around the character. Letters by Clayton Cowles are always surefooted and clean. Cullen Bunn also leaves this story in a compelling place. Make no mistake, Bunn has infused Shadowman with a lot of great ideas and he leaves the reader wanting more. The dynamics of Shadowman are further twisted here and thus make for a brand new type of journey when he returns in July.
Shadowman #8 is a good finale, but it limps along at times with heavy exposition and characters talking more than taking action. There are big-beat moments to enjoy, however, and the story leaves you wanting more. For most superhero comics, that’s an absolute win.
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